Mask Workshops and Puppet Making

We offer a variety of mask workshops that cover design concepts and techniques for creating theatrically dynamic masks and puppets. Simple paper shadow puppets and scored paper masks can be made quickly and beautifully by elementary students, adults and everyone in between. We also teach more complicated processes like carving wooden masks and making latex masks in middle and high schools, universities and to professional artists and teachers. Latex mask making, great for creating duplicates, entails sculpting a clay mask positive, casting a plaster negative mold, and pouring and painting a latex or mache mask.
2 hours to 3 weeks

Intro to Commedia dell Arte

This mask workshop works equally well for actors who are developing comedic and improv movement and timing, learning the stylized European stock characters, or preparing for roles in a Commedia dell ‘Arte show.
Actors work with our set of ten different expressive
masks to explore Commedia’s traditional physical
stances, movements, voices, psychological motivations
and inspirational animal movements.
2 to 2 weeks

Neutral and Basel style masks

This workshop is an overview of the character-based approach to movement pioneered by master movement teacher Jaques LeCoq. With the silent Neutral Mask, participants learn to use movement alone to express meaning very simply, clearly and naturally. Neutral is ideal for helping actors break from the limited range of their own idiosyncratic movements and for developing chorus work. The silent Basel Masks are excellent for exploring character and intent, with movement informed by the masks’ powerful geometries.
2 hours to 2 weeks

Mask Character Development

This workshop features exercises from director Libby Appel’s groundbreaking book, Mask Characterization. Participants choose one of the expressive masks to use as a tool for creating their own unique theatrical characters. Wonderful for expanding and developing an actor’s physical and emotional range, the workshop may also be used after a show is cast to help actors imbue their characters with original and genuine movement that can be reproduced after the mask is removed.
2 hours to 2 weeks

Making Latex or Neoprene Masks

This workshop covers concepts for strong sculptural design for creating a theatrically dynamic mask. Each participant creates a clay mask positive and completes a plaster negative mold ready to pour a latex or neoprene mask. Because latex masks must dry overnight before painting, for shorter workshops we culminate with a demonstration of basic theatrical mask painting for highlights, emotional impressions and color.
4 to 12 hours over 2-10 days

Carving Wooden Masks

This workshop demonstrates an approach to fashioning wood sculpture used by carvers throughout the world. Participants will plan and carve a mask design with increasingly smaller facets of convex, concave and flat planes. Each participant will practice shaping a small wooden maskette using a Northwest Coast Native motif and style. The workshop can also feature demonstrations of both Balinese style chisel-and-mallet as well as NW Coast Native elbow shaping adze techniques.
6 to 32 hours

Workshop Prices:
From 2 hours to 3 weeks
From $200 up

Please talk to us. Fees will depend on many factors, including travel time from Seattle, the number of workshops in your region, length of time, and amount of equipment & materials.

Custom Masks & Workshops

In addition to masks, we also make puppets and provide puppet-making workshops in puppet traditions from around the world, including, Greek, Balinese, Liberian, NW Coast Native and Turkish.

Custom Mask Design

We have worked closely with scores of performers, colleges, theaters and operas to create sets of masks for productions. Drawing on our experience as mask performers as well as artists, we make comfortable and practical masks that also give an amazing look and feel to a production. We work from your ideas or sketches to create first a drawing and then a clay sculpture of the mask for your approval, before making the mask itself.

The cost of a custom mask depends on the size and complexity of the design, and on the number of custom designs and duplicate masks ordered. Please do not hesitate to tell us about your project, and we will be happy to answer your questions.