William Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." Oscar Wilde has put his spin on this phrase, declaring that, “The world is a stage, and the play is badly cast.”
Whatever the case, we are all players and have an entire cast of characters (personalities) that sometimes are referred to as "the self". Often we are hiding behind these rough, rowdy, dowdy, tragic, sexy, sad, wise, belligerent and holy guises never quite understanding and befriending them or recognizing which ones are running the show. One thing is for sure, and that is that more than often, these characters are unconscious.
Used for protection, disguise, entertainment and ritual practices, the earliest use of masks (700 B.C.) was for religious and shamanic rituals and ceremonies.
The tradition of theatre masks goes back to the ancient Greeks, who used masks both for practical needs and dramatic performances. They were also used in commedia dell'arte (Italian theatre), Japanese theatre and have a long history in almost every culture throughout the world. Masks can be beautiful or grotesque, but they are always evocative.
The use of masks is varied and unique and can be found on the theatre stage, in the artist's studio, in a religious rite of passage, or in a therapeutic environment. Psychodrama, for example, uses a dramatic approach to artistically and skillfully "play out" certain scenes in a person's life through role-playing, enactment, impersonation, and improvisation. In this environment, masks can be used for the purpose of assisting people in dealing with different (often traumatic) aspects of their lives.
Ultimately, the mask illuminates what lies beneath the surface and helps us realize that we are complex personas born out of fortunate and unfortunate life circumstances. By bringing these disconnected aspects of self into the light and playfully animating them (acting them out), deep healing, understanding and self-acceptance can occur.
I create all of my masks from papier mache and acrylic paint. They come from a place deep within me and often take on lives of their own. I am constantly surprised by what unfolds and the profound messages that sacred masks communicate to me. I love them all and have a deep respect for their ability to take me deeper into understanding myself and the world.
While none of the masks on my website are for sale, I am happy to create one for you and/or provide a mask and characterization workshop for small groups of people which typically take place over the span of a weekend.
I facilitate mask and character development workshops for the public. This workshop is one weekend long and usually runs all day both Saturday and Sunday (10 am-5 pm). The place where we gather is a beautiful studio setting (depending on the location of the event) and will be determined once the workshop is offered. All art materials are included. There is also a post-course, follow-up Zoom session that is included to help participants dive deeper into their masks.
Some of the workshop themes I offer are Courage Masks, Goddess Masks, Grief Masks, Clown/Trickster Masks, Animal Totem Masks, Protector Masks, Spirit Guide Masks. Cost: $250
I offer one on one channelling sessions whereby you can "Ask a Mask" a question. Choose the mask that you feel can help you the most and email me your question. I will contemplate your question, get into the role of the mask, and allow the message of wisdom to come through me. I am the vehicle, the mask is the "counsellor". These 30-minute sessions can be orchestrated in person, over Zoom or I can pre-record them and email you the video of what is channelled through the mask. Cost: $50
I offer one on one "Mask Journey/ Unmasking" sessions. Choose the mask that you are most drawn to and I will guide you through a series of character development instructions and questions to get you into the mask. These sessions are powerful experiences whereby you (the client) surrender your personal character and allow the wisdom of the mask to come through in order to help you better understand a situation in your life. The mask can also offer deep insight and revelations that come from a place of mysterious guidance (we have all the answers already but sometimes we need a little help). These 1 hour-long sessions are experienced in person usually at my studio in Guelph (although I can also come to you. We will need access to an open, private room and a large mirror). Cost: $85
Check out more from my masks as well as information about sacred clowning and expressive arts therapy.