In the run up to the general election, our suffragettes with animal faces are campaigning for animal rights, and asking our customers to consider their vote with animals in mind. We met up with the man behind our amazing animal masks, to find out how they’re made.
Steve Wintercroft and his wife Marianne design and supply animal masks made from recycled materials. They’ve collaborated with Lush on our Votes for Animals campaign, and have designed the full-face masks that you can see on display in your local branch of Lush — as well as the half-face masks that are being worn by our staff. We asked Steve to tell us more about their work…
Q: How did the collaboration with Lush on the Votes for Animals campaign come about?
A: I have always strived to run my business in an ethical and socially responsible way, and greatly admire the way that Lush conducts its own business. When we were contacted by Lush about collaborating on the Votes for Animals campaign we were excited and grateful of the opportunity.
Q: How long does it take you to design and create a mask?
A: Each new mask usually takes around three or four weeks to develop. After choosing a subject or theme I start by collecting images and using these for reference. Next, I build a complex 3D digital model. In order for the model to work as a mask I modify the animal’s features to make them more anthropomorphic. I’ll then strip down these complex forms into simple structures. After that it’s a long process of building paper models, testing, revising and remodelling.
Q: What are the masks made from?
A: Most of the masks that I build are made from reclaimed card. I enjoy the process of taking a waste two-dimensional material and, with cuts and folds, turning it into a three-dimensional mask or model.
Q: For the Lush campaign, you’ve designed four full-face masks: a fox, a badger, a pig and a rabbit, to represent fox hunting, badger culling, factory farming and vivisection. What sparks your creativity when thinking up designs for new masks?
A: A lot of the masks designs are suggested by our customers, others are just things that we would like for ourselves, and some have been designed for specific events, performances or photo shoots.
Q: To what extent does environmental impact influence your designs?
A: As populations increase so does the demand for resources. As a civilisation, our consumption of disposable, mass-produced goods and packaging is both obscene and unsustainable. We use plastics that may last hundreds of years to make things that we may only need for a few hours.
With this in mind, I create animals that are transient and made from materials that are either reclaimed or are recyclable. When they are no longer needed they can be taken apart and thrown in the recycling bin.
Q: Once designed, your masks are available for everyone to personalise and enjoy. What are some of the interesting things you’ve seen them used for?
A: My intention from the outset was to provide the tools needed for other people to create things, and the end results are always unique and very personal. A mask that you have built with your kids is more valuable than anything that you could buy from a shop, and I have been lucky enough to see this in the photos and comments that people have shared with us. We get photos sent to us from all over the world, and some of our favourites are the ones of masks built by families. I am so grateful for the way that people have responded to my work.
Our masks have also been used for all sorts of events, parties and photo shoots. They have appeared in music video of artists including Conchita Wurst and Haring, and on stage with Basement Jaxx. We love to collaborate with artists like Shannon Faber and Kyla from KFearless photography. Recently I even had the opportunity to design a mask for an opera to be performed by the Austrian state theatre.
Show your support for the Votes for Animals campaign by visiting your local store and taking a photograph of yourself wearing an animal mask, a sash and a rosette, and sharing it online with the hashtag: #VotesForAnimals
Visit wintercroft.com to buy templates to make your own mask.