“When the first man saw his reflection on the waters of the first river, the mask was born.” (Otello Sarzi, puppeteer)

Every mask is made for a person, and every person must find and understand his own mask in order to work with it. From the simplest common materials such as clay, leather, wax, and glue we will find the mask that emerges from the creative imagination of each student.

This class serves as an introduction to the 500-year-old tradition of leather mask-making in Italy. In addition to learning the ancient craft of leather mask-making and constructing a unique mask to keep, you will also investigate the use of different materials (leather, wood, gauze) and learn about the history and traditions of the mask and the world of Commedia dell’arte.

The classes include:

  • history of masks and masked theatrical productions in Italy
  • construction of the mold
  • construction of a plaster cast
  • construction of a one-of-a-kind, hand-made leather mask
  • techniques of beating, smoothing, and coloring with wax
Class LengthClass SizeCost (Including Materials)
8 meetings of 2 hours each (total of 16 hours)Groups of 3-5 people€200 per person

FàMaschere is Alessandra Ceccarelli and Federico Gargagliano. Federico, originally from Venice, met Alessandra in Urbino working in the theatrical group I comedianti di Urbino. After working on stage productions they moved behind the scenes after meeting the master Venetian mask-maker, Giorgio De Marche. They worked closely with him for the next years and travelled internationally with him as apprentices and collaborators. After Federico graduated from the University of Urbino in 2006 with a thesis on the preservation of the cultural heritage of mask-making he and Alessandra founded the theatrical group Circateatro to perform historical re-enactments and contemporary comedy using masks in all types of show from parades to puppet theater. Since the creation of FàMaschere in 2008 they have focused more on mask-making and finding ways to promote this world through exhibitions, festival productions, demonstration workshops, and classes.

For more on FàMaschere’s masks and their Commedia Dell’Arte productions, read the profile in the 2012 edition of the Urbino Project