Ca’Macana follows the original technique used by Venetians 800 years ago. The materials are simple and the work is done by hand, with very few tools.
First of all, we shape any model we can think of out of clay.
We then pour plaster on top of our model. Plaster is mixed with water, so it will be runny at first, but will harden as it sets.
After getting to know plaster’s setting time and its properties, a layer can be easily applied on the model.
This leaves us with a perfect copy of the model, called the “negative,” which we use to make the mask.
The clay model is detached from its mould, which gets internally coated in papier-mâché.
This way we have a copy of its original shape.
We use strips made out of special absorbent paper called “cartalana”. The strips are completely covered in a mix of glue and water and then are pressed firmly onto the mould to make them stick.
Once the layers have completely dried out, they blend together, creating a whole piece of material, which is soft, flexible, light and transpiring.
Once we have gone through this process we have the unrefined plain mask ready to be decorated.
Although this technique is relatively simple, it is not as easy as it seems. Each stage could result in a number of complications. For instance, for certain complex shapes it is impossible to create a model from just one mould. In this case the mask is made out of more pieces and it is necessary to put them together in order to create the final result.
Decoration can be done with any kind of paint and any material. As with the creation of the original sculpture, there are no limits to the creativity of the artist.
This is the bright side of our job: creating mask gives us the chance to express an idea, an emotion, anything we want, in the freest way ever.