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Bacchante WIP by cwicseolfor Bacchante WIP by cwicseolfor
This one has been bugging me for weeks.

I chose to call her a Bacchante - she, if she is a she, seems too laughingly calm for a Maenad - but technically the horns are all aesthetic preference. Of course, it could also be any fairy creature, and it would suit just as well... I haven't been able to coax out of it what scheme it wants to be painted in, yet, but it's had me a little too driven to leave it alone, so I decided to take a few quick shots and post a WIP. I love the look of the bare leather.

This is all one piece - meaning it was immensely fragile as I worked on it, but sturdy now, certainly much more than it could've been had I glued leaves on. It was a challenge of sorts to figure out how to do it this way. I also played a bit with different eye-shapes; I wanted her to be laughing but not restrict the emotive expression of the masquer, and I think I finally hit the right balance. It looks most natural when laughing, which lends it the personality I was seeking - carefree and clever and more than a bit troublesome. I could hardly take it off long enough to photograph it and badly want to go attempt a modeled photoshoot. Easily my new favorite original design.

Any thoughts?
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:iconpaddyeahh:
Paddyeahh Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2010  Student Writer
Really, really pretty! <3
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:iconmalicemidnight:
MaliceMidnight Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Student General Artist
This mask, in my opinion would be awesome in an autumn theme. ^_^ but whatever you do with it will be amazing. i cant wait to see it finished. i just really love that all of the details on the top are so pleasing to the eye.i love the spiral-y vines.
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I considered doing some faux-giltwork on the ivy, but the funny thing about the ivy this resembles - common English ivy - is that it's evergreen. I painted it in the usual shade for the actual plant; I think it's come out well, and I'll probably post another image before I paint the face, simply because I love the way it looks now. Thanks very much for the feedback! I was a big fan of the little tendrils once I figured out how to make them work ^-^
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:iconhazardous-ink:
hazardous-ink Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2009
Alright, your masks are back again! I had to look up images of a Maenad and I kept going back and forth between the images and your mask! You are right when you said this, "she, if she is a she, seems too laughingly calm for a Maenad." The leaves are gorgeous. The eyes could have been more exaggerated in the expression. The thing about masks is you have to capture expression with limited space. For the next mask that you want to capture laughter, cheekiness or any other emotion with study your face in the mirror. See how your eyes crinkle, your face pulls. Does your face pull downwards, sideways? Is it scrunched up more? When you can keep how the facial muscle movements in your mind while you are sculpting half your work is already done and the coloring of the mask is just the icing on the cake.

Here's something for you to think about. Look up different emotions head on on the internet and cover the mouth area. Just by looking at the eyes/cheeks, you'll notice most emotions will start to look a like.

