The Santa Anna Winds whip around our lab making for strange thuds, as pine needles and branches slap against the window. It breaks the calm of this lab, almost challenges the peace. While our queue is empty, there has been decompression from the previous workload. Usually in these months, we try and not take on too much work. As the dinosaur returns to the lab from work travel, he is happy to have some time available (like, whole days) to do some mask work. However, there is one matter which has made us stop in our tracks.
Some of our previous customers will still contact us long after their purchase, acquiring parts to maintain their mask. Sometimes, someone needs a repair that requires us to take the mask back into our care. However, with a customer that contacted us back in fall, they had a matter of one very sick jackal god. Latex (as a material) has properties and attributes which affect how well it holds up over time. With proper care (and storage) for latex garments one can enjoy their gear for a long time. Once the mask arrived, and we were able to take a look, we could confirm with the customer that there was latex rot present on an area of the mask. It had been obvious to the both us and the customer, that we were in a race against time.
Latex does have a desire to return to a form more like what comes from the rubber tree. Looking at this pale jackal god, and touching the affected area, we could feel the latex was more yielding and thin. There was a tacky and “gummy” feel. Stego quickly worked to excise it, as if to prevent a tumor or cancer’s spread. He took an area from the hood, well beyond the exact area where the latex starts to feel “weird”.
Taking this precious mask into our hands, it tells a story. This mask has been well loved, and we can only hope all of our early pieces can get this vibe when its captured player walks into the room of a convention or event. For this person, of course they would want to see if they could rescue something that is more than a mask, but rather an experience.
We were already taking in one or two masks (at a time) in times when we could fit in a refurbishment, or take care of a warrantied customer. While the latex rot is always a tragic thing to have happen to latex, we know that we can bring this mask back to a stable state. Currently pouring a new “skin” for them, and surgery has begun in earnest.