Friday, April 9, 2010

Under the Tuscan Sun with Zio Lino


I cannot believe it is already Friday but alas, time here in the yellow villa continues to fly by.

All this week we have been mask-making with Lino Spadaro, an actor and mask-maker here in Italy. (Coincidentally, Allison, directly before he came here he was acting in St. Petersburg. I swear - our "places" have connected in so many random ways. Fate.) We were required to make two masks - one for the Accademia and one to take home and we could choose any character. I chose Zanni 1) because I think he is hysterical and 2) Zanni is the original Commedia mask and all the masks following were built off of him. We finished both masks today :) It was a long process, but actually not as hard as I thought it would be.

We started by building the mask with clay on top of a neutral face base. We first covered the neutral base and then added the facial elements that are specifically for our character (for instance, the most important feature on Zanni is his long nose). Then we built a clay platform around the mask and poured plaster on top of it. We let this dry overnight. The next day, we took away the extra clay and pulled the mold we had created away from the base. After this, we cleaned out the mold (which was basically just a big imprint of the mask that we had made) and coated it with a layer of latex followed by two more layers of latex and fiber glass. After letting this dry for a while in the sun, we pulled the layer of latex and fiber glass out of the mold and voila! There was our mask! We cut away the extra material surrrounding the face, cut out the eyes and nostrils, and trimmed up all the edges so that they were smooth. Then we painted it with a primer (mosquito poop...literally! eeewww) and then painted the base coat, the shadows and the highlights. Afterwards we attached the strap and coated it with a layer of protective shine. Then, we used the same mold and made an identical mask for the school. TA DA! Two masks completed in one week. Pretty awesome.
Lino was amazing too - an old man with not a word of English in him, but a really great teacher with a very funny personality. (It was nice having to speak Italian in a class other than Italian). We called him Zio Lino at the end of class today (Uncle Lino). He really was a character - I'm sad that he's already leaving, but he's a busy man! Here's my mask :)

Pretty cool, huh? I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Mask-making was our main focus this week, but we had a couple Italian, philosophy, and voice classes sprinkled in. It's been absolutely gorgeous weather here so at lunch I've been laying on top of the Teatrino Balcony and catching some sun - - or getting sunburnt I should said.

Tomorrow morning I leave for ROMA!!! :)
Only two more weeks.
Time, where have you gone?

1 comment:

  1. Tre chic! What a cool mask! AND what a great and meaningful souvenir of your time in Italy. It's Tuesday--waiting to hear about/see Rome. Nice way to cap off the trip.

    I can't believe it's only two weeks to go. I'll be in Milwaukee the weekend of May 7,8,9 (maybe a couple days earlier). Make sure I get to see you!