(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)
If you were anywhere near the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane Saturday night, you might have noticed men and women in evening wear, wearing elaborate masks as they hurried into the beautiful Art Deco building. It was the Spokane Symphony's first Masquerade Ball and I was there with the rest of the partygoers. It was fun to see the men and women in costume and it was amazing the difference the masks made. Even old friends didn't immediately recognize one another.
Like everyone else I had wanted my mask to stand out, to say something about its wearer. So, after thinking about it for a few days, I went to an unexpect source.
Becky Ellis and Holly Baublitz, of Spokane's All That Glitter, are now located in Pink, the vintage and salvage mecca located just a few blocks from the Fox Theater. Becky's elaborate creations--crowns, wreaths and other exquisite displays crafted of ephemera and found objects--are beautiful one-of-a-kind collages. I've long admired her work and it occurred to me she was the perfect person to make a custom, vintage inspired, mask for the ball.
I stopped into Pink one afternoon and talked to Holly. She asked a few questions about whether I wanted a mask to wear all night or one on a stick that could be worn or carried. I chose the former. I reminded her that I'm not a particularly "blingy" woman, prefering my pearls to over-the-top sparkles. After that, I left everything else to Becky and just waited for the call.
When Holly opened the pink (naturally) box and showed me the mask, I was thrilled. The sepia tones of old Spokesman-Review newspaper pages, clipped and decopaged onto the mask form, accented by ostrich feathers and vintage faux pearls and rhinestones, glowed. A dusting of German glass glitter finished the effect. Just enough sparkle for a ball, but not too much. Rather than an elastic band, Becky had crafted a clever headband to hold it on comfortably.
It was perfect.
On Saturday night I slipped on the mask and joined the party. After the ball, it became a unique piece of handmade art for my home office. Now, every time it catches my eye I smile, celebrating the creative talent of a local artist. And I remember a wonderful night spent benefitting a great cause.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. In addition to her Home Planet , Treasure Hunting and CAMera: Travel and Photo blogs, her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org