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Evander granny’s exquisite masks will take you beyond imagination

According to Ms Jansen, each of her handmade masks represent a personality trait - some are adventurous and bold, while others are more sultry or mischievous. She has recently even made a bird mask.

EVANDER – Every mask is unique and has its own mystery embedded in every tiny and well-thought through detail.

Ms Elsie Jansen (55) is a local mask maker who is only satisfied with a creation when it moves her.

“If I am not touched or inspired by the mask, I will place it aside for later. I want to somehow feel a connection with the mask before I can complete it,” she explained.

Ms Jansen has always been fascinated by the Victorian age masquerades and the magical Madi Gras where masks create a sense of mystery and imagination.

“Anyone, from children to grown-ups, feel different with a mask – we can live out fantasies and give our imagination free reins. That is why I have named my brand Beyond Imagination.”

Ms Jansen has always been creative and loved to make items as gifts for family and friends, but since the mask making began, she spends most of her free time on these.

“I like the idea that I can produce something beautiful for someone else to make them feel special.”

She dabbles mostly with the Colombina type masks that is actually a half-mask often heavily decorated, colourful, and only covers the wearer’s eyes, cheeks, and sometimes nose.

Ms Jansen first lines the mask’s inner with soft material for a more comfortable fit and then uses a variety decorations such as beads, flowers, diamanté, lace and extravagant feathers.

This is an elegant creation from Ms Jansen’s collection.

“I saw a gap in the local market for masks to be used at corporate functions, birthday parties, weddings and any other occasion you can think of.”

She believes her wedding masks will become quite popular as it offers a unique alternative to the traditional veil wedding attire.

“I can make masks for both the bride and bridegroom, as well as their entourage,” she said.

According to Ms Jansen, each of her handmade masks represent a personality trait – some are adventurous and bold, while others are more sultry or mischievous.

She has even made a white snow owl mask.

Ms Jansen has also recently come up with a way to make masks into table centre pieces for lavish functions such as matric farewells. “My dream is to one day combine the masks and ballroom gowns with lace and ribbons from that era, or Madri Gras carnival costumes to compliment the masks and rent these out for unique parties.”

Her husband of 36 years, Johann, forms part of her long term plans as he is extremely crafty at designing and making cosplay outfits.

He is currently duplicating an outfit from the console game, Halo for their youngest son, Mathew (18).

The couple has two older children, Celeste (35) who is a phenomenal artist, and Shaun, an instrument technician who is also very good at making music. They also have two granddaughters.

When Mathew returned from a rugby tour to Italy last year, he brought his mother a Volto-mask (a full mask) from Venice. She adores this gift, especially the way in which the feathers on the mask is styled.

“Learning from the masters of mask-making in Venice is something right at the top of my bucket list,” she said.

People who are interested in Ms Jansen’s creations can visit her Facebook page Beyond Imagination.

Ms Elsie Jansen from Evander can make a mask for any occasion – from a wedding to a school’s spring day.

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