Press mold ceramic mask and dream portraits by Ronda LaRue
Mask making as Shaman studies and art therapy with Ronda LaRue

Now comes the real mask making magic!

Decorating and adorning the Self-Mask opens a world of creative self-expression possibilities! ...More than just the obvious "paint and hang it", there is an endless variety of possibilities for your new Life Mask!



1. Plaster Mask as Press Mold:

In my work as a mask maker and sculptor, I most often use the life cast (plaster mask) as a press mold for creating a ceramic stoneware life mask of individuals.

My work creating what I've come to call "Life Dream Portraits" of individuals on a commissioned basis is a very powerful and meaningful aspect of my life as an artist and social/psychologist.

*See my mask making series for famous ceramic artist Beatrice Wood using the press mold technique here.


See Commission, for more information about commissioning me to create your Life Dream Portrait in ceramic, bronze or mixed media)

Techniques: 2. Plaster Mask as It's Own Expressive Arts and Art Therapy:


In my weekend workshops and private retreats, and with friends and kids, I often use the actual plaster life cast as the finished piece -- which is what we'll be getting into here.

You will take the white gauze mask you made of your face (or other body parts..) and decorate, add, embellish to create a finished art piece. The variations are endless...! (I have one entire wall of a bedroom in my home that is a gallery of these decorated plaster face masks -- each one a different aspect of my personality that I have explored or let "have voice"


(See more about making this process one of spiritual and self-discovery below.  Or visit for more on expressive art therapy and shaman studies.)

The Mask As Spiritual & Self-Discovery:


Because I lean toward the ancient traditions of mask making as a Shaman healer, teacher, and retreat leader, I have a fascination with, and a strong respect for "the spirit of the mask".

I see the white mask as a kind of "tableau rasa" (blank mask) --- a magical opportunity to explore aspects of self and soul. For example, you might want to consider some of these themes (or play with some others:).

  • New You: What part of you or your life would you like to see empowered?

  • Old Stuff: What part of you are you ready to let go of, accept, or heal?

  • What's your ________ Self-look like? (Fill in the blank with anything you’re dealing with: athletic self; old wise one; innocent inner child; judgmental self; shy self; divorced self; healed self…etc.)

  • Totem: What animal, sea creature, plant serves as a protector/guide for you?

  • Dream Vision: What’s something you dream of, or what has a recent dream told you about yourself...?

You get the idea...!

Basic Materials & Supplies for Decorating Your Mask:


First, there’s really only 1 technical piece of information. It’s best if the plaster mask cures for 24 hours before you start adorning it. (..If you can’t wait, as I often can’t, put it in a warm (200) oven for about an hour).

Second, I tell my clients who I work with to start collecting a Treasure Chest of interesting and meaningful odds and ends...

Here's some of the kinds of things you might want to have on hand for your mask-making art project

  • Acrylic paints (or any paint other than water color unless you're familiar with their use.)

  • White tacky glue and/or hot glue gun

  • Hole punch and hanging wire

  • Treasure Chest: Basket of cool stuff you collect and pick up... like:

    • Feathers, fabric remnants, seeds. stix, stones,
      beads, old photos, magazine images/clippings,
      old earrings, drift wood,
      memorabilia (Clean out some old drawers, take a walk in the woods, draw...)







Removing old patterns and masks in couples art therapy

The Art of Mask Making

for Self-Discovery / Art Therapy,
Children's Classroom Projects,
Ceremony & Theater

Using Plaster of Paris and Your Face!