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Mask Maker Gets Brea Folks Plastered for Art's Sake

June 01, 1986|Herbert J. Vida

One Brea resident saved the trimmings from his scraggly red beard and overgrown head of hair to make his plaster face mask look like a werewolf. Another attached a ceramic butterfly to her cheek.

And a basketball coach dropped in miniature basketballs where his eyes should be. Another cut up a pair of old socks to make a beard for himself. But none of these innovations startled Delaina Hofacre, a former elementary school art teacher who has plastered the faces of more than 300 local folks who paid $5 for the privilege.

The masks, painted and finished by the people themselves at giant mask finishing parties, will line a wall in the City of Brea Art Gallery starting June 13. The first masks, those of city dignitaries, were shown at a recent Mayor's Cultural Arts Ball.

It was Brea Mayor Clarice A. Blamer who promoted the artistic venture of capturing the look of Breans through plaster masks, an idea she borrowed from two cities in Vermont.

She called on Brea Art Commissioner Hofacre to implement the project.

Hofacre said besides finishing their own plaster faces, which take only about 15 minutes to set, "We also ask the mask models to write down why they chose to decorate their faces the way they did." She also urges those people to join other volunteers to coach the next group to finish the faces in whatever motif they choose.

"The concept behind the face-mask project is to present a good representation of the different types of people who live in this community," said Hofacre. For the most part, she added, residents try to make the masks look like themselves.

Included in the lineup of people who have had their faces plastered are high school athletes, Little League ball and soccer players, businessmen and housewives.

"There's a high level of community participation in Brea," she said, "because there's so much for everyone to participate in here."

And that diversification, she said, shows up in the way people decorate their masks. "Some are so authentic, they place eyeglasses on their plaster masks."

She noted, however, that some have decorated the masks to show their life styles, such as one who mounted his mask on a racing form and another who placed a series of playing cards on a visor attached to her mask.

"She said she would rather be playing cards than anything else," Hofacre said.

The odds have to favor the Brainard children to win at least one prize at the Orange County Fair, considering all nine of them have an entry including 3-year-old Deborah Ann who will show a floral display.

"All of our children just wanted the chance to show what they can do and to express themselves," said their mother, Judy Brainard, 39, of Anaheim. Neither she nor her husband, Dean, 42, have entered.

Besides the youngest child, the other Brainards and their categories are Nathan, 4, color photos; Aaron, 5, black-and-white photos; Melissa, 7, handcrafts; Matthew, 8, mineral specimens; Heather, 10, needlework; David, 12, hand carving; Angel, 15, stuffed animals, and Monica, 17, floral arrangements.

"We've always liked county fairs," their mother said, who noted "everyone roots for each other to do their best."

There's no language difficulty for Shaohua Tang of China, who's here as an American Field Service Intercultural guest of Sharon and Ronald Ferris of Fullerton. There is, however, a problem with the food.

"Tang doesn't have language difficulty here because he teaches English to people in his own country," said Ronald Ferris, "but he does have an eating problem. He puts tons of Tabasco sauce on everything we serve him because he feels our food isn't seasoned enough."

So what's the Ferris' solution?

"We feed him a lot of frozen Chung King Chinese dinners," he said.

Teacher Jean Blankenship of Fountain Valley, has an interesting title for a book she's writing. It's called "Women With Folded Flags." It deals with widows, mothers, daughters, sisters and sweethearts of men who died in Vietnam.

One problem. "Those women are difficult to locate," she said, noting that government agencies do not keep records of survivors.

"I would like to hear from women who never saw Vietnam but whose lives were changed forever by what happened there," Blankenship said. She can be reached at 10221 Slater Ave., Suite 103, Fountain Valley, Calif., 92626.

Acknowledgments--Eriks Sasha Paegle, 14, of Dana Point, who renovated the outdoor chapel at Dana Point's Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, used that project to help him became the first Eagle Scout in the 16-year history of Boy Scout Troop 702.

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