Overall, I can't wait to see the finished product!
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been fighting back and forth all through the development of the design as to whether she ought to suit the classical notions of a Maenad, and then even how much I wanted her to be smiling; it's not the first time I've been unsure of how much emotion to inject into the face. The deciding factor is invariably what I picture the mask used for - in designing masks for party-going, to create strong emotion in the face limits the expression of the masquer. So while I wanted her to have a distinctly carefree face, and a laughing tendency, I had to find a way to compromise with the variety of expressions the wearer might display - the mask has to sit over a pout or a grimace without looking any less natural or expressive. So the corners of the eye are shaped to show the creases at the wearer's eye; the rise of the cheek line is just high enough to accent a wearer's smile, yet can be wistful or pensive or anxious. Fortunately, as you say, much of the expression is left to the mouth. For a masquerade mask, it's the ideal balance; if I ever wind up doing masks for the stage, I'd like to strongly caricature emotion in the tradition of the commedia masks. The same goes if I ever begin designing volti, the full-face masks of the Italian carnevale style; I'd thrive on the possibilities for expression, but the move would require me to start using molds, something I'm not keen on. So until then, it's likely to be that the expressions remain soft suggestions of emotion; modern masquerade is often more about ornamentation than disguise, anyway.
Very glad it got you thinking - thanks so much for the discussion, it's often not until we get to talking about what we've been doing that we consciously realize our processes - between you and *magpie-poet I've come to be cognizant of much more of my own design methodology. And thanks too for the encouragement - it's always a boost ^-^
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:iconxothique:
xothique Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2009   Artisan Crafter
All once piece - that must have taken some working out. I'm really impressed with this - the leaf shapes are gorgeous, and I like the hint of laughter you've conveyed in her expression. Beautiful work. heart:
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
The design did take a great deal of planning. But once it was cut I was surprised how naturally the leaves fell into shape - it sounds trite but it felt as if they'd grown there. The paint on them, however, was an ordeal I'm glad is over! Thanks very much for your feedback - your experience in the medium renders it that much more a compliment.
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:iconcrazeh-sunshine:
Crazeh-Sunshine Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2009
Beautiful :heart:! I can't wait to see the finished product!
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks very much! It's on its way - I've done the foliage, and am working at the rest. Glad to hear your feedback ^-^
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:iconcrazeh-sunshine:
Crazeh-Sunshine Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2009
Awesome! You're welcome ^^ Can't wait to see the finished product!
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:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009
She's alive :glomp: I'm thrilled to see your masks again. And this is a stunner. Can't imagine how you did it all in one piece, those vines alone are knockout. I do like the subtle laughing curve to the eye, perhaps you would do a more deadly wild child alas poor opheus version for halloween, but I'm liking this POV.
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I am alive! (For the moment.) I like this design a lot ^-^ I can't stop looking at it, I've been enjoying the look of the painted foliage over the bare face. I considered making a more frenzied Maenad, but there's a certain difficulty in wearing a mask with a strong expression - once you've lent it its own personality, you sort of have to match it. I always wind up thinking on what sort of event the mask might be suited for, what sort of masquer: the result tends to be personalities in the range of the playful, from coquettish to mischievous to jolly. I suppose if I were designing with the stage in mind it might turn out differently, though.

Thanks so much for your commentary - and for knowing your myth ^-^ I was always partial to Orpheus myself.
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:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009
Honestly? I really didn't have that much sympathy for Orpheus until reading Sandman. Gaiman gave him more personality than just being a classical tragic hero deal, which makes the tragic thing work all the better :D I was always more drawn to Arachne and Atalanta and the heroines who get crushed in the end.

I never really thought about the issues of wearing a mask with a strong expression, maybe because I've never gone to a proper masquerade. It's an interesting thought. That they push you to be something as much as hide you. Maybe that's why I like the more melancholy masks, less of a stretch for me ;)
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I haven't read Sandman yet. Things keep getting in the way... but I liked Orpheus because of his gifts, and because of the universality of his situation: who has never wished to fetch back the dead? His journey to the underworld is an exceedingly common element of myth; his real-life cults were early predecessors of Jesus Christ as the saviour, as people believed that he would bring them back from death and restore them to a life eternal. In short: his myth is deep-running in human culture. And the Muses, and all related to them, were fascinating, anyway.

Arachne and Atlanta were fascinating - I've done art of Arachne in particular, as there was something personal about her downfall in handicraft, whereas Atlanta was an unreachable figure to me, and her punishment was a little odd as she may not have known the origin of the apples to thank Aphrodite in the first place. I guess I also like spiders. ^-^

And yes - masks are much closer kin to costume than to simple clothing. They remake you - they shape others' perceptions of you, and you react to it. To some degree, people always adopt the role reciprocal to the way people treat them; a mask can make you become something else. Your own perceptions of the situation change. It's a little abstracted, in how it works out, and it's liable to change based on situation and the susceptibility of the audience, but when it happens it's positively wild. Wear something grand and imposing, and people respond with their awe; something humorous and they laugh; something ugly and they'll jeer; beautiful, they'll falter. It's a powerful illusion, and quite obviously I'm wholly addicted to it. I truly wish there were more opportunities for the experience; I think we can learn a lot from it.
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:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2009
I'm afraid I don't feel up to quite so intellectual a response. You got me beat. Short version being that of the raised from dead myths I was always more interested in the Egyptian ones, perhaps again because of a stronger female role. My long term interest in Atalanta and Arachne is from rereading ovid too many times, and a somewhat involved attempt to write a fantasy novel off of it. I think that the creator aspect of Arachne is definately a way in which she is more reachable, but also in that she's essentially punished for telling the truth. That always gets a reaction out of me, no matter how many versions I read. It's not FAIR. But, unlike in many -for lack of a better word we'll use modern- modern relgions, it isn't justified. It's like 'it's unfair, but so is life, moving right along...' There's something in that openess that appeals to me.

