Mine Centre students unmask their creativity

If you walked through the halls of Mine Centre School last week, you might have seen a bear roaming the halls or an eagle circling around some of the classrooms.
You might even have seen a moose coming out of the boys’ washroom if you waited long enough.
About 70 students from grades three to eight took part in a mask-making workshop, led by Becky Crowhurst, last Thursday and Friday.
Crowhurst, an artist who had just moved to Thunder Bay, used to make masks for theme parties along the Toronto waterfront. She was given a chance to share her craft with the Mine Centre students through her acquaintance with teacher Lynn McCormick.
“I saw her masks and knew the kids would be right into making them,” McCormick said. “These kids are very creative.”
“They really got into it,” echoed Crowhurst. “They did very well. It’s been lots of fun.”
Each student started out with a basic mask face, Crowhurst said. From there, they took one of the 200 patterns she had designed, ranging from antlers to bear jaws, and added them on.
“It’s just a matter of folding your paper in two-dimensional forms and build from there,” Crowhurst said, noting the masks were all symmetrical.
“We place the beak [or jaw] and then we start adding on accessories,” she added. “That’s why it’s a great project for kids of all ages.”
Brenda Hyatt, who teaches a five/six class at Mine Centre, was quite pleased with how the workshop went.
“It lets the creative juices flow,” she said. “It’s lots of fun–very interactive.”
The mask craft also went over well with Hyatt’s students.
“It was fun making them,” enthused Evelyn Johnson. “I just thought it was going to be old paper masks.”
“I thought it was going to be boring at first but it ended up being fun,” echoed classmate Ashley Potson.
As for Crowhurst, she plans to develop more art courses like the mask workshop this summer, as well as some landscape painting. She hopes to be able to do several school workshops across the north over the next year.
“That’s why I’m developing these kinds of courses,” she said.