So, I was making little porcelain maple leafs, right? Well, I started with new-growth maple branches/leaves, twist ties, cutters, and plastic twine:
I've never done something like this before, but I've always had good spacial skills (perhaps it off-sets the dyslexia?) I can imagine something three-dimensional, and disassemble/reassemble it in my head even before I start working.
I created three different ones, just in case I broke/ruined one (or two, knowing me), so I wanted to make sure I had a spare.
To make these involved a lot of trial and error. Quickly, I realized I could only work for an hour or so, leave the twist ties on, and let it dry overnight, or over a couple nights before I could weave more twigs/branches into these. You'll also notice I removed all the leaves from the branches. That was the first learning phase. Trying to weave the branches with the leaves on quickly shredded the leaves and left clumps of them caught between, which was ugly and made it harder to work.
When the branches were relatively dried enough that I could remove some of the twist ties, step two looked like this:
This bending process took another couple of days, but by that, I still mean I worked on them for only about an hour or so, then had to leave them to dry. So it wasn't as time-consuming as it may seem. I worked on them in the evenings, usually after I'd been doing convention stuff all day.
I never actually took pictures during stage three... mostly 'cause the convention had already started, and I was literally coming back and working on them around 8pm at night after being up @ 5am and running around like crazy all day.
Step three involved resin. You basically have these two bottle and you mix equal parts into a plastic cup, then whip/mix it for a couple of minutes until it starts getting warm and sticky.
Then I used a paintbrush to coat the entire thing. Since there were still twist ties on many parts of the masks holding them together, I coated them over two days/evenings and let them dry in between. I then added real maple leaves and coated them in resin.
Stage four, I added the porcelain leaves and copper wire as accents. I did this... literally Friday night (the day before the dinner) at around 11pm, and I was so exhausted that I finished one, threw some porcelain leaves randomly on the second mask, and abandoned the third (which is why I never finished it).
Here's what the first one looked like:
This is the mask I wore to the gala banquet dinner on Saturday (the final official day of the convention).
The second mask I finished (but didn't wear) ended up like this:
Since this was the second one I made, the weaving is a lot more complex than the first one, so here are some zoomed-in pictures where you can see the details better.
In the end, I feel my first attempt at making a mask out of trees/leaves was successful. I certainly learned a lot while I was working. If I'd had more time, and if my poor arm/shoulder had allowed for it, I would have liked to paint scenes (or something) on the porcelain leaves.
In the end, the masks were meant to be ephemeral. Out of curiosity, I'm going to leave them on a shelf and see what happens to them... if they start to crack, or grow mould inside the resin (since I was sealing up a live leaf that is full of moisture). When they are at the state to be thrown away, I am going to remove the porcelain leaves and will most likely use them in a project in the future.