When I was a little girl, my grandmother took my brother and I to have our faces cast. We were in Canada at the time, near our home in Alma. My parent’s didn’t know we were doing it. My uncle & grandmother took us over to the studio without them. I remember it being really hot that day for the area. We had to lay down and have plaster poured over our faces. A few days later, we came back and picked up the final Raku Masks. We gave the faces to my parents as a surprise gift. They are currently hanging in the basement next to each other. Here is the mask of what I looked like when I was little:

natalie raku mask


It took me awhile to search for the guy that made our masks, but I JUST came across his website. His name is Tim Issac. I truly love some of his work. I have two small sculptures hanging in my childhood bedroom that he made–a fish & seahorse. Here is a photo of those little sculptures as well as my brother’s face:

stefans mask / fish & seahorse

Besides the masks that we gave to my parents, there is an additional thrown raku bowl near the masks in our house.  I was so excited to look back through his website and work. I remember that entire day so well – walking through the beautiful surrounding garden and wanting so badly to understand how he made all the clay BLACK!

fish bowl

When I was in high school I had a friend make a cast of my face at 18 years old. I always hoped I could learn how he made my childhood mask. I saved the cast hidden away. Now that I am taking a clay class through the center I teach letterpress, I finally got my opportunity! I pulled out the cast and dusted it off two weeks ago. I learned in class that the flat color on my face was simply made by putting a wax resist on that area and dipping the surrounding clay in the Raku glaze. Right now, It has been bisque fired and is awaiting the final glaze!

process mask