I am thrilled to share a new project with you that I am suuuuuper excited about: Wooden Animal Masks. A celebration of South Africa's unique wildlife, these modern wall art masks will look stunning in any indoor space!
They are truly a labour of love - a collaboration between myself and my amazing husband, Alex, from The Modest Toolbox. It started many months ago as a few quick sketches and a vague idea...
The production is a painstaking process... First, we recreate the sketches to scale using paper cut-outs. These pieces are then used as stencils to create the pallet wood pieces that the masks are eventually built from.
We are constantly looking for ideas to reuse, recycle and upcycle our "waste" (one man's trash is another man's treasure, right?) to create functional and beautiful artworks and products. As a carpenter, specialising in custom pallet wood furniture and home decor, Alex certainly has a lot of off-cuts. Apart from our new animal masks, his handiwork can also be seen in my hand-painted succulents and animal frames, all made using pallet wood off-cuts.
The blocks are cut, shaped and neatly finished by hand.
This is when I take over the process. This is also when the project completely takes over our kitchen table, where I build the masks using the loose wooden blocks. Using stickers (also recycled, by the way!), I meticulously plan the colours that I will use to make the animals come to life. I don't use stencils or a precise plan, but rather paint free-hand and by heart. This means that each and every mask will have a unique personality. Most blocks get a black base coat (to make the colours really POP!), while others remain raw - another element that really adds a unique character to each mask, as no two pieces of wood are the same!
Bit by bit, block by block, colours are added, using good quality, water-based paints. Eventually, when everything has properly dried, I add fine details in black and white. I think this is where the magic happens and the masks really become art!
The painted, loose blocks are then returned to Alex's capable hands to assemble. He not only uses glue, but also an assortment of screws and dowels to make sure the final product is securely and neatly combined.
Finally, the masks are ready to be finished. I touch up any paint that may have been damaged during the assembling-process, and Alex gives the masks a few coats of matt varnish to seal and protect the wood.
We hope to eventually add more animals to the range, and are definitely open to requests and suggestions. As you can imagine, this is a time-consuming, labour-intensive project... The entire process takes three to four days per mask!
I can only hope that the end result matches the care, pride and love that we poured into our animal masks during their creation...!