SELKIE MASKS         original designs for  drama, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Halloween, and masquerade

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......a mask tells us more than a face.....Oscar Wilde

About Selkie Masks......    
What is a Selkie?  A Selkie is a skin changer, a creature of folklore and fairy tales. The name goes back to the Orkney islands, where seals are called selkies.  Traditionally, the Selkie assumes the form of a human (man or woman) and chooses to live as a human while hiding its skin in case it wants to return to the sea.  

Why Selkie Masks?  Masks make skin changers or shape shifters of us all; when we put on a mask, we can assume the identity of the mask character.  Many folk tales and some modern ones tell of such transformations: East of the Sun and West of the Moon and the Seven Swan Brothers are two of my favorites. (To read more, click here).  I have chosen the name Selkie rather than another, as Selkies are pretty benign and not too scary, as shapeshifters go (think vampire, werewolf, etc.). 

Why Masks?  Growing up in South Louisiana, you have to love masks (or hate them, I suppose).  As a child, I spent countless summer weekends in the French Quarter with my parents, eating beignets at the Cafe du Monde, or strolling with ice cream and looking at windows full of masks.  Twenty years ago I began collecting masks....Noh, Balinese, Venetian, Cambodian, Mexican, as well as Mardi Gras.....masks for plays, religious festivals, traditional fetes.  

The Mask Calls the Costume:    It is my firm belief that it is the mask that directs the costume;  once you have the mask, you'll be able to see the costume.

What about Halloween?  Many of the masks throughout the web site are suitable for Halloween (I plan on having a separate Halloween page soon).   I'm particularly fond of Halloween (other than those people in Sharon Hills who gave out that heinous black and orange taffy....you know who you are..!). 

Halloween is an older holiday than anything else we celebrate: it's the end of the harvest and the beginning of the short days....the cold and the dark.  Halloween is about the dark. Once it was the dark outside the campfire, and we danced and wore masks so the demons in the dark wouldn't know us, and feasted and celebrated to keep the dark at bay.  It's still about the dark, but now it's the dark in us, in all of us, and the unknown things that come out of that deep and unknown place, and we still wear masks to disguise ourselves and strew sacrifices (candy, this time), dance and play, to keep it at bay. Okay, that's my opinion: read a little more  for some additional information.

About the Masks:  Each mask is an original design, created on a paper mache form and with multiple layers of gesso and paint to give texture, color, and expression, embellished with pearls, semiprecious stones, glass beads, and more. Each mask is named; the names here on the web site are in English, but on the labels have been translated into French, Spanish, or Catalan (don't ask me why.....I just liked the way they sounded).  Each mask has a stone or amulet in the forehead, the chakra or inner eye that leads to opening doors to one's consciousness.   Maybe one of my masks can help you with that.....I hope so.

About me:  As I said earlier, I grew up in South Louisiana and spent a lot of time during my formative years walking around the streets of New Orleans, looking at masks (and trying to keep my brother Ed from looking past the bouncers in the....um.....bars).  Later I became interested in all types of masks.  Here is a picture of me.....Connie Hendrickson....working on a mask, and another photo trying on a mask at the Fleur de Lis craft show. 


A few of my favorites: The slide show starts automatically, or you can click on an image to enlarge and control the slides.



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