For Groups: Learn how to make Venetian masks at a real workshop: the best mask shop in Venice.
Venetian mask-making is a unique art that follows an ancient technique (is not trivial). The technique is easy enough to explain, but producing a well-made product is not something to take for granted. For this reason, our Venetian mask-making course focuses on a specific mask: the bauta.
The bauta mask is probably the most recognizable of Venetian masks and has a shape that allows even beginners to attain satisfactory results. In this course, participants will get a fully immersive introduction to Venetian mask-making to truly appreciate how a Venetian mask is made. As a result, the finished product of their own efforts always gives a real feeling of accomplishment. This is a superb course for large groups that creates a sense of shared progress and above all fun.
Introduction (30 minutes):
We explain the use of the Bauta mask and compare its use and function to the Moretta mask, both being highly recognizable Venetian masks.
Learning the meaning and the cultural significance of Venetian masks, before participants start making one is very important. Participants' artistic efforts are affected when they learn that the Venetian mask they are making was an essential part of daily life in Venice for centuries.
To fully convey the meaning of this mask, we wear a Bauta in front of our participants. Using antique paintings and prints, participants get to see how the Bauta and Moretta masks were used in daily life in various parts of the city's cultural life. The theoretical introduction of the course is an exciting way to prepare groups for the hands-on part.
Hands-on (two hours):
We show participants how to make Venetian masks using the antique technique of papier-mâché. We use a projector that films the instructor’s hands to help us showing live each step of the process.
Participants create an individual bauta mask in papier-mâché, using a plaster mould and our special absorbent paper. Only traditional materials are used - no machines or tools – just like the old Venetians mask makers used to do.
Once the mask is finished, the papier-mâché mask has to dry for at least one day before participants can extract it. If the mask is too weak or has obvious faults, we will fix it before delivering it to the customer so that everybody stays happy.
To get a full introduction to the subject of how to make Venetian masks, after this course, we recommend a course on how to decorate Venetian masks. Venetian mask making, of course, has at least two parts: how to make Venetian masks and how to decorate Venetian masks. Participants in the second course get to extract Venetians masks from the mould, and further learn how to decorate Venetian masks - in this case, the bauta mask - with their own hands. Thus, they get to see how a Venetian mask is made from beginning to end.
In addition to their mask, participants learning how to decorate Venetian masks will choose a second blank mask out of more than 60 different varieties available. All of our masks are handmade using the traditional technique - the very same technique participants saw and learned in the first course.
(For a more detailed description of the decorative process, see our page: “How to Decorate a Venetian Mask course”)