I've changed the name from Christmas to Yule
This mask was made during my second year at Sigtuna Folk High School. It took me 5 weeks of hard work.
The idea for this emerged in early November (2011). You know, around that time when you see gnomes and Santa Clauses absolutely everywhere
. Sick and tired of those commercial Christmas icons, I started to ponder if anyone still remembered the times when Christmas wasn't all about money and material happiness.
I've always wanted to make a mask out of papier-mâché, and now I finally found a reason to make one.
The base of the mask is made with plaster strips which is formed like a neatly fitting helmet around my head; covering my nose and cheekbones. After that rather clumsy endeavor with the plaster, I formed the muzzle, horns, and ears with steel net. And on top of that a thick layer of papier-mâché (newspaper strips and glue) stuffed with various pieces of tissue paper and cardboard. I spent at least 2 weeks on that alone.
Once the structure was complete, I painted a layer of plaster mixed with wood glue all over to get a sturdy and water-resistant surface. The horns, face, and eyes was painted with acrylic paint. The eyes got a few layers of glossy transparent nail polish to make them more life-like. The hair is synthetic, except for the beard which is made of wool.
To make it more comfortable to wear this mask without having all the weight resting on my face, I attached two elastic ribbons to the back of the mask and a belt around my waist.
But the purpose of this mask wasn't to be placed in a gallery. I dressed myself up and performed in public!
Watch my performance! I'm sorry that 99% of the video is in Swedish.
The History of the Yule GoatBefore Santa Claus existed in Scandinavia, the Yule goat handed out
the gifts. The history about the Yule goat is old and is believed
to have its oldest roots in pre-Christian times. The goat made of straw
that adorn our homes around Christmas has its heritage in old Swedish
folk belief. The young woman or man whom harvested, tied together or
brought home the last sheaf of the year from the fields earned a place
of honour next to the master of the homestead by the Christmas dining
table. The last sheaf was believed to bring in the Spirit of Harvest and
its felicific powers, so according to tradition the sheaf was formed
into the shape of a human figure or a goat, which was called
"Stådaren" (no proper translation available, sorry). This
figure was handled with homage and respect to bring a good harvest
The straw goat has its strongest heritage in Dalsland and
Värmland (provinces in Sweden), where people put the goat on,
next to or underneath the dining table.
<--- In case you want to know more about this goat.