The Golden Stag Gets Plastered
written by Tim Converse (known in the SCA as Juan Santiago -- references throughout
this document are to Juan and Rose and perhaps some others, these are their persona
names in the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.)
Part 1 -- the first mold
Part 2 -- the plaster positive
Part 3 -- clay positive of mask
Part 4 -- second negative
Part 5 -- the cement positive
Part 6 -- working the leather
Part 7 -- shaping the leather
Part 8 -- tool users
Part 9 -- two masks
Part 10 -- fixing things, lineup ...
Part 11 -- hair and other finishing touches
Part 12 -- some more finishing touches
We knew it had to happen sooner or later didn't we? That's right,
The Golden Stag actually went even futher into period Commedia by working
on character masks. Well, now here is photographic evidence of the
process, with discussion and comments to go along with it all. For
further information, see the footnotes in the Director's
Diary for 'The Twin Captains' on the Golden Stag Players main website.
I also want to state that we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the
research which Laurie Hupman (known in the SCA as Rose de Le Mans)
has been doing. This is no easy feat.<G>
Juan Under "Dental Alginate" - We start here. The first step in the process
of making a mask is to get a negative image of the person you're going
to make a mask for. Since Rose and I were planning this process out,
I became the first victim as a test several weeks before we tried this
on anyone else.
'Dental alginate' is a sort of rubber that dentists use to take
impressions of teeth. Of course this is not period, but as
near as we have been able to tell, it's the only non-period step
in the process that we are using. (Check
on the 'Director's
Diary for 'The Twin Captains' page for further discussion on period
Once the alginate is set, then it's backed with guaze strips soaked
in plaster to strengthen the mold.
Juan Free of the Mold - As you can see it's not exactly a clean process.
I first had to put a layer of Vaseline on my face in order to make sure
the alginate didn't stick, but once the stuff had set, and the plaster
strips were dry, we just popped me right out of the stuff. All told,
I spent about twenty-five minutes under the mold. Fortunately there
was music playing and I was able to meditate a bit in order to keep from
freaking out. I'm a bit claustrophobic, so this was a challenge for
But then we do suffer for our art, don't we?<G>
The First Negative - This is what we ended up with once I was pulled out from
under the mold. Strangly enough, if you look at it just right, the
picture looks like a positive of my face rather then a negative.
A simple trick of the light, but very cool.
The interesting thing about the alginate is that it's extremely sensitive
to the texture of what it is poured onto. You can't see it here in
the picture, but the texture of my skin is worked into the mold itself
and shows up extremely well when you look closely at the plaster life mask
that we made.
Next Step in the Mask Making Process
to 'Director's Diary of 'The Twin Captains'