Friday, February 1, 2013

Warka mask I

As mentioned before, I'm attempting to re-create an item called a Warka mask, of African origin, associated with the people of the Mali area.
The masks are hammered metal over carved wood, so I began by laminating pine boards together. 

Pine is most likely (definitely) not the traditional material, but as far as I can tell the wood isn't actually significant to the creation of the original so I'm fudging.
While the glue was drying I made a paper template of the main features of the mask, to scale, using a square, a ruler and a large sheet of paper. 

Using the template I cut out the shape on a band saw and drilled holes at the four corners of each eye, this will let me carve any shape I want and not lose the position of the eyes. I also traced the nose into the wood, which is the only other key feature of the wood carving.
Then, using a wood grinder to rough cut the shape and chisels to refine it I carved the basic form of the mask.

I also got a little excited with the bandsaw and took a bit of a loose cut.

It's far thicker than it needs to be but that's OK, I would rather have too much to work with than not enough, I can cut the back off when everything else is ready.
The next step is to finish smoothing this form then create the copper overlay.

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