Beverly Toyu has been a ceramic artist for 25 years. She previously has had studios in Pt. Reyes Station, San Francisco, and Oakland. She studied with Peter Voulkos and received her degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1975 she began to make Life Masks when an apprentice encouraged her to make each others' life mask. Taking a more serious interest in the mask led her to pursue her master's degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University in 1977. Using the mask as a therapeutic tool for self realization and self discovery has been her main objective in encouraging people to do their own Life Mask.
Aside from the external artistic value of the mask the internal spiritual quality of the masks transcend space and time to immortalize and commemorate a person's passage through life. She calls them Life Masks because she works with living people. The process of doing a mask becomes as important as the final product. People respond with a renewed sense of their self image.
Toyu's process involves taking a life impression from a person's
face. The process takes about five minutes using mineral oil, straws and
Plaster of Paris for the mold. She then takes a positive impression with
clay and fires this to bisque temperature with the final product being
raku fired, creating luminescent and iridescent effects. The term "RAKU" means happiness in Japanese and has been a technique used since ancient
times for ceremonial pieces.
Beverly Toyu has made hundreds of masks of people since 1975.
Showing her work throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area and nationally
in art shows, museums and galleries she has exhibited at the Children's
Museum in Portland and the Concourse Gallery at Oregon State Universfty
and has been demonstrating and showing her work at the Portland Saturday
Market since August. She feels that she is documenting a humanity which
is slowly evolving into a homogeneous race and feels her work will survive
to show the brotherhood of all mankind.
If you wish to contact Beverly for your Life Mask, please call