Memento Mori: Memorial Art
A Death Mask is a cast of a person's face immediately following pronouncement of death; with the advent of photography, the Mask as memorial and identification tool became redundant. However, I have come to appreciate the unique qualities of the Death Mask as both memorial portrait and beautiful object. I use alginate (a very gentle, 100% natural algae product) to make the mould, which is then used to create a plaster form - an incredibly detailed cast that captures every wrinkle and pore of a loved one's face. The nature of the mould is such that it can be used only once, capturing an ephemeral moment in time with materials that reflect this in their delicate nature. Some people choose to enclose the Mask under a plexiglass vitrine (which I can provide), or to place it at the gravesite or in a favourite place exposed to the elements, where it will naturally disintegrate and return to the earth. Death Masks can be used to remember, and then, when the time is right, to say goodbye.