Tiffany Smyth hangs with belly dancers, fire performers, the Ren Fest crowd and the tribal psychedelic rock band Kannal, but first and foremost, shes a mask-maker of enormous talent, working in leather, beads and feathers to create art nouveau-inspired organic disguises unlike anything youve ever seen. She owes some of her creative bent to her equally creative mother, Lynn Smyth Burtle, a master stained glass artist who now works alongside Smyth in the Antique Row mask shop ArtsMyths Gallery, 1454 South Broadway, where Smyth moved late last year from a cramped second-floor studio on Santa Fe Drive. This is her first Halloween on the street, a boon for South Broadway foot traffic and anyone seeking a last-minute costume that will last for years and could easily double as a beautiful heirloom.
The masks were a by-product of Smyths past collaborations with fire-dancing troupes, who came to her with some papîer-maché masks theyde been using. I looked at them and I thought, Papîer-maché and fire? Her no-brainer solution blossomed into a growing concern: Smyth now regularly provides costuming, masks and props for under- and above-ground groups as diverse as Kannal, the Handsome Little Devils, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Kevin Larsons Theatre du Vaudeville and the Kaivalya Hoop Dancers. I like being challenged by people asking for weird stuff, she notes with a shrug. Weird? Maybe. But gorgeous would be the better word: Her masks and accoutrements, which range in price from $20 for a pair of lifelike elf ears up to $250 for an elegant Las Vegas-worthy headdress, include everything from shimmering bumblebees and spooky black-light skulls and dragons haloed with flames to amazing animal faces with fake-fur hoods or curling leather eyelashes to a splendid canopy of green striped feathers curving around a golden cap hung with la-ser-cut disks on beaded chains. And Smyth calls them the most comfortable masks youve ever worn: Theyre flexible, durable and lightweight, and they absorb sweat for slime-free, face-molding wearability.
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Drop by ArtsMyths from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; in addition to masks, Smyth also offers sexy leather corsets, gauntlets and cuffs, coordinating costume-ready clothing in recycled silk, burnout velvet and other sensuous fabrics, as well as feathered barrettes and hair picks. For more information, visit http://artsmyths.com or call 720-989-7232.
Oct. 27-Dec. 31, 2008