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Making Ancient Peruvian Masks with Connie Claymaker & Gordon

Posted by on April 9, 2017

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

~Pablo Picasso

We began our time with Connie and Gordon by looking at some pictures of actual ancient Peruvian masks and then learned how to build a structure using paper plates, newspaper and masking tape!

Connie Claymaker and Gordon have enriched our lives. They’ve deepened our understanding of art and our connection with some of the amazing artistic history of Peru through our work making ancient Peruvian masks. We’ve been SO lucky to spend this time with Connie and Gordon and we wish that they could work with us ALL year!

We hope you enjoy our written reflections and the many photos taken throughout this learning journey:

building our marionette structures really helped us understand how to work with newspaper and masking tape!

 ‘Hi! Have you ever been to Machu Picchu in Peru? Well, let me tell you I have a unique, one of a kind, authentic mask I proudly own, excavated from Machu Picchu by a professional archaeologist! Well, to be honest with you, I actually made it with two amazing clay artists: Connie and Gordon! But, it is authentic, proudly owned and priceless. When I made this mask with Connie and Gordon it was a very fun to day process. My highlights from the first day, when we built our templates and got our clay formed and designed, was making the template because that is when I got to get the first picture of what my mask would look like. I also liked designing the clay and forming the clay over my template because my mask started to look like a mask from ancient Peru made by the Inca tribe! Highlights from the second day was the whole painting process but to be specific, I liked adding the designs becaus every time I added a colour it came to life even more! Now that I have finished it I look back and don’t regret a thing and I am pleased with my mask! If I were to do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing, because with Connie and Gordon we all became better clay mask makers! My favourite part of the whole thing was painting because to me it all came together once I added all the colour to it! I am most proud of my details because it gave it character and it looked more like an ancient Peruvian mask! But, I am proud of my whole mask not just the painting. Advice I would give to someone else making an ancient Peruvian mask would be to be patient when you use the clay and when you paint, to use around two to four colours because I only used turquoise as my main colour, maroon paint, gold paint and black paint to paint my designs! A wonder I have about how we painted them is why do your whole mask in one main colour and cover it with your other colours after? But, if you are going to do that on your mask use acrylic paint, not other paints because acrylic covers other colours of acrylic really well! I don’t know if they do birthday parties, but if they do and you want an art birthday, they would be the ones to call!” ~Payton

I can’t believe how much MASKING tape we’ve gone through this year!

“Hi! Rowen here! I just dug up an ancient mask from Machu Picchu, (some place in Peru)! Okay, fine. I made one out of clay but … same thing! My mask is a little mask with sharp teeth, small nose, yellow outlines around the eyes, brown tongue and gold lines under the eyes. If you want to make your own Peruvian mask I suggest you use not a lot of colours!” ~Rowen

“Connie and Gordon came to our class and made ancient Peruvian  masks. We had to work with the clay and put it on our paper plate and smooth it out. A few weeks later they came back and we painted them. I painted mine turquoise for the base, gold and silver for the lines and black for the mouth and eyes. I think they look better from far away. All of the masks look outstanding! I wish it was easier to make straight lines with a paint brush. I thought Connie junior was the best. My favourite part was everything. My lease favourite part was waiting because I really wanted to do the project!” ~Leah 

Something tells us we MIGHT need to order some MORE masking tape!

“Connie and Gordon came to make masks. We painted the masks. I chose three paints. It was turquoise, gold and red. The masks were fragile. It was fun. I wish I will see Connie and Gordon next year. It was a lot like our marionettes. My most favourite part was painting the mask. Gold showed up good. I loved the project.” ~Nic

“On my first day we made ancient Peruvian masks and it was awesome! I had an awesome time with Connie and Gordon because they came to do Peruvian masks. I wonder how hot is the kiln? If I could do it again I would do the same thing but the nose different because it looks funny and I’d make it more like a human’s nose. I would also want to make more designs! I’m hoping that we can wear them so I can look funny and make my brother laugh! My highlights were: that we got to paint and choose the paint I wanted, and Connie and Gordon helping us when we needed help. The part I was most proud of was everything because I did a good job and I worked so hard on it. I am proud of all of it! My lowlights were that we had to skip recess and maybe our day at the park! I wish that I had clay and lots of colourful paint and a kiln and all the other stuff that you need to make a mask because I want to make more and MORE and MORE! I want to have lots and lots and lots of ancient Peruvian masks because I like painting them and it’s very fun! The colours I used were red, gold, silver and turquoise! My favourite part was painting because I like designing and colouring a lot. A memory is that I’ll always remember about Connie and Gordon coming here to make our Peruvian masks and them teaching us how to do it and showing us how to paint it properly.” ~Sky

Connie did SUCH a great job of teaching us how to roll the clay and how to place it on our structures!

