About the Masks Themselves
What are the masks made of?
The masks are waterformed cowhide leather, painted in a variety of flexible acrylics.
How are the masks worn?
Most are tied using ribbons or leather lace attached to the back of the mask, so as not to interfere with its face; at request, a baton (or lorgnette, or wand, or stick, depending on your preference in linguistic derivation) may be used instead. A charge will apply for this modification.
Are the masks lined or varnished?
No. Leather is a breathing material and to varnish it would spoil this natural advantage of leather as a medium. The masks are lined in a smooth natural suede.
Are the masks shaped on a mold?
No. Everything, every detail, of the masks is sculpted, cut or tooled by hand, with no mold or facial form. Every detail is created by hand each time by the artist for each individual mask.
What grade leather do you use?
Everything is high quality full-grain leather, meaning that the grain surface is intact and has not been buffed off, preserving the original character of the leather. Often this is used to the advantage of a design, and it always increases the unique quality of a mask. The leather itself is thicker than is often used for masks, but the structural stability of the mask is worth the resistance to sculpting, and the result is both lightweight and durable.
About Mask Sales
Do you do custom designs?
With pleasure. All masks not already in stock are custom to some degree, due to paint detail and the ready possibility of modifications. Any fully custom design will be carefully considered and approved on a case-by-case basis.
What happens when I ask for a mask?
If you have provided your email address, zip code, paint scheme in detail, and any other embellishments desired, as I list on my contact form, I can provide you with a rough price quote and request some facial measurements to help ensure fit. Price quote may vary depending on your preferred shipping method. I can also provide a digital concept sketch at your request to clarify mask detail. Correspondence may continue for as long as desired, and after payment clears, your mask is shipped to you.
Why haven't you replied to my email?
There could be a few different reasons. The most common:
- The email might be down. It happens sometimes. Please write again.
Why aren't your prices fixed?
With everything sold being mass-produced, product is so standardized that prices can be, too. These unique, handmade works are priced based on the materials cost plus an hourly wage for artist's time spent. This means that if you request a mask with a single color paint scheme, or textured detailing of the leather, the price will vary down or up according to complexity. Ready-made masks (listed as In Stock) are designated a specific price that will only increase if additions are requested.
What about In Stock masks?
Prices for In Stock masks are always given in United States dollars followed by a '+', because though that's the baseline price for that particular mask - what it has cost already - other fees may apply, such as charges for additional embellishment, paint work, specific materials (ribbon or lace for ties, etc.), shipping, and sales tax if you are a resident of the state of Texas.
About Mask Care
How should I store my mask?
I recommend keeping masks on a wig head or mask rack (pictures coming), somewhere in plain sight where they can be enjoyed when they aren't being worn. But supported by crushed paper or fabric in a cool, dry place also works. Keeping it dust-free is a good idea, with a dry, soft cloth or brush (a cut up old tee-shirt works wonders). Do be gentle, please. Absolutely no chemicals. Alcohol and even some soap will dissolve, discolor, or lift the paint. If something's dried onto it, I suppose you could get away with a very slightly damp cloth on the painted surfaces.
What sorts of things could damage my mask?
Though the masks are reasonably tough, due to the strong, lightweight nature of the leather, the acrylics used on the surface of the mask may be scraped or damaged. The mask itself is largely prone to these elements:
These masks were water-formed, and water will deform them. The reason we do not seal them entirely as some other makers do is so that the leather will continue to breathe - certainly you would rather have a breathing material against your skin than an airtight plastic varnish. Having gone clubbing in these masks, we find that normal activity should not damage them, provided they are allowed to dry sufficiently afterward - but very heavy sweating, rain, or worse, immersion, will likely deform them significantly. (If you plan to wear your mask out-of-doors, such as to a faire or parade, where there is a chance of rain, we strongly recommend you carry a plastic bag somewhere on your person to wrap it in.) If water damage should occur, you can try to push them gently back into shape, support them with some crumpled paper and allow them to dry thoroughly. If you are particularly concerned that your mask should take water damage, acrylic paint can be applied to the inner surface as well as the face - but it would still be best to avoid swimming in your mask.
Heat & Sunlight
Each will damage the mask if it is exposed excessively. Masks should not be stored in glove compartments in Texas or left on concrete in Arizona. If the masks are stored in direct or strong sunlight, the leather is prone to dry and crack, not to mention the pigments are likely to fade (ultraviolet from a reptile heat lamp could cause similar problems, at least for the paints, so we wouldn't store it beside the snake cage, either.)
About This Website
Why doesn't _______ picture/ link work? Why is there missing content?
It's entirely a work-in-progress. So until it's in better shape - sorry! It'll improve with time. Until then, you can use the contact page to notify us of any broken links or images. If you have constructive criticism to offer, I might appreciate it, but be nice - I have far too little time to be overly worried about this website. Coding is fun, but this artist would rather be designing, making, wearing and introducing others to masks.
Why do you post images of unfinished masks?
Well, to start, some people like the look of the original leather, but the real reason is so that the images don't wind up overspecifying anyone's ideas of what the mask should look like. The leather images show the mask as a blank, and you can yourself decide what detail you want laid over the original shape so plainly seen.
What code editor do you use?
Code editor? Piffle. Generates a bunch of extraneous waste. This site is hardcoded by hand. If you find a mistake on the website.... well, until this FAQ changes, it's part of the page - it's still under construction and it'll be fixed soon. On the other hand, if the error was major - the entire page is displayed incorrectly - you can always contact us.
First: Cwicseolfor Masks hates spam. Having once used the AOL service, and thus having a screenname translate directly to an email address, this dire abhorrence probably outranks anything the uninitiated can imagine.
Second: Your name, your email address, your screenname, your character name, your postal address, your phone number (if given), any photographs (if given), any identifiable information of yours is wholly private and your business.
These said: Any personally identifiable information given to Cwicseolfor Masks is solely for the purposes of the transaction and will be discarded thereafter unless written permission is given otherwise for purposes such as a potential future update publication or future correspondence. Nonidentifiable information may be used for public purposes of promotion (e.g. "The customer wanted a purple fairy with some 'dark writing' carved into the wings..."). Your email address or other information will never be given away, resold, or otherwise released to the public unless you give permission in writing to do so. You are expected to extend the same courtesy in return.
What if I don't mind being known as a mask owner?
In the future, it is possible that a gallery page may be created for the display of self-submitted photographs of customers in their masks. If you would like to contribute, please notify us. Your submission with written permission for public use will be required, along with any information about the image you would like to release for public use - published information will be at the discrimination of Cwicseolfor Masks (e.g. you may feel it appropriate to publish your full name and phone number; we may limit information to your first name.) If you later decide to remove your image, please give notice over at the contact page. Don't forget to mention which image is yours.
May I use your mask images for...
...my personal website?
Why do you use leather?
Leather is a traditional maskmaking medium, its success over centuries explained by its breathability, light weight, slight flexibility and luxurious texture. These unique properties render it a peerless medium for the creation of the functional and durable masks Cwicseolfor is known for.
What about animal-free alternatives?
Regarding the use of leather for maskmaking and the implications thereof, please see the artist's statement regarding leather use.