I understand that makes are costume over clothing, I do. I never meant to imply otherwise. I guess it's a personal thing in my case. I mean, I'm tall, and not thin, so in my world, no mask could do enough to 'hide' me as it were. So I suppose from my point of view I see the limitations even before the magic. Like watching stage magic, works for them, wouldn't for me. Obviously I'm not knocking your art, I find it fascinating, and would love to be able to afford one of your masks someday, at least as something to hang on my wall. I just don't get pulled into the remaking as much as you. Maybe that's why I stick with small and less mystical things.
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, sorry x.X I get really bad about the rambling when I haven't had a good thoughtful conversation in the real world for a while. I prefer when death-figures have female ties, myself, I'm just getting into a back-and-forth with someone else about that - it's the whole blood/ fertility/ birth-mortality thing. In a lot of ways, we're more OF the world than men; the female is what makes and unmakes, and the male is what is made and unmade. I would like to hear more about this fantasy novel ^-^ And as for the openness and honesty of so much of old mythos when compared to the modern - I just did a ton of writing on that this morning over at my Lj. Tell me if you're curious, I'll summarize - 'cause like most of my blog it's basically a small textbook as written by a magpie attempting weakly to control the impulse to leap on EVERY SHINY TANGENT AVAILABLE. It goes on FOREVER because there's always something new catching the light. (Sorry to steal the magpie - they suit me quite well now and then. ^-^ Especially intellectually speaking - possibly clever, but with such a short attention span....)

I didn't mean to imply that you would imply otherwise ^-^ I just get carried away in talking about it, because the experience is so ridiculously cool. If I ever get you into a mask, I hope you'll end up persuaded otherwise re: the magic of it - you sound almost as if you don't think you could pull it off, which would be ridiculous as you have far too much going on in your head to be capable of being too dull, which is the only trait I don't know that I could incorporate into a mask intended for you. If I was misunderstanding that paragraph and it was just more along the lines of preference of standard persona, good ^-^ And by the way, going on your gallery photos, and your self-proclaimed height, you might actually do quite well with something grand and mystical, but that's just the hands talking, no need to mind 'em. They've been clamoring for a chance to try a green lady, but I want them to do a proper Dionysos or similar first, on special request from the maskmaker's boyfriend...
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:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2009
It's not like I'm the first to use the magpie ref, steal away ;) I always thought it was a hint of ADHD, but I like the idea of shiny thing/concept/idea better. Oh, look...

I don't even remember how many retellings I got into that book attempt, maybe a half dozen. If you're ever feeling bored note me your email and I'll send one ;)And no argument with the death having female ties. It gives a good symmetry as you pointed out. I've always kind of wondered why it doesn't seem to crop up much in the cultures of the people of the book... I think I've ref'd Persephone several times in various marginally related craft projects and poems. (Oh, digression, have you read the poet A.E. Stallings? If not, look her up. Good both modern and mythology based poetry. Some quite stunning) Also, I have this odd fascination with the Kali/Gauri contrast. I'm honestly not so hot with Indian mythology, I sometimes have issues following it. I'd love to hear about the lj rant, send me a synopsis or a link! I don't really use lj, couldn't tell you my last post, have it mostly because a friend bullied me into it years ago. I wasn't complaining about the length, more about the fact that I felt unequal to making a coherent reply. Obviously, coherence isn't exactly a strength of mine.

Oh god (we'll go with a pagan one!) it's a damn pain to do long responses with the stupid trojan attacks. I'm hoping the pc guys will make these stop!

