How to Make an Original Venetian Masks.
All masks created and produced by Carta Alta are handmade in papier-mâché, realized combining traditional techniques of local Venetian craftsmen with new explorations into modern and contemporary decoration.
The first step during the creation of a papier-mâché mask is drawing the model. Once obtained, the next step is the creation of the clay prototype that will be use to realize the gypsum mold.
The mold is obtained covering the clay prototype with gypsum. Once it’s totally covered we let it dry slowly for some hours. As soon as it’s totally dry, we obtain the negative mold that will be used to create the papier-mâché masks. Inside our laboratory and warehouse we have more than one hundred molds in different size and dimension. These are all the molds we use to create all our new or old mask models.
The special handcrafted papier-mâché we use, possesses an elasticity and softness that allows it to comfortably and perfectly adapt to its wearer's face. It’s placed inside the mold in small pieces wet with water and vinyl glue. The paper is placed to be perfectly sticked inside the mold on its folds and details to obtain a fully detailed masks. Normally at least 3 layers of wet paper are placed inside the mold to obtain a good quality mask. Once finished the mask is let aside to get totally dry slowly.
Once the mask is totally dry, it’s taken off the mold. At this point the eyes of the mask are cutten. Only the Mastro mascheraio, after a long time experience in the artisan workshop, is the one that can cut the eyes because in this way the mask became alive.
If necessary the mask is a little bit sanded to take off some eventually imperfections just before its surface will be painted in white. Once the white painting is dry, the papier-mâché is finally ready to be decorated.