Come to the Masquerade
Last Saturday I decided to go to the masquerade, or at least the ‘Masked Ball’. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museums 3rd Masked Ball took place in their studio one the 1st floor. This space they filled especially with craft supplies, world music, Adie Blundell and most importantly a well stocked bar.
The bulk of the evening is taken up with creating your mask. This creative process is the real focus of the event, although the ‘ball’ aspect certainly came into play after a few trips to the bar. There were several artist and creatives on hand to help out those less used to this kind of activity, most notably Adie Blundell whose exhibition His Dark Materials was the inspiration for the first of these events. After your mask is made you are welcomed to the dance floor with your fellow bemasked revellers and dance the rest of the evening away. The evening finished at 11, although I’m sure many of the guests would have been happy to dance on.
There is a lot of good things to say about an event like this. Not only is it a great opportunity to meet and socialise with a wide range of creative and friendly people, but can also be just a fun night out with friends. I took three people with me. My partner was dragged rather forcibly, as this was not the kind of evening he would normally choose. However, he started to change his mind when he sighted the beers on offer and was a complete convert in no time. The beer was left to warm while he focused on his creation. By 10 he had donned his mask for all to see (see picture). Everyone in my party was bursting with happy comments at the end as well as proudly clutching their masks and even a hat (which alas got lost).
Ultimately I think this event was well worth the £7.50 price tag. One of the nicest parts was the total lack of judgement. Everyone showed their completed masks off with pride and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over their companions creations, irrespective of skill or technique. The space feels fully creative. Its very welcoming, for both newbies and old hands alike, without ever becoming patronising or pretentious.
We’ve all already committed to attending the next one on 28th June; the Celestial Commissato, a masked ball with a Roman theme. This bacchanalia is taking place in The Herbert’s Covered Court, so it seems they’re aiming to make the experience even bigger and better. I’ll dig my toga out and see you there.