1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Commedia Del' Arte Masks - Where can I get them from?

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by walshj77, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. Commedia Del' Arte Masks - Where can I get them from? - Any ideas - would like to spend in the region of £150.
  2. Commedia Del' Arte Masks - Where can I get them from? - Any ideas - would like to spend in the region of £150.
  3. How about making them?! I am doing Commedia with my lovelies this half term and over two lessons we are making masks. If you have £150 you could do some really good ones. There is a 'mask making' techniques guide on Drama_uk. If you could maybe get a day off timetable with your G and T lot it would be an ace project...moulding them with paster of paris etc. I'm not doing anything as advanced as that but if I had the £ and time then thats what I'd do.
  4. If you want to buy some I am fairly sure Trestle do them, dunno their website and they are *way* expensive.
  5. resources4drama

    resources4drama New commenter

    They will not be cheap. You would be lucky to get three for £150. (Don't think Trestle do them - could be wrong).

    I have used


    in the past. Although New Zealand based, they ship very quickly. My masks were lost in the post - they sent another complete set without quibble.

    Mache might be your best (cheapest) option. There are some base mache masks on sale at Hobbycraft which you could cut / add to - about £2.

    Or try this "How to make a commedia mask" link:


    Best deal I had ever was a complete boxed set of Trestle intermediate off ebay for £20!

    Just to add that the authentic Italian leather ones will set you back thousands for a complete set, but there are hundreds of online sellers of them.
  6. Hi
    I bought the trestle masks as got access to a pot of money last year.
    In the past I did them with Modrock. Get plenty of vaseline and headbands. They can design them before they make them and then I put cotton wool on the inside to pad them out.Can paint them with posterpaint and we had somebody varnish them with something or other.
  7. When I was at uni we did a mask-making week - we started by making a basic dough and pushing our faces in it to create a mould (not a wonderful experience, but is ok if you take a deep breath and close your eyes). Then we filled the moulds with plaster of paris. Leave these to set, then pull the dough mould off it and you're left with a (quite scary) death-mask type thing of your face! Next, we build up a plasticine mask from about the middle of the forehead around to just under the nose - working using several layers to create the contours of a face (building up the nose, eyebrows etc) - at this point you can exagerate features if you so wish - i.e a hooked nose etc... don't forget to leave the eye holes!
    When you're happy with the plasticine model, build on top of it with layer after layer of papier mache - smoothing it as necessary. Finally, when this is all dry, you should be able to paint on the papier mache desired skin tones etc... - remove the mask from the death-mask plaster of paris mould and take out all of the plasticine (this takes a little while and patience) and you're left with your mask! Then all you need to do is drill holes for the elastic and voila! I know it takes time but if you want to go down the route of making masks, these are effective and last forever! It gives you the opportunity to do the whole exercise with your students (in an after-school club if necessary) if you want to - and they tend to have a lot of fun seeing the whole process from start to finish.
    Alternatively, take a holiday and go to Venice and buy some ha ha!
  8. I forgot to say - you need to put a lot of vaseline on the death mask before you build the plasticine on to it, otherwise you'll never get it off!
  9. i've made masks with modroc, but I think commedia masks would be too tricky...I have heard good things about that NZ company as well!
  10. vickilew

    vickilew New commenter

    I just bought mine from 'strangeface'. They were really expensive ... 10 for about 450 quid! Really good quality and they have hairy bits on them!
  12. www.thepuppetcompany.biz :)
  13. oops i meant -



  14. Retro Bates

    Retro Bates New commenter

    I like what this company are doing as there really aren't many specialising in commedia in this country, however, both the leather and moulded masks look rather crude in the images they have presented.Compared to the likes of trestle's mask quality and theatre-masks.com I would prefer a mask to look like something I couldnt make myself.., I would shop around and spend a little extra to get something with a better finish. Unless the photos don't do the masks justice.
  15. resources4drama

    resources4drama New commenter

    None of their links work for me - it says the domain is for sale on one link and that the domain has moved on the other.
  16. I attended a commedia workshop at the NT in 2001. A guy there made and sold plastic masks. His name was Ninian Kinnear-Wilson. I looked for any links for his masks online but found the very sad news that he died on 7th Feb this year. He worked with Didi Hopkins and bodiesofknowledge.org . I have no idea if the company are still selling the masks but if you contact them Im sure they can tell you. I too am looking so will comment on here if I find out before you. There is obviously a demand from schools for cheap masks.
  17. I got my Commedia masks from thepuppetcompany.biz - I love them. I paid about £200 for ten; our finance dept weren't thrilled because the company looks a bit fly-by-night, but the masks were sent within a few weeks and are brilliant. Can't get their site to work now, but I found these contact details: http://danceandtheatrecornwall.co.uk/joe-long
    On a separate note, how sad to hear about Ninian Kinnear-Wilson. The brilliant Commedia scheme my department inherited was based on his workshops and reading it it was clear what an inspirational practitioner he was.
  18. Retro Bates

    Retro Bates New commenter

    Does this work.?
  19. Hi there, I hope you get this reply. I came across your post whilst doing research for my brother's funeral and thought you might be interested to know that there are still stocks of the plastic masks you mentioned as well as some of Ninian's more specialist epoxy and leather masks. I understand that Ninan sold the plastic masks for £1.50 each, and we can sell them for that or £15 for 10, £25 for 20. There are two styles, one with a "harlequin" face, and one with a olng "nose". I guess we have about 100 of each but when they are gone, they are gone. The epoxy and leather masks are in much more limited supply and are more expensive, to reflect the effort Ninan put into making each one. Ninan's leather masks took about 2 months to design, sculpt in clay and then carve in wood, before stretching the leather onto the shape and beating it to fit. These masks sell at £150 (epoxy unfinished), £200 (epoxy fully painted) and £300 for the leather masks.
  20. I made some. I got some cheap plastic eye masks and rubber noses from a joke shop. Using bandage strip and PVA I joined the nose to the mask. Then I covered the whole thing in bandage and PVA. Papier mache would have done just as well but bandage and PVA is quicker and stronger and gives a cloth like feel to the finished mask. Then I painted them. Easy, I got students to do it and made a load - it takes about fifteen minutes to make a mask. If you stain them with wood stain they even look like leather. They are very strong and lasted years.
    If you're into commedia del arte and want to use slapsticks you clearly can't use wooden ones because the little darlings would injure each other. I use foam rubber pipe insulation; it's cheap and comes in metre lengths - half a metre makes a good slapstick and then they can beat hell out each other in complete safety. Good for teaching swordfighting too.

Share This Page