Friday, December 4, 2015

1179 - Queen Of Winter Mask

This is the completed Queen Of Winter mask for my wife.  It's more ornate than my mask, heavier, and also fitted with prescription lenses.

Having visited Venice myself, I have a small familiarity with their masks.  I remember their mask shops and seeing a factory where they are made.  The history of Venetian masks is founded on folktale, so it's hard to grasp exactly why these masks exist in the first place.  They are traditionally worn at the Venice Carnival between Christmas and Lent.  They offered anonymity for various ventures, some legalistic, some practical, some criminal, and some that are purely romantic.

Perhaps the greatest effect of the mask is that it allowed the citizens of Venice to mingle socially.  Considering that historical Venice featured a society that has very strict boundaries of wealth and status, mask-wearers were often allowed a certain flexibility when choosing those with whom they could consort. Certainly today Venice is still divided along lines of wealth and power.  There's something very deliberate and exciting about prowling the fog-shrouded canals at night and seeing across the water a cloaked individual in a white mask.  For good or for evil, the status quo is about to be shaken, if only until the rise of dawn and the fall of the tide. 

Social mingling is the reason I made these masks.  I know at the party that I will be with a fair number of people who are of a higher class than your humble artist.  Normally, that kind of thing stops me cold, at least until I've fortified myself with a stiff drink.  I'm thinking that the masks will show my artistic flair, and ought to make for some interesting conversation with the glitterati.

Of course, Vancouver is far from Venice, and I figure that people will be perplexed by the masquerade in general.  Those who keep their masks are likely the ones I'll get along with the most.  It ought to be interesting!