Thursday, 13 November 2014

Kimmy Cantrell inspired Ceramic Masks

We actually made these masks all the way back in Term 3, yet its taken me ages to get around to firing them and deciding how to paint. Most are based on the artist Kimmy Cantrell, whom we had been studying yet some also have animal features based on African masks (which we also looked at as part of our mask lessons).

In the end I decided to try a new technique, I just love to experiment!  This is inspired by a post on the "Its an HSES Arty Party!" blogspot.  Simply colour the bisque fired masks with oil pastels, cover with a layer of black paint, wash off paint.  Sometimes we did the process twice to get the desired effect and sometimes we added more oil pastel after the paint was washed off to make the mask even brighter.  It was a great new technique and I love the results (and the fact they don't need to be fired again!).

 What you need:
  • White clay rolled into slabs
  • Texture tools and stamps
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Oil Pastels
  • Black Paint
How to:
  • Hand out clay slabs
  • Ask the children to lightly draw their mask shape with the bamboo skewer, then cut out
  • Use the remaining bits of the slab to cut out eyes, nose, mouth etc
  • Use texture tools and stamps to add texture
  • Attach eyes etc ensuring they scratch and add slip
  • Leave to dry
  • Fire
  • Add Oil Pastel
  • Add Black Paint
  • Wash
Here are some of the results:




  1. Did you put the black paint on first or the oil pastel? Once complete, is there a concern about the oil pastel coming off on hands or clothes? I work with elementary students and we are making Cantrell inspired masks as well. I have been trying to figure a good way to add color and I LOVE The look you have here!

  2. Oil pastel then black paint which we washed off. No we didn't have any issues with the oil pastel coming off. It was actually quite an easy process I recommend you give it a try! If the oil pastel wasn't showing up enough after the washing we just added a bit more. Good luck!

    1. Awesome!!! Thank you SOO much for sharing your project, pictures and information! I can't wait to try this method! We are still in the building and drying exciting! Thank you!