The Torch follows the progress of the 8th grade art project - masks.

The first question that may come to mind is, why? Why would somebody want to have their face covered in vaseline and plaster? Maybe to learn more about oneself or maybe it’s just for a good grade. In Mr. Zimmerman’s art class, students learned about the production of plaster masks, what it takes to make them and how personal expression is a big factor.

It’s a fairly simple process once one gets the hang of it. All it takes is some vaseline, plaster gauze strips, and some water to get the job done. A volunteer has to cover their entire face with vaseline and put a little extra on their eyebrows and eyelashes. Then gauze strips are dipped into water and placed on one’s face. At least twenty or more strips of plaster should be used. Now, the key to having the perfect mask is smoothing out the plaster strips. Without a smooth mask, it is nearly impossible to decorate it. After about five minutes the mask is dry and Mr. Zimmerman, the middle school art teacher, will peel it off whoever’s face it was on. “It was a little awkward to have someone touching my face and having to stay completely still, at least for me it was,” says one of the 8th grade art students, Lauren Johnson. “It kinda took a lot of trust because when you’re the one getting the mask on your face it’s kind of in the mask maker’s hands.”

After the first few days of production comes the fun part, decorating. All sorts of materials can be used. Tissue paper, paint, glitter, feathers, and much more. It all just comes down to what really expresses one’s personality. Especially if it is done on someone’s face, because it will express even more about them. Their physical and creative characteristics. “You can decorate it any way you want. It’s your mask, not anyone else’s” says Mr. Zimmerman. “These masks made me realize how different everyone can be. Literally everyone’s mask was different and not just in design, they all had a different shape, different physical features,” says another art student, Kyesha Smith.