Venice and masks are inseparable. It’s impossible to visit Venice and not see shops filled with fantastic designs. From the authentic, handmade papier-mache versions to cheap imports, they are delightful and fanciful.
A little known fact is that, for centuries, they were not only used in carnevale but in everyday Venetian life for more than six months in the year.
At Ca’Macana, one of the oldest mask workshops in Venice, you can attend a one-hour workshop and make your very own Venetian mask to bring home. Located in the Dorsodouro sestiere, a charming neighborhood not far from the Accademia, here you will use the same techniques that have been used for over 800 years.
From the moment you step inside, you are greeted by an utterly splendid array of masks– and no two are alike! Who can resist the temptation to try a few on?
Introduced to your instructor and putting on aprons, you get to pick out the papier-mache mask that you want to decorate. Feeling mysterious? Seductive? Elegant? Coquettish? Cunning? Playful? Catty?
After deciding on your color scheme and a demonstration of the basic application techniques, your paints are squeezed onto a “palette”. Grabbing a brush, it’s time to set get to work (or play!).
The first layer is dried with a hair dryer. Now you are ready to paint details. There’s lots of inspiration around you! Embellishing with decorative designs by dabbing colors or metallic silver or gold into swirls, curlicues, and broad swashes, adds personality and character.
After a coating of shellac and more hair dryer action, you’re ready to add the finishing touches. Choose from fun bling such as feathers and rhinestones and, of course, ribbons.
Carefully wrapped, your mask is ready to take home and celebrate carnevale.
I’m guessing that this will be your favorite souvenir from Venice? It is certainly mine.
For more info visit Ca’Macana