Friday, 19 April 2013

The Italian Experience - Masks

Since Marco Polo's father and uncle stayed in Venice for four years after their first trip to the East before they set off again, we thought we would spend a little bit longer in Italy to learn more about the country, as well as to better prepare ourselves to embark on the epic journey.


We learned about a specific type of theatre in Italy called commedia dell'arte.

It is very similar to the English Punch and Judy puppet show where there is a standard set of characters.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Punch and Judy evolved from commedia dell'arte.

After watching National Theatre's introduction above, we decided to watch an actual Italian version that introduces each character and the relevant theatrical masks each wears:

I bought two pre-made masks from a craft shop and asked Tiger to choose one mask to be decorated as a theatrical mask, the other was to be a Venetian carnival mask.  For ideas and inspirations on how to decorate the carnival mask, Tiger googled "Venetian carnival mask" and looked through the search results.

Once he was happy with his research, he started to paint each mask with an undercoat:

The undercoat took a day to fully dry.  Next, I laid out all the materials I could find for Tiger to start decorating his masks: sequins, ribbons, craft precious stones, feathers, yarn, crepe paper, craft aluminium foil....etc.

Then off he went.

Theatrical Mask

Carnival Mask

This post is linked up to:
1) History and Geography Meme #70
2) Virtual Refrigerator
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: April 19, 2013
4) Collage Friday - Delight Directed Learning and a Super Morning Routine
5) Homeschool Review
6) Hobbies and Handicrafts - April 19
7) April Culture Swapper
8) Look What We Did!
9) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One After the 2:1 Conference
10) Creative Kids Culture Hop #3
11) Hip Homeschool Hop - 4/23/13

It is also featured in Homeschool Review and


  1. Oh, I love how those turned out! With a degree in theatre, I found this post of particular interest!

  2. You're the first person I know to have a degree in theatre. Very cool, Phyllis! Tiger is fascinated by many aspects of theatre work too.

  3. I particularly like the carnival mask. It would be perfect for a masked ball!

  4. What a fun activity as you study Italy. Thanks for sharing.

    Kerry Beck

  5. I love it! I'm so happy that you link up each week, Hwee.... I learn a lot from you!

  6. lovely to link the theater with craft ideas.

  7. I love your mask, we started making ours while studying Brazil. I will have to show my kiddos yours for some inspiration!

  8. Great idea to have him make his own mask!

  9. That looks like a fun hands on project.

  10. Thank you for all your kind comments, ladies! There is so much scope when it comes to decorating masks, and a lot for fun too!

  11. I love Tiger's masks! What a fabulous hands-on activity. The carnival mask reminds me of the Classical Kids CD "Vivaldi's Ring Of Mystery", the story of which is set in the Venice Carnival (albeit somewhat later in history!)

  12. We have that CD but I didn't make the connection. Thank you for the tip, Lucinda! I might just squeeze that in. :-) We're in a bit of a hotchpotch at the moment so it's just about Italy in general and not limited to the Middle Ages.

  13. Have you heard of the book - Lion of St. Marks? It's a story of Venice during the 14th century. We haven't studied this time period yet, but have the book for when we do. Since I haven't read it I don't know if I would recommend it or not, but I think it was on a book list for Ambleside Online or one of the other literature based homeschool curriculums.

  14. I've not heard of the book, Julie, but will look into it. It sounds very relevant to what we're studying. Thank you very much for telling me about it. :-)

  15. Such creativity. I am following you at Look What We Did.
    Thanks for a fun post.
    Janis author of Tadeo Turtle

  16. Thank you for your very kind comment, Janis!

  17. How fun!
    Theatre... Mardis Gras. He is set for mask-making and you have inspired me.
    I think I'll use this in my art classes next year.

  18. I'm glad you are inspired to use this idea with your art class, Emily. Thank you for stopping by!

  19. Hi from HHH!
    Oh how I love that photo of all of the supplies! What possibilities. Their masks are beautiful.

  20. Hwee...this is great. Thanks for linking to Look What We Did. I have featured you today at the Homeschool Review.

  21. Amazing masks! I am especially impressed with his patience in doing all of the steps! Thanks for linking up at the Culture Swapper!

  22. The masks are beautiful! I'm pinning this so I can do it this with my son. Thank you so much for linking at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #3.

  23. Thank you for stopping by, Ikgmita and Frances. I hope you'll have a fun time doing this activity with your own children too. :-)

  24. Thank you for linking up to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! I love how you reinforced your study by making masks - they turned out beautifully!

  25. OOO! I like the idea of the mask painting. It would be a lovely way to introduce my kids an aspect of their Italian heritage :0)

  26. Congrats! You have been featured in the CKC Blog Hop!


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