And yeah, you read me right. It's like hearing about going to China, fasinating without really being able to imagine doing it myself. (I think I might have nabbed that analogy from somewhere, but beats me where at this point.) Closest I can tink of is my hunt for new glasses that I like, effect and persona-wise what image to project. (Plus glasses and mask, not such a good mix!) But that's like a mask you wear all the time, and some people forget there's a face behind it. Okay, so that metaphor falls a bit flat. Hrm. I toy with it in my dolls to some extent, though can't imagine your patience in crafting. All those attached vines and leaves all in one piece still doesn't seem possible. Like you made a mobius strip. To steal the roleplaying terminology I feel rather hopelessly mundane. Nothing against your magic. I certainly have no ';preference for standard persona' as you put it. Come on, it's DA. Who here goes for standard? Awesome term, btw. Very elegant yet thesis sounding. And promise, if I ever can swing the cost, I am going to pester you for a greenwoman mask. Recurrance of life and death theme again. Plus, hey, misericord and medieval artisanal inspirations, bonus!

So is he going to be Dionysus to your Bacchante then? Or will you lead him about by the nose? ;)

Boy, did I totally hijack your comments page yet?
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
GAH! I read that line about "hearing about going to China," and I remembered hearing that, that it was a really sympathetic female character talking in a modern-day setting about how "falling in love was like going to China," and my boyfriend and I struggled for HALF AN HOUR trying to place the reference before I realized that it was Mary Malone from Amber Spyglass. X.x

You oughta post your story to your scraps or something, sometimes discussion sparks new ideas. I think death ceases to be feminine because of the nature of monotheism - you can't have any personification of it in official matters. If it were personified, it'd assuredly be female - probably Eve's daughter, given it was she who went and screwed everything up. ::eyeroll::

The short version of the Lj ramble: I talk about a movie for a while, then get distracted and start going off on Tolkien's Monsters & Critics lecture on Beowulf, which very prominently features slightly self-conscious sympathizing on part of a devout Catholic with the Norse perspective on the world: everything's going to be destroyed, nothing's gonna survive, everything will be as if it never was, and yet that that makes it no less worthy. That's a pretty unChristian idea. And yet it resonated deeply with this Catholic professor - arguably, I'd say, cause Christianity never really deals with the losses in life - instead it just says "but everything'll be fine after you die." It probably makes more sense in the long form; just so you know, I have a spoileriffic movie review in the middle, behind a cut, so don't click on that. I get around to Tolkien after the cut text.

Referring to the "preference for standard persona," I mean one's usual expressed identity. I've known a scant few people who, when I asked them about Halloween or similar events they didn't participate in, told me they didn't have any desire to dress up like somebody else, because they didn't aspire to be anybody else.

I know what you mean about the glasses thing - and it very much is the same sort of issue. The image you project is the version of yourself that people react to. But a lot of the draw of masquerade to me is in the refutation of the constraints of that projected self-image, set in a social context; if you can't express everything of who and what you are in your day to day attire, say 'cause henna is seen as unprofessional, it can be cathartic to go all out and wear an inner self on the outside in public. (It's probably why so many of our festivals began to involve elaborate costuming in conjunction with relaxed social sanctioning.) Also, like Mary's "China", it's one of those things that can't be experienced vicariously, that doesn't really click in your head until it happens to you, and for some it can present an opportunity to learn about oneself.

Sometimes, though, it's more than just a matter of being able to wear what you want to school or work - some people internalize a very limited projected image as WHO YOU ARE FUNDAMENTALLY AS A PERSON, and that gets REALLY frustrating for some of us - myself included. It's a little unfair to find it aggravating - with a lot of people, they only see you under certain circumstances, and they're only going on the information they have - but there's also something somewhat offensive about the idea that to do something superficially different (like wear a different article of clothing) violates their entire idea of who you are. The clear disconnect is in that they're demonstrating that they believe themselves to be well-acquainted with you at the exact same moment that they prove that they aren't - and it can come off as distinctly presumptuous. A few people will catch themselves and rephrase it; some people are sort of naive in their bearing so that it's experienced as an innocent misunderstanding. But generally it's annoying, and some will make it come off as incredibly insulting, with the overall message: "I didn't know you had a life beyond your interactions with me."

