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EINBENDER STUDIOS
Leather Art Purses & Masks
THE PROCESS
I press and burnish over forms each wet bag individually , using both fingers and burnishing tools, until the impression emerges, a fraction of an inch at a time.
The left image shows from the finished bag,
the mold, and a work in progress.
.
...
On the right you can see
the folds of leather forming on a mask.
...

Both my masks and purses use top grade steerhide, working the wet oak-tanned leather over castings taken from original clay sculptures and then setting them with heat. For the masks, the mold gives only the basic facial structure; everything else is improvisation. Leather becomes a truly sculptural medium when wet; I can make it move like the drapery on classical statues. The act of mask making gives me both kinesthetic and visual pleasure, as the leather flows beneath my fingers. A dialogue develops between myself and the leather and it is as if I'm shaping water, molten rock or wind. Some of the masks on this page are what I call masked masks. They emerged as a solution to the problem of what to do with the extra folds of leather that occur when turning a flat skin into a three dimensional object and as a conscious exploration of the inherent nature of masks to both conceal and reveal. All the masks on this site are one of a kind, and are representative of my lifelong fascination with the power of the elements to ground us and help us remember both our deepest knowing and the mysteries of the unknowable. Although I can do another mask using the same face in the same colors, the magic of the leather dictates that they will all be different. Most of the full face masks were not designed to be worn, except in cases such as theater or music videos where eating and drinking are not an issue. All the half masks are comfortable to wear because they "breathe" and end up molding to the individual's face. Although most of my mask work is one of a kind, I do have patterns for a small number of archetypal images that I continue to make on a limited edition basis.


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Site and Contents Copyright 2001-08 Einbender Studios, Portland, Oregon, All rights reserved, Last updated June 2008.

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Home....Email....Colors....Stores....Process....Masks....503- 239-6819
Small Bags....Medium Bags....Big Bags....Plant Pursona