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How to make a mask in hide

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To make a mask in hide is a job, that requires skill, time and patience.
The hide workers thanks to their mastery and experience, are able to shape the hide, giving it a face that will be of the selected mask.
What are the procedures that the hide masters follow to make these masterpieces?
To know more on how to make a mask in hide, continue reading our article or look at the video on our youtube channel.

Following are the techniques used for making a handcrafted masks of art comedy in hide of the agricultural theatre.

  1. The first phase is, the making of a wooden matrix-print, others use the ones in terracotta. On the wooden  matrix, you can model better the mask in hide of a particular “subject”.  For the working of the wood, it takes about 20 hours of work.
  2. After which, you must perform on the hide a beating technique, now known as tanning operation “stretching process”. This operation is needed to soften the hide by stretching it with a steel blade, so it can be modelled on the wooden matrix-print. For the hide to be more adaptable to this kind of work, it must absorb good the water and must have a thickness from 0,9 mm to about 2 mm. To create a mask, working mostly details, it is advisable, a hide with the thickness of 0.9/1 mm. It’s preferable a thicker hide (about 2 mm) if the mask you are making does not have too many details and if it is needed to be worn for outside events and for little time. For the modelling of the hide on the wooden matrix-print, each mask requires about 18 hours of work.
  3.  Once modelled, the inside of the mask, it’s framed with copper, which permits the flexibility to adapt to the actors face, without making it too heavy to carry;                     Maschere in cuoio

Furthermore, these masks have these features:

  • The leather used are the remaining pieces from food processing and from naturally tanned, without any chemical additives.So the skin of the face can breathe without absorbing harmful substances.
  • The tanning colours come from natural elements eg. cherries or coffee.

  • The shininess is made exclusively by hand, by venting the collagen, already present in the leather to give shininess to the mask.

  • Buckles with brass hooks, give consistency and flexibility to the mask. The wearing and passing of time, makes softer the mask and more mouldable and adaptable to the actor’s face, or the appearing wearer.