What patience I can put into vines and leaves I can't wrap my head around when applied to needle and thread - I'd get fed up before I got half the doll done and leave it. Like most things, it's not so much one's patience as what one enjoys enough to stretch that patience into a finished work. Sorry about the computer virus - that's miserable, fortunately I haven't had to deal with it on my own machine... yet. And don't ever worry about length of writing - if you've gotten all the way down here you can't have missed just how megalithic my text walls tend to be - just fear what you might incur when you provide so much matter for discussion to someone as verbose as myself. ^-^
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(1 Reply)
:iconsphinxmuse:
sphinxmuse Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009   Traditional Artist
It's lovely. I cannot wait to see it finished!
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks very much! I've come so much to like it in the natural shade that I'm a bit nervous about the painting - but the foliage has gone well, so I suppose the rest will too. Thanks again for your praise!
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:iconemasqueradegallery:
EMasqueradeGallery Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009   Artisan Crafter
She looks wonderful!! I really love the sweeping curve of the bottom part of the mask and the eyes are well done.:)
-I also really like the little vine tendrils coming up from the beautiful ivy leaves.

-Can't wait to see her painted, great job!:D
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much ^-^ The model's essentially kin to the Rosetta; I need to start producing animated images to demonstrate the masks' shapes, because static photographs destroy so much of the relief I work to create. I've done half the painting - the larger half, honestly, the leaves - I hope it looks as good to everyone else as it has to me so far. The newness hasn't worn off yet, y'know?
Thanks again!
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:iconmeleck:
meleck Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009
It`s very very nice. I like the fact that teh horns are almost hidden by the vine leaves. It look very Pan like so I think Bacchante is a very good name for this mask.
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks very much for your specific and detailed comment - it's always helpful to hear exactly what people like. I wanted the horns to be minimalist, sort of cute ^-^ Thanks again for all the critique!
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:iconhakuhonokaze:
HakuhoNoKaze Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Professional General Artist
This is an excellent work (even if is just a WIP ^^)

I love the shape of the leaves: you made them so delicate and realistic!

And the stylized form of the mask is exquisite!

:thumbsup:;)


PS: I should put the "welcome back" message on your profile page ^^; So, delete it from here if you want to and I'll put it were it have to be

Blessings!

H.N.K.
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Eh, no problem about location. I'm disorganized enough that my online life ought to reflect some of that; it's the equivalent of throwing your bag on the bed because it's closer to where you're standing than the closet. ^-^ Thanks so much! I got very excited about the shape of this mask, to the point that I sort of forgot what I'd be doing about the color. Glad, too, that you liked the mini-mask - I did it as a test for some of the commissions I've got coming up (yes, that's how slow I am). More on that when it happens, but I'm fairly sure it'll be awesome, 'cause the commissioners' ideas were... ^-^
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:iconhakuhonokaze:
HakuhoNoKaze Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Professional General Artist
Welcome back! ^^

:hug:
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! More to come if it kills me (and it well might.)
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:iconcggp:
cggp Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009   Digital Artist
"I chose to call her a Bacchante"

I love this piece based on that alone :D
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:iconcwicseolfor:
cwicseolfor Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Ha, thanks. It's what I had in mind when I set out to design it - I'd had Dionysus and Bacchus, and their respective celebrants, on the brain for weeks, along with the cultural and sociopsychological meanings and drives associated with the whole retinue, etc. etc. But the term Bacchante seems to have taken on a (slightly) more sedate sensibility as compared to Maenad, quite probably because the latin names seem to have been favored during the last few centuries in Europe, possibly as a result of church latin use - and women's roles plummeting as they were into the depths of submission from the 1400s to the Victorian era, the mythology would've been softened round the edges where it wasn't Bowdlerized entirely. She just didn't seem quite the rip-one-limb-from-limb sort of girl. Just that she liked a good party, that good sense wasn't about to get in the way of a good time. Liberatae, she who is free, not ma(e)n(ad)ic, one who is crazed. I promise I'll stop now. ^-^ Ye gods I love etymology - I get as much of the fun of the act of maskmaking thinking about these things as from the leatherworking itself...
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:iconcggp:
cggp Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009   Digital Artist
No problemo :) It's always great to see an artist so dedicated to his or her craft, and it definitely shows in the creation of your pieces. I wish I could offer you more in terms of constructive criticism, but in all honesty I have no idea about masking in general. So I offer you my praise instead :D
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