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To me, this mask represents my energetic connection to the Earth. This mask is the part of myself that is actually one with nature. In this mask, I can become my true self; calm yet powerful, cold yet soft, quiet but present like the wind. Thanks for the fun time.

Ann P.


I elected to create a mask with eyes closed because I wanted to go inward, to visit those spaces inside only I am able to see. Rather than taking me someplace new or unexpected, the exercise of closing my eyes so the mask could be formed, then painting and viewing it, reaffirmed what I regularly hope is true about me. I tend to work intuitively rather than analytically. I write poetry which is, in my view, dedicated to not giving answers but inviting participation in mystery.

George R.


I think that this mask represents the re-emergence of my wildness - my primitive and intimate relationship with nature. I find it interesting that both sides of the mask are spotted, but have a very different feel to them. I understand the left side of my body to represent the feminine side - and it is that side of the mask, as I wear it, that has a muted appearance to me. Those spots seem soft and subtle, as if they could serve as camouflage, allowing me to fade into the background when necessary, watching without being noticed. The masculine side of the mask is on my right, when worn. That side seems bolder, and more about being seen out in the world. Both of these qualities should serve my wildness well. As I begin my sixth decade this year, I can feel the wildness within me waiting for the moment to step out of the shadows. I think it is right on time.

Laurel S.


My mask represent a side of me that I don't portray often to others, should I say traits that I intend to keep saddled, even to my conscious-self. [Calm, Quiet and Arrogant] may be what many see on the mask, [Frustrations, Envy and Insecurity] are raging underneath it all. Feathers are used to distract attentions and self-puff, just like some birds in nature. Deciding colors and materials to put on a mask provided a playground for me to freely express and or portrait myself as desired. Unexpectedly, I made a mask that represented both my conscious and subconscious self. It was a pleasure working with you.

George C.


It's hard to "read" my own thoughts about creating the mask. I was apprehensive about the process, so claustrophobic and so greasy. But the experience was both calming and exciting. I worked fast to paint the image, with stripes and dots and colored spaces. It feels very aboriginal to me as I look at it. I think there was a primitive wish to be decorative and get something "pretty". I think of my face as uneven and awkward. What will others see? My "usual face to the outside world" is probably friendlier, happier, and more open than the mask I made. I see a woodenness and a closed face in my mask.

Beverley R.


It was very nurturing having someone working on my face. I have a hidden side to me that not too many people see - a sacred place within where only I go. The group sharing of the masks was very moving for me. Others saw in my mask what I did not. The whole experience was creative and neat.

Linda S.


My mask shows happiness, emotion, gentleness, and is also quiet, busy, and magical.

Pauline H.


I see in my mask great sadness as though my life has proven disappointing. It does reflect a part of me that is typically only discussed with a few intimate friends. The process reminded me of a long lost feeling of childhood playing with plaster gauze when modeling railway scenery.

Andrew B.


I instantly knew I wanted to make a mask representative of Native Americans. I do not usually share my interest in Native American culture with others.

The lightening and hail are sacred symbols. For me, the black streaks represent tears of sorrow for the loss of culture and sacred lands.

Tom D.


I see fear, confusion, emotion, and a sense of being lost in my mask.

Daniel H.


My mask shows that which I usually hide, out there for the world to see, namely emotions that I was taught to cover up. In the process of making it, I found that it's not so scary to show who I really am, especially to others who willing to do the same.

I loved an opportunity to get the creative artistic juices flowing with the interaction with others and to open myself to more possibilities. Thanks for the experience.

Mary S.


I see a deep organic beauty in my mask, which is a part of me that I have been aware of for the past 15 years of my life. I make time to let this aspect of me out at least monthly with some of my most intimate friends who know this part of me. We play together. The making of the mask was great fun. The serendipidity of finding a box of shells on the table of art materials and knowing they were there for me, was an unexpected experience.

Jan N.


I found my mask to be scary, weird, simple, and mummified.

Lance H.


An increasing number of people would recognize my mask as being an expression of who I am because, as I become more intuitive in the way that I live life, so I feel less inclined to 'mask' the real me. I have always had a soft, reflective, inner self, which, clearly comes through in the mask. The latter is not something I have always felt able to reveal too much in the past, particularly in work situations. I asked for my eyes and mouth to be covered. I could hear, but there was no expectation of interaction, which was a surprisingly relaxing experience! I felt more intimacy and was engaged when working on another's face.

I enjoyed decorating my mask and felt free to express whatever came, aided by the wide variety of materials available. I became absorbed in the process as it unfolded and found the finished article revealing and thought provoking in itself, though not surprising. The experience was a reflection of where I was on my journey. The mask was made at a time of great change and trauma in my life. I was searching for, and exploring, other ways of being that reflected more deeply who I truly was. I am still learning and finding many blessings along the path.

Linda H.


I see in my mask a representation of a tremendous personal shift that took place in my life about 10 years ago when I started my Feng Shui studies. My mask represents the ancient Chinese map, or grid, called the Bagua. It is based on the eight trigrams of the I Ching (Book of Changes) and used in Feng Shui to analyze the layout of a building or an area.

Others might not be aware of how I try to live my life based on this ancient practice.

