The construction begins with the face. I make some of leather, while others I hand build of stoneware, then Raku fire. The amazing beauty of the colors, shapes and textures of the materials are integral in creating the work. The spirit of the mask evolves with my choices in the same way Native Americans used a type of feather which was significant to its purpose. The components are similar to what you would find in an ancient sacred fetish bundle. All are natural – feathers, raw wool, shells antler, sinew, semiprecious stones, turquoise, quartz, carved fetishes, snake-skin, pelts of all kinds (many from recycled vintage clothing), as well as Anasazi pottery shards and trade beads. The beads are antique African trade beads, used between the 16th and 20th century as a currency to exchange for goods, services and slaves in Africa. They were also used by Europeans to trade with the Native Americans.
My masks emerge as a new species themselves. Just as fetishes are believed to contain the spirits of the animals they represent, these masks contain their own spirits. In today’s world, they may not be used in primitive rites, but instead may inspire searching for answers to one’s destiny, and in healing, not the body, but the spirit.
Each spirit mask is a one-of-a-kind original, a tribute to our ancient colorful past. They may be hung on the wall or displayed on their custom stands.