For Christmas my brothers and I made our mother a “Venetian present”: a mask decorating workshop in Venice. I found two bottege (ateliers) in Venice that looked promising to me and went there to have a look at the masks and to have some more info on the workshops.
The first one I visited was Ca’ Macana in Dorsoduro, near Campo Santa Margherita, very known for their masks used by Stanley Kubrick.
Ca’ Macana offers two different kinds of courses: one for about 70/80€ (not private, twice a day, one hour, one mask, Italian only) and another more expensive one (sorry guys, I don’t remember the price, but I think it was about €200 for a private, two hours workshop, in Italian/English/French with two masks). As it seems that you only work with paint (no note sheets, leave gold or other techniques), I think it’s a perfect workshop for kids.
The other bottega that I found on the internet was Ca’ del Sol, near Saint Mark’s Place. I already loved the shop itself when I first entered it: it’s full of masks! (Yeah yeah I know, sure it’s full of masks. :p But this shop looks different than the other usual mask shops in Venice. The masks are hanging on the walls, down from the ceiling, are lying on the tables and there is every kind of shape, design and color you can imagine. With flowers, feathers, glitter, music sheets, leave gold, etc etc. The owner is not only working in the shop, but also designing the masks himself. A real artist!
Well, I guess you already know which bottega I chose in the end. Yesss, sir/mam. Ca’ del Sol.
How it’s working
Well, you just have a look at all the masks in the shop and choose the one that you want to copy. (It shouldn’t be too big as you have to finish it in three hours.) If you find one whose shape pleases you, but not the color or design, you just choose another one with the colors and the design you like , take both masks and follow the artist in the atelier just on the other side of the calle and canale. And there you go! Three hours of full-immersion in mask painting and decoration. (Also in English with one of the assistants, just tell them first.) My mother did the workshop today and really enjoyed it!
Curious about what her mask looks like? Well, here’s a photo (© my mother):
Beautiful, don’t you agree? She decorated it with leave silver, acrylic paint and a sheet of music. To finish it she applied a nice antique effect. In case you also want to make your personal mask shape, the owner/artist offers also a 5-days-workshop to make your own one (with papier mâché) before painting and decorating it. If I remember right a kind of workshop like that costs about 800/900€ (VAT excluded) per person (the more you are, the lower the price).
I think doing a workshop like that is a unique experience as the mask you bring home will have a unique design and personal touch. Moreover you see how much work there is behind a mask. (Actually it took my mother more than 4 hours to finish it. No extra charges for the overtime: thumbs up!) The cost for the (private! 3 hours) workshop was about 150€.
Tel. (+39) 041 5229749
Dorsoduro 3172 Tel. (+39) 041 2776142 Fax. (+39) 041 5203229 Email: email@example.com
Maskmaking and courses
Dorsoduro 3215 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ca’ del Sol
Castello, 4964 (Fondamenta Osmarin)
Tel. (+39) 041 5285549