So what are grief masks? First, think of it in a context of hidden emotions. People in bereavement often put up a brave front, or pretend that they are fine when they’re not. You might say they are actually putting on a “grief mask” to hide their true feelings from the outside world.
Next, think of a “grief mask” as a creative tool, a sculpture that can help a grieving person express his true feelings or deep emotions. The making of a grief mask is powerful. As you create the facial form, you can begin to unmask your soul. In this way, your deepest weaknesses, fears, and pain, as well as your strengths and joys, may be brought to the surface.
Grief Masks & Sculpture
Sculpture… what a soul-satisfying artistic medium! There’s something about working in 3-D that drawing or painting just can’t provide. Give it a try… you may be surprised at the delight that clay, paper mache, wood, or plaster of Paris can provide.
What can I say? I have always loved creating sculpture (I prefer clay) and I highly recommend it to you as an artistic outlet.
Artists have used clay to make artistic sculptures since the dawn of mankind. They usually found the raw clay in river beds. Nowadays, modern clay and other modeling materials are of high quality, refined and stable materials.
There are two general types of clay available today for sculpture-making:
- hardening ( by high-temperature kiln, home oven, or air-drying)
- non-hardening (use it over and over, for recreation or stress relief– but don’t expect to save your creation for generations to come!).
If you are new to sculpture, I recommend that you start with a product that is easy to work with, can be hardened in your oven for permanency, and is easy to paint. So what fills the bill? Sculpey (try Michael’s or order it online).
Clay can be shaped in three different ways: modeling, sculpting or throwing.
- Modeling – is piecing together smaller units of clay, coils, or bits of clay, shaped and then stuck together.
- Sculpting – is taking a larger lump of clay and removing unwanted sections with special sculpting tools. You cut, slice, and scrape away bits to clay to shape up your masterpiece. Ask for a tool kit at the craft or art supply store. Inexpensive and fun… definitely get a basic sculpting toolset.
- Throwing – is the traditional potter’s wheel, in which a lump of clay is formed into a circular shape on a wheel. This requires some expensive equipment and specialized training. (It’s not very easy to master, either!) This is used more for pottery than sculpture.
So get your own personal lump of clay and get started today… sculpture… the ultimate in stress relief.
Grief masks: a window to the soul
Give this interesting and different exercise a try. And remember… artwork can never hurt you. Much better to extract, express, and release these emotions than to keep them bottled up inside.
Use clay or paper mache to form the mask, or facial shape… make it as realistic or bizarre as you wish. Harden the mask, then paint it. Keep it in your memory box or hang it on the wall.