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Articles tagged as design (view all)

Phoenix Mask

Posted by Jennifer Syas on 09 April, 2017 0 comments

The inspiration for the Phoenix Mask came from seeing a peacock take off in flight at a zoo. You don't see many pictures or videos of peacocks flying around. Most of the images are of the peacock standing still, displaying the full fan of his tail, but the moment I saw that peacock take off, and the way his tail flowed behind him, I understood why eastern style art depicted phoenixes as looking more peacock like than eagle like. So even when I first designed the peacock mask for a friend of mine, I already had that desire to show a flying peacock as a phoenix. 

Something that may seem surprising is the the Phoenix Mask is probably the design that takes me the longest. Cutting out and carving the mask is much the same as the peacock mask. It has pointier wing feathers, some sparks coming off the wings, and different feathers coming off the head. 

Both the peacock and the phoenix are very detailed to paint. The main difference is that while the metallic paint may take two or three coats to get good coverage over a dark dye, the flat paints can take 5 or more! The blending, layers and details take a considerable amount of time.


The painting of this mask alone takes me 11 hours or more. The yellow alone takes 7 or 8.

This is why I say my masks are a labor of love. I may not be making a lot for the hours put into the design, but I feel that it's worth it, because it is such an eye catching and striking mask.

Masks vs Glasses - Why Not Both?

Posted by Jennifer Syas on 29 November, 2016 0 comments

One of the most common things I hear from disappointed would-be customers is “I can’t wear masks, I have glasses.” I completely understand this obstacle. I wear contacts myself, but there have been times when I was stuck with my glasses for a while and faced the same dilemma. Without my glasses, I can’t see more than foot away from my face. Just taking them off is not an option.


What made me first tackle the problem of masks and glasses, however, was my oldest son, T. He’s 6 now, and he’s had glasses since he was 4. He loves that I make masks. He’s been trying to “help” since he was 2, he’s made some very cool leather projects of his own, and he’s always giving me ideas for new designs. (His most recent idea is a zombie head with lanterns coming out of its ears.) He tells me he wants to make masks for people when he grows up. So how could I not find a way for him to be able to wear masks of his own?

What I discovered after various trials is that there are a multitude of ways to work around glasses: work the glasses over the mask, under the mask, have the mask around the glasses, even building prescription lenses into the mask itself! The way in which I would handle working with the glasses would depend entirely on the design, but it’s really exciting to me to be able to know there are options. Glasses don’t have to define your costume or your cosplay or your garb. Finding creative solutions is one of my favorite parts of the art making process, and I look forward to more opportunities to bring these creative visions to life.