It was great fun and quite delightful to be given permission to create a mask in a beautiful sunny garden with a community of people. It brought back carefree childhood days of school projects where assignments were given, but within that context, we were able to let our imagination guide us. As adults, we seldom, if ever, have those opportunities! Thanks!

Hinda A.


The mask shows my fascination with all things tribal, the so-called "primitive" cultures. Carpet dreadlocks mimic the Rastafarians. The black skin symbolizes my lifelong fascination with and empathy for black people, music, dance & culture, and also perhaps, the darkness that lurks in all of us that society must govern and restrain. Being a person who loves water (a Pisces, & I sleep on a water bed), the cheeks are freshwater clamshells tumbled and polished by my long-deceased father in his rock tumblers. The painted turtle shell chin is also a relic of our native waters. Both types of shells may also say something unconsciously about my solitary nature and emotional armor. The white headband may indicate that perhaps my brain needs a nice big bandage to contain the socially unacceptable creative madman that is within. I really enjoyed the social interaction with the other mask makers. I also felt in good company, and inspired to let loose with my ideas for the mask. Trusting someone else with your face is a lesson in faith, but it was not difficult for me to trust my partner. I did not see the connection to water & armor that my decorations had until your questions prompted me to think about it.

Rolfe M.


In my mask I see the memories of making it. I think my mask reflects what the outside world sees of me, as I tried to be realistic in the process of painting and decorating. Having someone work on helping apply the mask was relaxing, although sticky. The painting and decorating were enjoyable, as the mask neared completion.

Sara H.


I see in my mask elements that I am only beginning to understand about myself. It has to do with the positioning of the dots and stars; also the color and how it all seems to blend from higher consciousness into third eye and down through the voice. I am aware of the movement between my upper chakras. The lace around the mouth is perhaps an attempt to soften the voice. If I do not present aspects of the mask to the outside world, it might be because I do not present them yet to myself. Or it might be people see or sense them and I am unaware. I loved making the mask. I thought it was incredibly intimate. I was working with a friend and although we were close, this brought in a completely new element. Interestingly, I have fewer recollections about her working on my face than my working on hers. I notice that there were originally (and for many months after), leaves about my mask. They are not on the mask presently as they eventually disintegrated but I think at the time they were important indicating my connection to, and my being encircled by, the earth.

Sharon L.


My mask is very tribal, and shows fear, and is a little scary. I think it's also fun, and depicts me as being on a journey, and as a busy, colorful character.

Justin H.


Initially, when I looked at the picture of me with the mask on, I thought I looked like a colorful kamikaze pilot, but in looking it over, I see a tightness in my face, an unwavering look in my mouth and the bold colors which pretty much reflect who I am-a bold person.

Having the mask on felt like I was shutting myself off from experiencing my surroundings. Having someone work on my face felt like someone ministering to me.

I was feeling a bit fearful of making the mask, but my trust in you told me making this mask might even be fun and it was. This was me venturing outside of my day-to-day creativity with fabric. The fear of making a mistake relating to my shame background, which sometimes holds me back.

Jeanette B.


I see life in my mask when I look at it, through the colors, and the form like the sun and the leaves. I think it is a symbol of what I believe in; the energy of life, the dance of life, the fun in life, things I don't always show but I feel inside rather consistently. It was a bit awkward for me to be in a group setting with others working so intimately with another.

I enjoyed having a nice array of materials to use and it was also fun seeing the difference in everyone's masks and having the different personalities come out.

What was unexpected was seeing something "hot" in the mask, like I was on fire about something. I hold a lot of passion for equality and respect for people within me and I have been told that I can be intense about things. I would not have seen that myself in the mask without a dialogue. I am proud of the mask; I keep it in my office. It appears to be a symbol of myself and what I stand for, not that that is what I intended it to be at all, but that is what it turned out to be. I like it because it is unique as a project and unique to me.

Joy N.


I think my mask shows me as mythological, colorful, and happy. It also represents me as expensive, gentle and unique.

Rachel H.


I like this mask but I don't think it reveals "hidden Jim" in any telling way. The golden beard and the feathers over my eyes show a lightness of spirit that was a self-portrait and it was fun to make as a whole community.

Making the mask was a curious search of what was available, like a kid in a candy store joy.

Jim S.


When I look at my mask I see the power of my person and the dynamic flow that seems just like me, I like what I see. I found the process amazing and dream like to see all the pairs of people preparing each other. It was startling to see all the masks, (before decorating), laid out on the table; how similar yet so distinct the human face. It felt fleetingly claustrophobic when it was difficult to remove my mask. I felt fear and that was unexpected, but Barbara was a savvy and safe guide.

Jan S.


What I see in my mask looking at it is Fear! I didn't feel it when I was making it or having myself photographed in it, but there it is, - full bodied fear in my eyes. Interesting. I do live with fears and indeed I don't present them to the outside world. Perhaps I chose a mask of a brave, strong and courageous Native American to hide behind. I've always been very interested in the Native American way of life and the many hardships they were somewhat resourceful in vanquishing. I also have deep respect for their reverence in terms of nature and the connectedness many have to the spirit world. This is new information for me which was very unexpected. More for me to ponder as I walk through this life day by day, hopefully open to all sorts of input. I have even more respect for this process of mask making and the information the activity provided for me.

Pat Z.


© 2007 Barbara Cummard. All reproduction prohibited.