When You Love Someone, You Make Them An Antelope Mask

My friend Natalie and I have been through thick and thin together. She has been my voice of reason when I couldn't think clearly for myself. She literally saved my life once, I am certain.  She is the friend who reminds me to let loose and have fun, especially now that I am a Mom. So many private jokes, so many battle stories, so many good times.
Source: lotusmasks.com
We met over a decade ago when she and I were educators at the Glenbow Museum. We delivered programs to school kids using the various art pieces and cultural artifacts in the museum's vast and wild collection. One particular program for kindergarteners took place in the West African gallery and required us to tell the fable of the antelope, explaining how in West African culture masks are used to help tell stories. We'd have to wear the painted wood antelope mask and jump around, make braying sounds, clip, clop...you get the picture. A the end of every shift, the antelope would return to its storage shelf near our offices so the next educator on duty could find it for their next program.

Source: imgarcade.com

A colleague of ours never, ever remembered to return the mask and so it often spent its night on the gallery floor, probably becoming alive like Night at the Museum. (Which for the record is a movie that is nothing at all like what it is like to work at a museum. For the truth on that, you should probably go here.) Nat and I got sick of this guy's laziness and so one day, we bombarded his desk with passive-aggressive post-it notes. On each one were a cartoon of the antelope crying and shaking in fear for being left alone in the gallery all night long. Needless to say, he remembered to put it away after that and the antelope masks became a little symbol for us of our early days in museums and education.

We've both moved onto to different things in our careers, but our friendship has stayed the course. We were lucky enough to work together as consultants for a travelling art program and, most recently heading up the education team at the National Music Centre. Natalie just accepted an incredible job as the Director of Education and Outreach for the Scottsdale Cultural Council, moving back home to the United States. I gave her a great reference and then cried because I knew she'd get the job and I would have to say goodbye. I will so miss having her nearby to do random errands with, make arts and crafts with and to drink gin with, to listen to old-skool hip hop with, to troll thrift stores and to watch the Young and the Restless.

So what do you do when you love someone? You make them a papier-mâché West-African inspired antelope mask...

Cereal box top makes a good plinth. Classic balloon armature with rolled paper horns and cardboard ears.
Tape. A lot of tape.
Detail shot: wrapped string for texture and egg carton eyes. Very pro technique.
Mâché the shit out of that antelope.

Once dry, paint white with gesso
Seek out some pattern inspiration: Pinterest
Ready for her new office...

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