Marilisa Dal Cason, Mask Artisan
Always curious about Venetian masks and traditional mask-making, Marilisa had the chance to learn from a great master when she was just a teen. Soon enough, Marilisa decided to open her own workshop to pour all her energy and creativity in the making of her exceptionally colorful and creative masks.
Marilisa creates most of her handcrafted masks by respecting in every single step the traditional Venetian mask making techniques. From the creation of the mold to the making of the papier-mache, the cutting, the coloring, the enameling and the decorations, every step is performed with great attention and passion. Marilisa enjoys also experimenting and creating new shapes and masks with the use of modern materials that she plays with and personalizes in-depth, creating unique and colorful designs.
The spark at the base of Marilisa’s creative fire is the feedback from her customers and the pleasure and fun itself of the making, crafting, and coloring of her unique masks. If mass produced souvenirs lower the price and standardize the production, Marilisa reacts by experimenting and creating new and unique pieces by obeying her momentary mood and inspiration.
If people don’t show appreciation I feel down… but it takes just a minute for me to be smiling again!
I’m Marilisa Dal Cason, I’m in Venice since 30 years and this is my beautiful work: I create papier-mache masks following the traditional technique
Well, it has definitely been a coincidence: the brother of my sister’s boyfriend produced masks here in Venice and I started by learning from him and working at his workshop and he has been my great master: Dall’Osto Gualtiero at his shop the “Tragicomica”
I make use of papier-mache, which is the ancient Venetian technique, which was the cheapest technique and the easiest to use because it could be repaired therefore affordable for all those people who had to make great use of it as in the past they were using them for many months per year. It was not used only during Carnival, but rather on a daily basis during that era.
I have so many, I couldn’t really count them, right now they are not even all on display. There are some very big works, which currently are difficult to sell, so I keep the space for smaller masks I’m unable to quantify them
Lately, I’m adapting by using resin in order to try and compete, a bit, with the products that are everywhere in Venice, which are extremely cheap. I use resin, that I paint myself offering, therefore, a unique product. I start from the initial product, and then change it completely, drastically twisting its aspect. I break and cut down all the masks and create instead completely new ones.
Yes, I saw it change. I saw Venice being devalued, I saw Venice becoming a port… Actually, a trash can rather than a seaport. A trash can for a tourism of no quality anymore, a low-quality tourism that maybe is a consequence of the economic crisis but still a mass tourism that does no good to the city, because Venice is not meant for these hordes of people.
My works needs stimulation, stimulation coming from the people, the appreciation of the customers and when you feel that it’s a real struggle to make people understand that the cost of a mask is due to all the work that has to be done before, there my enthusiasm sometimes decreases but it takes very little for it to start again!
The people who buy from me, know that it is handmade so, no matter what it is, even in the case of resin, they know that it is handmade and that it is a unique piece.
My invite? Come and see… If you have any idea, come here and I will help you to elaborate them: just come!
My smile and my hospitality will with no doubt speak to you about my work.
I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?
The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself. Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.
Video Interviews of Venetians
More about life in Venice, Italy
Shop Made in Venice