What are you ready to express through your mask?

I made the mask you see here nearly ten years ago. 

The process of making that mask did a lot for me as an artist; it helped me free myself from a load of limiting beliefs about myself and art. In fact, I’m not sure I ever used the word artist to describe myself (with conviction) until after I gave myself the gift of a mask-making workshop with Pauli Hakensen in Sacramento.

Since the time of creating my mask (which is made from a plaster mold of my own face), I’ve had two art shows, I’ve sold photography and sculpture, and I’ve become a prolific artist and craftswoman.

I named her Fierce Beauty. Here’s why: The experience of holding a replica of my own face in my hands, and then embellishing and adorning my mask as it was calling me to do, was liberating in another, probably more important way.

I don’t usually see myself as beautiful. I carry baggage (like many women do) that prevents me from recognizing beauty when I look at my own reflection. Holding my mask in my hands did something for my perspective and awareness that nothing had ever done before. The powerful daily self-blessing ritual that I have since added to my life—done in front of a mirror—is similarly powerfully freeing.

I am offering a mask-making workshop this fall, the weekend of November 12–13, at my home in west Oakland. On the Saturday, we will pair off and create plaster masks of each others’ faces. We will tell stories and talk about our lives, our paths, and what we are hoping to realize and manifest from this work. This will be a short day. Then we will meet again on Sunday in the late morning, after the masks have had a chance to cure and set overnight. Sunday we will have plenty of time to paint and embellish our masks until they are complete. Or not. Some may take their masks home and continue to add to them over time.

This workshop will be small: seven women including myself. That will give us each plenty of time to talk and share. It is completely intentional to keep this small—I want everyone to enjoy the abundance of time. There is no rush!

I’m doing something new with my fee structure: I want all who are moved to give themselves this gift to be able to attend. Inspired by Tad Hargrave, I am using an honor-system, pay what you wish/what you can sliding scale. I am implementing this in all my workshop pricing, a delightful experiment in making the work I’m called to do be as accessible as possible. As Tad says: “This isn’t about charity. It’s about community. It’s about all the ways we can support each other. We’ve all been through tough times and it’s good to know we can be there for each other in those times. Community matters more than money. The ability of people to meet their needs and get support with dignity matters more than profits.”

Sculptors, shamans and coaches offer two-day mask-making workshops for $199–$225. For this workshop, you are invited to choose the fee that’s the right fit for you. And I won’t ask you to pay your balance until the workshop is complete.

You can hold your space by sending a deposit check for $80. Please date the check for two days after the workshop (November 14, 2011). This way you know I won’t cash the check until the workshop is done. If you need to cancel and let me know up to two weeks before the workshop date, I’ll tear up the check. If you let me know by one week before, I’ll return $40. If you cancel week of the workshop, you lose the deposit.

Pay to: Sue Kearney
1430 32nd Street
Suite 4
Oakland 94608

When I receive your deposit, I’ll send you an enrollment form with the rest of the details.

Please email me at Sue@MagnoliasWest.com if you have any questions.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” —Oscar Wilde


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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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