Making faces with Karl Schwartz and Tryon Arts and Crafts School

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, January 18, 2023

TRYON–January 30 through February 5, the Tryon Arts and Crafts School is hosting a class in Beginning Mask Making taught by Karl Schwartz of Landrum. 

Karl has become a fixture at the school since moving to the area from Florida eight years ago, consistently volunteering and working at some of the warm-weather events. He’s also become a regular at the Wood Carvers, Whittlers, and Wood Crafters Festival held in Columbus each year. 

While he’s taught various wood carving classes, giving instruction on how to create everything from wooden tableware to more decorative pieces, his true passion is making wooden masks. 

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“Throughout history, different cultures have worn masks for reasons such as war and ceremony,” Schwartz said earlier this week. “To me, masks are physical manifestations of things that don’t necessarily have forms, such as the wind, the forest and the sun. When a student takes the class, I encourage them to pick something they want to see represented in form, and they often pick something personally meaningful to them.”

The course is designed for beginners who want to express themselves through free-form sculpting. In the five-day workshop, students in Karl’s class will learn the characteristics of wood and receive an overview of the techniques for sculpting. Human facial proportions and carving techniques will also be discussed. By the end of the course, students will undoubtedly have improved their woodworking skills and will have created a wooden mask of their design.  

“TACS has fantastic tools and is wonderfully equipped,” Karl continues. “They have equipment most folks like me don’t have access to at home. It’s an excellent place for continuing art education for kids and adults.” 

Schwartz, the son of a carpenter, was inspired on a visit to the Pacific Northwest to begin making masks, and now he hopes to bring that same inspiration to his students.  

“I’m starting to think if you weren’t an artist when you moved to Tryon, you’d become one now that you’re here, ” Karl says. 

To sign up for Beginning Mask Making or another class at the Tryon Arts School, visit their website, tryonartsandcrafts.org.

‘Mask of the Wind’ by Karl Schwartz features four faces blowing in four directions. Schwartz will be teaching Beginning Mask Making at Tryon Arts and Craft School starting Jan. 30.