I will be posting the progress of two masks, as requested by a client. The two masks I am making are the Summer Bird Mask, and the Wind Spirit Mask (the Wind Spirit Mask will be in the colors of the Starling Mask).
Here is the Summer Bird mask, at the stage where I cut in the lines with a swivel knife. Despite its name, the swivel knife is not a true knife, but rather a very sharp 'chisel' that digs a smooth line into wet leather.
Once the lines are in, I use beveling tools. The whole procedure up to this point is called "tooling," in which leather tools are used to shape the surface of the leather dimensionally. This is what gives feathers and leaves their depth. When working with leather, you can go to either extreme with tooling. I try to keep my tooling medium, as the painting stage also gives the illusion of depth.
Once I'm done with tooling, I cut out the edges, eyes, and in this case, the hole where the stone will be. In this photo, the mask is also partially shaped, and ready to go in the oven for final shaping and drying:
Shaping the mask is tricky, and I usually open the oven about 4 to 5 times to remove the mask and reshape it, as it can 'sag' as it dries. Here is the shaped mask, ready for dyeing, and then painting: