Over the past 2 years I’ve been working with Vamos: on the set build for Finding Joy, mask painting, and facilitating mask making workshops.

Each workshop is different as it is tailored to the particular needs and objectives of the diverse groups Vamos works with. However there are some aspects that are constant: each person decides on the expression/emotion they want their mask to have and then, with help from us, is encouraged to make it boldly and fearlessly out of clay. Each clay face then goes into the vac former, which creates the masks in plastic, taking on all the detail in the clay. Vac formers are usually used for mass production and I really like that with Vamos we use the machine to create such individual and unique masks.

Next week I’ll be painting masks made by international businessmen and women in the penthouse suite of a city centre London hotel (for London Business School, Ed). I mention this because it is an unusual venue for a clay workshop, involving lots of trips from the van up to the top floor of the hotel – a large team of workers help to make it possible by lining the entire room in corex and at the end of the day, with army-like precision, the hotel staff restore the room back to its splendour!

Vamos have a developed a very distinctive style of painting, which works so well on stage and adds to the mask's character. There are lots of stages to the mask painting and prep, all of which are important to creating the finished mask (please see diagram)

A lot of time and attention go into each individual mask and I love how they turn from a piece of plastic into having a life of their own (sounds a bit corny but you know what I mean).

Thanks to Kate for the blog, and to her Bear for standing in at the photo shoot