Family First Workshop: Animal Masks

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Family First Workshop: Animal Masks

By Brittany Forniotis, WFU Student and former Reynolda education intern | @LearnReynolda

Careful observers of Reynolda House will see that the works of art, furniture pieces, and architecture of the house display enough animals to fill a zoo! This month in our Family First workshop, we looked at several examples of animals around the house to draw inspiration for creating animal masks.

In the living room, we found bold lions on the feet of the sofas, eagles protecting the fireplace, and llamas in the Frederic Church painting, Andes of Ecuador. Take a closer look at the carved feet of this sofa from the Reception Hall  (click on the link and zoom in for a different view).

  • What do you notice about the carvings?
  • How can you tell that this is a lion? What features make it different from the other animals?
  • What parts of the lion stand out the most?
  • Is this lion stylized? By that we mean, did the artist try to create a very realistic lion or did the artist change the lion’s appearance (maybe by making it more simple or changing its shape)?

Another example of animals roaming Reynolda House is the set of carved birds in the basement Art Deco Bar. Standing on the counter are a plump turkey and a valiant eagle – each carved from wood.

  • How are the eagle and turkey carvings similar?
  • In what ways are the two birds different?
  • How do you know that these are birds and not another type of animal? What parts of the sculpture tells you this?
  • How might you make a mask that transforms you into a turkey? What would you want to put on the mask? What colors might you use?

When we returned to the studio, we learned more about mask-making and paper sculpture in general.
Some techniques that we discussed were:

  • Scoring: indenting or scratching a line in the paper to aid in folding
  • Folding: bending paper to create a crease
  • Cutting: separating one piece of paper into two either with scissors or the hands
  • Crimping: making multiple small folds in paper to create a wavy appearance
  • Curling: wrapping strips of paper around an object like a pencil or marker, then unwinding it to create a spiral

Our workshop participants used these techniques to transform their blank paper masks into a wide variety of animals!
Find an at-home activity lesson plan here. paper_sculpture_animal_masks_1.pdf

Animal Masks Base Template

Lion Mask Template

Horse Mask Template

Frog Mask Template

Fish Mask Template

Two friends pose in their butterfly and stylized cat masks.

Mother and daughter are transformed into dog and cat!

A mule deer and a flamingo mingle.

A canary landed in the studio!


Love at-home art activities? Check out more on the Curate Reynolda blog.

Be sure to follow @LearnReynolda on Twitter for all things learning at Reynolda!


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