The Art of the Mask

The Art of the Mask

About The Artist

Cyndy Salisbury • Bainbridge Island, WA

I began making masks in 2008, having previously worked in other mediums. Each mask is shaped in a plaster of paris cast using layers of Carta Lana wool paper. Embellishments are made with a variety of papers and Paperclay. The human face is a powerful canvas for images of myth, fairy tale, and theater. These masks, worn for pleasure, embody the transforming energy of the Greek theater, the psychic resonance of the Commedia dell’Arte, and the provocative enchantment of the Venetian Carnival.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

The body of each mask is formed in a plaster of paris cast that I create. Layers of Carta Lana wool paper are applied to this negative mold, dried, then removed and painted. All embellishments are created in my studio, most with paper and PaperClay.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Masks are such an ancient part of the human arts, and almost universal across cultures, seeming to indicate a deep primal connection within our psyches. Humans are riveted by faces, especially human faces. So what could be a more evocative canvas for visual storytelling? And paper is a millennia old material that's so pliable, so versatile. It's exciting to explore just how much can be done with papers alone.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

I rely heavily on world mythologies, folk and fairy tales, history, and theater for my subject matter.