mother and son mask project

Dear Ones,

Welcome to the Wednesday blog, MUSE ECHO where I write about my creative process past and present. Today's blog is about a present work in progress which began in December of 2015. I call it the "Mother and Son Mask Project".

Here's how it works: For 12 consecutive months, I commission my son, Ivan Potter-Smith to design a 2D mask which depicts the gist of that month as he experiences it. Mid month he sends me his mask design and then I compose music which depicts my experience of the month's gist and his mask's expression.  

For the musical composition, I compose a work which is comprised of two melodic lines, one in treble clef and one in bass clef. It can be performed on a keyboard with two hands or with two C melodic instruments. Although I am imagining oboe and bassoon duets, I'm making sure that they are suitable for other C melodic instrumentssuch as flute, violin,  on treble, and for the bass clef, cello, or if you drop the octave, double bass. 

Since we started in December,  we now have created book ends of a year, December and January masks. Both are different and related visually and musically.

Curious to see what my son creates for February!!!

This project, so far, is even more interesting and juicy than I thought it would be. My son and I are having a ball sharing our impressions of the months and relating our creative process to one another.  It's a wonderful way to stay in touch now that he is grown, graduated and making his way in the professional world as a visual artist.

I welcome how his artistry is influencing my approach to composing. My December and January masks compositions are more structured, geometric and tonal. December is in Eb Dorian, 4/4. January is in E Dorian with some D#s and one C natural - also in 4/4.

My intention with the project is to delight in a creative endeavor with my son. To nurture, and stretch both of our creativity in a way that is fun for both of us. Once we're done with all 12 masks, we will make them commercially available sometime in 2017. A tentative premiere is scheduled for around April of 2017 for flute and bassoon with the masks being projected, so perhaps I'll wait until the premiere to launch selling. 

Stay tuned...

In 5 years, we'll revisit this idea and see whether or not we want to do another mask project, or something similar.... I think doing this or something similar every 5 years would be fascinating book marks and perspective points in our artistic and personal expression with the year. However, life's rivers turn and flow, so we'll have to wait and find out what we each feel is the best use of our time. Meanwhile, this year, we make masks!

to be continued.............

Thanks for your interest.
Kathryn Potter