 “Wow! They are painted! Connie and Gordon helped us make some Peruvian masks, especially paint them. Oh … outlining was difficult and smooth. My first colour was turquoise and my second colour was red then gold and black. But, without paint and eyes, nose, mouth and eyebrows it would look like a pancake that you can eat. It was not that difficult to do the designs with a small paintbrush. Oh, it was hard with the rolling pin because the ambulance, (Gordon), had to come. I did not like the paint test because I did not want to have paint on me! Thank you Connie and Gordon, for helping us to make the Peruvian masks!” ~Daniel

“We made ancient Peruvian masks. I think it is the best art project. The people who helped us are Connie and Gordon. On my mask I made a tongue sticking out of it’s mouth. One of my highlights is the painting because it was messy AND you can paint anything you want on your mask. Everyone made priceless masks. The masks look SO amazing. If it was a competition I would vote everyone first in the competition!” ~Alex

“Yesterday we got to paint ancient Peruvian masks. (They were dug up in Machu Picchu!) Some colours were STUNNING. There was this beautiful gold and silver; once you paint them on it’ll shine like a star. Now, for the background, I used black because the other colours, (gold and silver), stand out more. Here is the part where we made them. First, we needed to make a model to go under the clay. Connie said “make it into a hamburger” and I did, (that’s a lie … I made it into a long hotdog). After, they put it in a kiln. I’ll always remember CLAY IS BEST!” ~Zari

Rolling the clay was pretty hard to do because you had to work SO hard to not “drive over the edges”!

 We made ancient Peruvian masks with Connie and Gordon! Here are some of my highlights. There were so many colours so I chose black, gold and red. Touching the squishy clay because it felt fun! If I could make another mask I would use turquoise, silver and black, maybe. The part I am most proud of is making it look kinda worn out! My favourite part was painting the ancient Peruvian mask because it starts to come alive. I wonder how many ancient Peruvian colours there are in Peru. What if ancient Peruvian masks could be ANIMAL masks? Here are the steps. First you get a paper plate. Second you use tape and newspaper to make your own design. Third after you do your design you get clay and shape the corners into curves. Fourth you get a rolling pin and roll it into a pancake but not a flat pancake. Fifth you put the clay on the plate and shape it out. Sixth you use tools to make a design on the clay. Seventh, you let it dry and take the clay off the plate and let it dry some more. Eighth toast the clay. Ninth paint the entire mask using one colour and let it dry. Tenth get two other colours and colour over the first layer but not entirely. Eleventh let it dry and then you’re done!” Reid

You have to FEEL your newspaper structures CAREFULLY and very, VERY gently work the clay down to give your mask its details!

Oh hi! It’s nice to see you again! Guess what? A few weeks ago we made ancient Peruvian masks! Okay maybe they are not that ancient but you get what I mean because they are only made out of clay and paint. Some of my highlights were making the designs with the paint, making the designs with the clay and making the mask’s shape. There are LOTS more but if I wrote all of them you would be reading til the cows come home! Well, I didn’t really have any lowlights but I guess I wasn’t really wild about waiting patiently for the paint to day but other than that I loved everything else! Something I would do differently next time is a hard question but if I had to pick I would probably put teeth on next time because I forgot to put it on before. But, still, I would keep it just the way it is if I didn’t have to pick. Oh no! Here comes another hard question! I liked the whole thing but my favourite part was seeing how it , turned out at the end because I loved how all my hard work paid off. No, no, no, no, no! Why do you give me all these hard questions … well, I guess I can tell you … I’m most proud of the same thing as my favourite part and for the same reason! Isn’t that a coincidence?! Okay, now, if you liked all of that stuff I just told you and now you just want to make one here’s some advice. First, please don’t press too far down on your paper plate.” ~Connie

That’s GREAT advice! If you press TOO hard on your clay the clay becomes TOO thin and THEN it can CRACK!

