A last look at Ann James Unmasked

Bidding reserve: HIGHEST BID SO FAR: $300

The Amazing Ann James




Ann james 2


The mask that Ann made


Title of mask

“The Company we Keep”


which looked like this, before she worked her magpie magic on it



Ann on her mask making

“Of all  the mask design/shapes that we could choose from, I definitely wanted the long-nosed one. Apart from the fabulous sweeping beak, it had a wonderful frown and expression.

“We didn’t have much time to waste before the deadline – The Masked Ball itself – I maybe had a week and a half. In between my other commitments I sketched and scribbled ideas.

“I knew I’d like two characters involved – just as I do in a story. So the Nose and a friend or the Nose and a sudden visitor maybe. My sketches and thoughts were not involving colour. Though when colour time came it was very obvious to me what hues I’d use!

Mask sketch 2 small

“I am and have been in love with paperclay for a year or so and was excited to have a project that I could adorn with a paperclay creature. I am also a collector of odds and ends and I do love any opportunity to incorporate my interesting finds into my work.

Mask sketch 3

“When I had finished making the little cat in paper clay, I painted it dark, named it Ebony and attached her to the painted mask. I also added the warts, which I’d threaded with bristles plucked from one of my treasured Chinese calligraphy brushes. Then I went hunting around for a final piece of magic (this is when I congratulate myself on my vast collections). I noticed a bowl of marbles on a shelf and selected a larger than the rest green one.

“Just as it was meant to, it fitted perfectly under the cat’s paw. And, believe me, it is magic.


Mask sketch 1small



“Although the theme, Unmasking the Wild Within, was interesting I really think I was inspired by my own particular inner critter.

“Or maybe it’s what drove me in fact – magpie me.
“The mask itself was certainly its own catalyst. And it wears its wild without. Maybe it and I have a black cat in common. I do like the idea of familiars. Every familiar has a witch of course. Pullman’s daemons fascinate me in the same way.”

-Ann James


About Ann James

Ann was an art teacher and moved into designing and illustrating education publications while establishing herself as a children’s book illustrator and writer.

She has published more than 60 children’s books and is a  significant contributor towards the development and appreciation of children’s literature in Australia.This was acknowledged in 2000 when she was awarded the Pixie O’Harris Award for her contribution. She was also the 2002 recipient of the national Dromkeen Medal for services towards children’s literature

Some of the books she has illustrated include, The Penny Pollard series; the Hannah series; The Midnight Gang; Shutting the Chooks In; Little Humpty; The Way I Love You; Lucy Goosey; Sadie & Ratz, the Audrey of the Outback series and Chester and Gil.

Anne James currently still lives and works in Melbourne, where she runs the Books Illustrated gallery and studio that she co-founded with Ann Haddon in 1988. She also has a property inland where she often retreats to work.  She got the mud she used to create the wonderful Dirty Dinosaur there.




Now all you need do is scroll down, check out some of Ann’s other work in the sampler gallery below, or follow the link to more information and art, then bid!  Remember if yours is the successful bid, every cent you pay will go to our charities and you will receive your mask as a memento and keepsake to remind you that we are all part of the wild world, so we had better take care of it!


For more about ...

Anne James

you can find the website for Books Illustrated, which she founded and runs with Ann Haddon, here


and here you can find an interview with her



Other work










Mask bidding reserve: HIGHEST BID SO FAR: $300

6 Bids

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