Friday, January 29, 2010

Question: Why do I do what I do? Answer: Love.

(Wolf and Bear Masks enjoyed by their new owners)

Sculpting a Life
By Susan Gallacher-Turner

I make masks out of window screening and copper. I’ve made all kinds of animals and mythical creatures in metal…cats and dogs, lions, bears and birds including a frog, donkey, tarantula, cheetah, macaw, owl, phoenix, dragon and a thunderbird just to name a few. I’ve made a series of fairies faces and masks that look like leaves.

A decade or so ago, I’d have thought I’d be done with all these masks by now, but I just keep on making them. Not only that, I keep coming up with ideas and creatures that I just need to make.

So there’s that question again…why? And the answer, so simple and clear…love.

I love imagining the animals and mythical creatures. I love shaping them out of aluminum and copper. I love painting them even though the process requires many, many, many patient layers of paint plus carefully detailed painting and repousse’ to get the richly detailed feathers, fur and scales. I love the fact that the depth of color defies the lightness and transparency of the completed mask.

Most of all, I love that people are so thrilled when they see them, feel them and put them on. They are transformed from boy or girl, woman or man into a wolf, bear, frog, lion, dragon or phoenix. I love to see the wonder on their faces when they look in the mirror and see their new masked persona. I love it when they realize that I can’t see them as they were but only as they are with the mask on.

I love that no matter what the person’s age or stage, the mask brings out the clear, true spirit of imagination that we usually only see in very small children. I love being part of that link and transformation.

Yes, it takes a lot of time, effort and skill to make each and every mask but when I’m working on the masks, my life becomes timeless.

Why do I do what I do? Love. Pure and simple.

If you’d like to see more of my masks, check out my website at and read my other blog Susan’s Art & Words at

No comments: