susan wolf projects

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Wolf Moss Mask

Self Portrait #1. Wolf Wearing Wolf Moss Mask

Wolf Moss Mask: altered digital print, hand colored. Mask Dimensions 23″ x 37″

One of my favorite colors is a chartreuse green. In the Sierras there is a moss (actually a lichen) growing that is a perfectly delightful color of rancid green. When researching its identity I discovered an illustration of Wolf Moss (Everina Vulpina) attributed to Frederick A. Walpole. I have scanned his illustration and altered the file in scale and detail to inform the structure of my mask.

After printing I then pierced the perimeter and hand colored the print. A brace and head wrap enables it to be worn as a mask. I have taken a series of self portraits, in various locations making use of the 10 sec. timer feature my camera provides. It is a solitary pursuit. It is a mask lacking portals for eyes thus limiting my unguided mobility. It is a way that I am comfortable being private while being public.

I have previously studied with Native American basket makers working with natural materials. Researching their materials and techniques was what first brought me to this illustration which I have since appropriated for this project. Wolf Moss was used by the Klamath, Hupa and other tribes of Northern California to produce a bright yellow dye. Continuing this project I hope to use some collected wolf moss to dye an outfit than I can wear while adding locations to my mask wearing archive. Locations I am interested in traveling to are ones that have a link to the heritage of place and use.