“Wow! Did you know that we made ancient Peruvian masks? It was so fun. My highlight was probably the painting because I love doing art. My lowlight is that mine got a couple of cracks so Gordon patched them up for me. Something I would do differently to my mask is I would use turquoise for my background colours and silver, gold and white. I think it would look great with those colours. For my mask for the background I did navy blue, gold and silver. I like it. I am most proud of the nose and I did a decoration that was pretty cool. I love it. A memory is that I will never forget making my mask.” ~Emily

“Yesterday we made priceless ancient Peruvian masks! Here are some of my highlights. One is the painting and doing the designs and when I am masking taping the eyebrows and the mouth and the nose and eyes on. Two is when Connie and Gordon came and helped me. Now let’s get on. My lowlights were when I was rolling the clay on my desk and the clay got stuck on my desk because it was brutal because it was hard to get it off my desk. Two is when a piece of my eye came off. Three is when I am painting the paint gets stuck on my hands. I would do more designs on my mask because it has low designs on it. My favourite part of the process was the painting because I painted my mask silver, gold and turquoise. The part I am most proud of is my painting because it looks extraordinary.” ~Arash 

Carving the details helped to make our masks come to LIFE!

“Wow! It was so awesome. We made Peruvian masks! Mine was brown with gold and a little bit of silver, and the littlest bit of black! My highlight was when a blob of paint was going to drop on my mask and Connie told me and I looked and I moved my paint brush so it didn’t spill! Yikes! I wonder how hot is the kiln? I also wonder if Connie made a mask what it would look like? If I could do it again I would make a lot more gold and a lot of turquoise. But, I am really happy with my mask because it really looks Peruvian. Gordon told me a couple of tricks and secrets! But I wish we could do it again because I could make it look more earthy! My favourite mask was Payton’s because it had a lot of designs!” ~Evelyn L

“We made Peruvian masks! We started off with making our masks. so, we got newspaper and made a nose, eyebrows and a mouth. Then we got some masking tape and we used a lot of it and I mean a lot and we taped the shapes down. My favourite part is when we painted our magnificent “real” ancient Peruvian masks. I used turquoise, clack, gold and silver. A thing that if I had another chance to make this again I would make a headpiece on it and make different designs. The part that I was most proud of is how it turned out in the end. I am really proud of my Peruvian mask because it really looks like an ancient Peruvian mask. I know that I will remember every part of this artistic also magnificent project!” ~Katherine

The paint REALLY made our masks come to LIFE!

“Ta DA! Welcome to Colby’s writing about … ANCIENT PERUVIAN MASKS! My highlights were: we had SO many different colours because there was orange, black, even gold, silver and bronze! I had more highlights but probably too many! I had NO lowlights! Something I would probably do differently next time is: one, put gold on the nose instead of yellow because it just looks awesome in my mind. Two, don’t add a mouth, because it would look cute like Eric’s mask. My favourite part was painting all the mask black, because you had to rush and I like rushing with paint! I was most proud of making my tongue because I wanted it BIG and it is BIG! Connie and Gordon gave us lots of tips. Here’s one: don’t roll your rolling pin off the side because the top and bottom of your mask will be SKINNY. Well … I dug a mask in Machu Picchu … well … I lied! I built it out of clay! I wish I could make as many masks as I want!” ~Colby

“When we made our Peruvian mask I was excited. When we started working on our Peruvian masks I was excited to work on it. We used paper plates and the hardest part was doing the eyes. The easiest part was the eyebrows. I was excited to paint our Peruvian masks. It was awesome. I loved painting my Peruvian mas. It was so fun. I am proud of my mask because of the colours and the details. My advice is that you think about your colours.” ~Brooklyn

Getting the paint deep into the crevices was TOUGH work!

“A few days ago we started making clay masks with Connie Claymaker. We started using paper plates then we started using newspaper. a highlight was that how big the clay rolled. A lowlight was that at the start the clay was so cold and whenever we touched it it would stick to our hands. Something I would do differently would be the mouth closed and kind of a smile. My favourite part was when I finished painting it. It looked so ancient. The part I was most proud of is the mouth because it looks so creepy and I loved the teeth. To make it look more ancient I would put golden dots around the eyes or put black dots around the eyes. I thought this project was amazingly awesome. I wish they had the colour of the sky.” ~Tareq

“We made ancient Peruvian masks with clay. The first day we made the template. We used a paper plate to put the mouth on and that was made of newspaper. Everything was made of newspaper except for the paper plate. We added two eyes, then we got a block of clay. Then we smoothed the edges. That was not enough so we used a rolling pin and turned it into a pancake. We patted, patted and patted. That’s all for the first day. The second day we painted it. These are the colours that I used: turquoise, gold and dark red. Four people added tongues to their masks, not counting me. I had a tongue too. If you want to know how many counting me add one more, which is five. If I did it agin what I would change is I would make the mouth not as weird as what it is in it’s position right now. In fact it looks like you’re thinking kind of and I would curl the tongue a little more. My highlights were painting the mask and cutting out the eyes.” ~Will

Thank GOODNESS for the PAINTING shirt some of us brought … and the ones Mrs. Adamson lent to us!

