Masks have been used by people for as long as people have been around. They've been used for rituals, religious presentations, theater, holidays, and carnival. A mask is the familiar made unfamiliar. Or, sometimes, it is the unfamiliar made familiar. Most information we have about a person comes from our observation of the face. Transforming the character of the face alters a person utterly.
Masks can be made from anything. Throughout history, masks have been constructed from the elements that were available. The American Indians used carved wood, and stretched skins that have been hardened into shapes. Ancient Greeks used large masks with trumpet structures built into them for voice amplification in their outdoor theater. Carnival masks have been constructed from fabrics and feathers and anything else available.
The unmoving features of the face, or a covering on the face, either enlarged, or stylized, have tremendous power. Anything worn over the face is a mask.
More recently, masks have been made from materials that are cast.
Masks that are molded and constructed with realistic features that suggest creatures, or other people seem to have replaced masks. The most popularized, and popular uses of masks have been Halloween, and Carnival.
Rubber latex is the most pliant, and most popular material available for latex mask making. It is also one of the simplest material to use for the process.
Making the latex mask, begins with the construction of a plaster mold that copies, in reverse, the original model.
A model is only be something that is copied; something that when copied can be worn over the face. Although clay is the most common material for a model, it is not the only material.
A mask can be a covering for the face, or a covering for the entire head. It can be the same scale as the actual face, or it can enlarge the face and create an effect simply by size. The mask can suggest a face by using the same features as a face, or be a covering that suggests a face because it is worn where the face is located.
Although any material can be a mask within the practical limitations required so that it can be worn, the most common contemporary masks are latex. These masks are elaborate constructions with moveable features or, more commonly, unmoving features that fit comfortably over the face and roughly follow the movements of the actual face.
The actual model that is constructed can be anything. The process of converting that model into latex is being explained.