In 1995 some of my papier mâché masks were shown in an exhibition called Seeing is Believing at Pennine Arts in Burnley. While visiting the gallery Peter purchased a mask for me by a maker whose work I admired. The mask has the most wonderful presence, and lives in our library where it’s displayed on one of the iron stands I commissioned for my own masks. It’s made from Exmoor grass applied over a rough papier mâché base, with leather binding around the edges to make it sturdier and more comfortable to wear. I fear I can’t remember the name of the maker, and there’s no label or signature inside. If anyone out there recognises the work, please contact me with the name of the man who made it. I’d like to attribute his work here at the Artlog, and attach a small label inside the mask with his name on it.

One of the reasons the mask holds such appeal for me, is that it’s always reminded me a little of the face of the Beast played by Jean Marais in Jean Cocteau’s incomparable version of the fairy-tale, La Belle et la Bête, a film I love above all others.

UPDATE: 13/ 10/13

The maker’s name, I’ve discovered, is Phil Clark. However I’ve had no luck finding further examples of his work, and so please contact me if you can cast any light on his output.

7 thoughts on “grassmask

  1. Pingback: Mask Week at the Artlog | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Yes, me too, immediately thought of Cocteau’s beast. Cannae help you with the maker, but it does remind me of the remarkable book I’ve just finished reading, ‘The Bear: History of a Fallen King’ which includes much about the role of the Bear in the original Beauty and the Beast stories of yore. If I find anything about the mask, I’ll be sure to let you know!

    • Thanks, Tom, for looking in to try and give a name to the maker. One day, perhaps, someone will spot this post and be able to help.

      Thanks, too, for the book recommendation. I’m interested in the story-tradition of the ‘animal groom’. I’ll look for a copy.

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