By Bebe Leone
Charlotte Tiley embodies all things beautiful of being British: the sense of adventure, the eccentricity, a peculiar way of socialising that involves disguise, magic encounters in the woods and a lot of creativity. I know her since we were teens and she has always been unique: she has an incredibly positive energy and a great ability in using her art to turn poor material into something beautiful and regal. Based in London, she started to create masks back in 2007 , as a favour to a friend. Initially to be used within the circuit of many famous British festivals, her masks gained appreciation and little by little she turned her passion into a mask making business, aimed at reviving the mask culture into today society, bringing the art of masquerade out of the festivals, straight into our daily lives. Founder and creative director of the Head of House designs and the Masketeers, a mask making workshop, Charlotte is both an artist and an educator: during her workshops she teaches how to regain the use of our hands and the lost contact with our playful selves. The process of mask making implies feelings almost forgotten in modern society: the pride of making something with our bare hands, the pleasure of becoming someone or something else, when wearing a mask. As she told the Huffington Post “the mask takes form and then the maker cannot help but reveal a part of themselves through the design, build and decoration.. what they have really made is a fraction of themselves that is rarely shown to the world..Then they put the mask on and it can immediately transport them to that hidden part..”. Fascinating.
Charlotte’ s Timeless Interview
H: Do you belong more to the past, the present or the future?
C: I’ve always been told I look like someone from the past and the work I am doing is hugely influenced by the history of identity but my workshops are all about linking all three. They have had an effect on me, after sharing so many creative experiences with others, I’m feeling very much in the present.
H: What of your country’s heritage represents you the most?
C: I’d say the socialising: Long walks on crisp, cold, sunny days in the English Countryside with dear friends, decadent dinner parties and summers of creative musical festivals.
H: Something of your family’s heritage which you would like to bring forward?
C: A sense of adventure, honesty and eccentricity
H: An heritage image?
C: My father playing his banjo with a knotted handkerchief on his head and a concentration face
H: A place?
C: The Moorland and Mountains – timeless
H: A word?
H: A Sound?
C: A Wolf’s howl or a crack of a whip
H: An icon?
C: Vivienne Westwood and Alison Hargreaves
H: An object belonging to your own heritage?
C: Medieval Knights Armour, beautiful combination of chain mail and ancient fabrics, designed to both protect and intimidate the opposition.
H: A time in history you would like to live again?
H: Timeless inspiration for your new collection?
C: The Blood Moon
H: Something heritage you would like to wear?
C: Some viking jewelry
H: Something from your present meant to become heritage?
C: My artworks and I’d like to inspire a new era and understanding of the mask.
All photos courtesy of Charlotte Tiley