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Annette Rose Interview : Page 2 of 2

Artist Annette Rose, Creative Director of Maskworx Limited

continued from page 1

Earth Angel - Original Artwork by Annette Rose

Q. Please discuss the nine steps of your mask-making system. How did you develop this process to help others explore new ways to create masks?

A. The nine basic steps are designed to provide an elementary guideline for making a successful mask. The nine steps remove some of the complexity that puts people off mask making.

Nine steps to a marvelous mask!

  1. Know your stuff (research masks).

  2. Storytelling freedom (make a sketch).

  3. Create your base shape (cut embossed guidelines).

  4. Open your eyes (use eye templates).

  5. Add oomph to facial features (add character).

  6. Radial hypershapers (add drama & dimension).

  7. Getting the look right (add bling).

  8. Finishing off (ribbon ties or hand held stick).

  9. Wearing it (wear or share).

However, although this basic 9-step process is helpful for beginner explorers of art-on-the-round, it is only part of an amazing mask arts adventure we have lined up for schools and communities. Under development is a brand new model which moves away from applying a linear step-by-step approach to a non-linear art form, focusing instead on a more helpful cycle of creativity that involves making sound artistic choices. Watch this space!

Q. What is special or unique about the Multimask? What differentiates it from similar products that are out there?

A. Multimask is a face-shaped base mask made from recycled paper, eco-friendly and comfortable to wear. Its distinguishing feature is a set of embossed guidelines on the underside which help beginner mask makers shape and style their own mask by simply using a pair of scissors — a simple but original idea. Multimask also comes with all the media supports for "open access" mask making for anyone and everyone. Open source mask making is also an original idea.

Q. One of the things I have found common among American women I work with is that many of us — especially artists and writers — feel it is necessary to wear a "mask" — The Mommy Mask, The Success Mask, The Happy Mask — to hide our true natures or emotions. Is this also common among New Zealand women? Can the art of mask-making connect us to a more authentic sense and presentation of self, allowing us to unmask and show who we truly are inside?

Computer Geek - Original Artwork by Annette Rose

A. I will attempt to answer this question in three bites, first on a personal level, and second on a cultural level, and third on an artistic level. Yes, even though I am a mask maker I do wear social 'masks', the only difference being I am fully aware I am wearing them! I know I am acting all day every day, mostly so everyone else stays comfortable. People who dispense with social masks tend to become outcasts, sadly.

Here in New Zealand we struggle with "Tall Poppy Syndrome", a self-limiting modesty related to our small size & stature on the global stage, isolated geographical location and other identity issues. When our founding fathers left the tyrannical English class system behind they set about building a new society based on the ideals of fairness and egalitarianism. Sounds reasonable, but this pioneering idealism wears a darker face today. Over the past 150+ years many a New Zealander who dared stick their neck above the crowd got their head chopped off. And as a marker of class and excess, mask and costume were abandoned in New Zealand, a factor which added to the great difficulty of devising a better mask making system here, of all places!

Yes, even though my main task is to demystify mask making so others can explore it successfully, the artful enterprise of mask making is still transformational, one of the rare ways of rolling back the corners of the universe to understand its mysteries. This is what New Zealand teacher and writer David Hill has to say about creativity: "When you write a play/novel/whatever [create a mask], you make a shape. It's a shape that implies you find something important; something moves you enough to make you want to understand it, to remember and acknowledge it." This is how I feel about masks. If you are someone who enjoys shaping their own thing, you'll 'get' masks.

Q. Why is mask making so important today?

A. Through mask making, makers become the producer / designer of their own visual 'texts'. This represents a shift in power from a consumer orientation to a producer orientation. Besides that, it's magical, it works and the experience is unforgettable.

Connect with Annette Rose

  • Get Mask-wise: For more information or to assist a trial of the new Multimask Programme for Schools in your classroom (applicable to any topic study) please contact Annette by phone 64 03 4679941 or email

© 2008 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

Updated 9/7/15