“For several years I had been making masks in clay. Some of them cracked from careless handling, or broke in the kiln. I put the pieces away, considering them failures. One day I mentioned this to my sponsor, who replied, “A broken mask reveals the true face beneath.” That suddenly gave me the idea of combining the broken pieces with mirrors. At first I wasn’t skilled at cutting mirror glass without cracking it, then I began to see the cracked glass itself as essential. From then on the series evolved rapidly. Varying the glazes and firing temperatures and using raku techniques yielded unpredictable and smoky surfaces.

We all wear masks to conceal our true selves. Some of them were formed in childhood when we needed them to protect us. Masks keep others at a distance, even drive them away. We hold onto our masks for many years, even when they are no longer needed, even when they don’t work any more. Masks cover our self-esteem so others cannot see how vulnerable we are. We think our masks make us look bigger and more powerful, or weak and not threatening to others. But masks can fool us into believing they are our true self. They cover up a big lie – that we are not worthwhile or deserving of love.

Little by little, can we abandon our masks? Can we begin to accept ourselves as we truly are, worthy of love? Recovery can help us see that our masks are no longer useful. Then we can see the masks themselves, like the images you see in this series, gradually cracking and revealing the true you. Can we accept the wisdom and healing of recovery programs? Are we ready to be healed?”

Ellen Sidor, Ceramic & Stone Sculptor
Tucson, Arizona
Copyright © 2009


This series is looking for a showplace. It has been used in several recovery counseling settings.
No charge for set-up and 90% of sales go to the local sponsoring organization.


Click on an image to see the work in detail.
Pieces are mixed media: Ceramics, mirror glass.
Sizes range from 6” x 10”, 10” x 10” to 12” x 12”.


All Images Copyrighted © Wilson P. Graham of Tucson