“Hello blog readers! How are you today? Good? Yay!!! Me too! Today will be talking about the ancient Peruvian masks that we made! They are SO beautiful! I’ll start by telling you step by set. So, first we started by getting some newpaper and masking tape … wait … get it? MASKING tape! Ha ha ha! You use masking tape for masks! Ha ha! Okay back to work! We placed the newspaper and masking tape on to our plates and we made eyebrows, noses, mouths, lips, bulgy eyes or see-through eyes, teeth and a tongue. so, we placed those on the plate to start our structures. Then later we got our clay and it was shaped like a square then we smoothed the edges like a hamburger. LOL! But be careful! They are VERY fragile! Then we rolled it out and tried not to drive over the edge so then it wouldn’t go too too flat! Eventually we had to paint which was yesterday! It was so much fun!!! One of my highlights was designing the details with different colours! One of my lowlights was putting on the details with the toothpick because it was REALLY hard! Something I would do differently is the eyes because they kinda look creepy with the toothpick outline that I did! My favourite part of the process was painting because that’s when it all comes together! The part I’m most proud of is the eyebrows and nose because they just stand out SO well! My advice for others would be to add lots of details because it would just look so fabulous!!! And, it would stand out lots!) So, thanks for coming to the show! Bye! Wait!!! I need a WISH! Umm. Oh! One wish is that I wish that we could war the masks like they had a rubber band around them. A thought is I thought we would make them not like those colours but it kinda looks colourful! A memory would be painting because you just did whatever you felt like with expression!” ~Vivian

They are really BEGINNING to look like ancient artifacts!

“Guess what we’ve been doing? Making ancient Peruvian masks! The part I’m proud of is the painting because it looks cool. I wonder if I can change the painting on my mask. I think an archaeologist dug up my ancient Peruvian mask.” ~Beyazit

“Hi there! We just finished doing our spectacular ancient Peruvian masks! Here are some of my highlights: painting all of the designs and when you painted them every time you did it started to come to life and it got more and more exciting. It felt like you were an archaeologist digging for ancient Peruvian masks at the top of Machu Picchu but you had to wait very patiently to find them. Ya … that’s not true but still they’re priceless irreplaceable ancient authentic Peruvian masks. My favourite part out of the whole process was painting because the colours that I chose were turquoise, gold and black. What I would do differently next time is I would pick the navy blue, silver and bronze because when I saw other people’s masks it was a good mix together. But, all of our masks are unique and that also why I like them! Here’s a list of some of my lowlights: having to wait  patiently for it to cook in the kiln and rolling it was hard because you could not roll off the clay. That’s all I have to say for the ancient Peruvian mask! Bye for now!” ~Maya

“One day Connie and Gordon came in to teach me and my class how to make ancient Peruvian masks. I was so excited I wouldn’t wait. It was so much fun! We used newspaper, masking tape and a paper plate. And, then we put the newspaper on the paper plate in the shape we wanted it to be like. After that Connie gave everyone a block of clay and a rolling pin.” ~Alinah

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As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.

~John Lubbock

7 Responses to Making Ancient Peruvian Masks with Connie Claymaker & Gordon

  1. Grandma Mary

    Hello Grade 3 Bloggers. I enjoyed reading all your thoughts about making your Peruvian masks. The pictures indicate how intent you were in doing the task. What purpose did the masks have?

  2. Leah

    I LOVED making the masks!!! I think they look outstanding! Got to go see ya.

  3. Maxine

    Wow! What amazing reflections. You are lucky kids! Yay!

  4. Grandma H

    I loved your enthusiasm and the detail you used to describe the process of making these wonderful masks. Well done!!

  5. Matthew

    That looks like lots of fun. You are all experts in Peruvian masks now. How many of you are going to change their name to Claymaker now ?

  6. Vivian

    That was SO much fun making those Ancient Peruvian Masks! Everyone’s masks look so awesome and beautiful!

    Thank you Connie and Gordon!! It was so much FUN!!!


  7. Maya

    Hi everyone1

    Making the clay masks was so much FUN! All the masks looked fantastic!Even the earthy colour of the masks make it so much more Ancient Peruvian.

    With out Connie and Gordon we would have never had this wonderful learning experience with out them.


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