SchoolArts Magazine

March 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 43 of 70

dowel to hold it up. If I did this project again, I would have had students make stick-man armatures to put inside. This wouldn't have prevented crack- ing, but it would have kept the pieces together better. A thin, cheap wire would suffice. When the toys are completely filled, put them on a plastic-covered table to sit overnight with a fan blow- ing on them. If you choose to spread the filling out over two class sessions, make sure to insert a bunch of toothpicks or wires partially into the wet cement so new cement will stick better to old the next day. "Skinning" the Toys Removing the skin from the toys is the hardest part in some ways. Scor- ing the surface with a box cutter will Packing the Toys Have students stir and spoon the wet cement into the "skins" of their toys, packing it in with wooden spoons and gloved hands. Encourage them to start with the feet and pack them well using the stick end of the spoon. Squeeze the limbs to feel if the cement is all the way in. Next, pack the "bottom" of the toy and be sure that it can sit up by itself. Adding balls of foil to the belly can lighten the weight a bit and create structure. After packing more cement around the foil, stuff the arms. Place another ball of foil in the head, and surround that with cement. At this point, test each student's work to make sure that the limbs are totally filled. If any toys slump under the weight of the cement, insert a sharpened We embraced the ugliness and thoroughly enjoyed it. Materials • stuffed animals, no larger than 8" (20 cm) tall. Chubb imbs are important. • sand-mix concrete or Quikrete fiber-reinforced concrete, 60 lbs. per ever x to eight to s • needle-nose pliers, box cutters, scissors, and a Dremel cutting tool (optional) • wooden spoons and mixing bowls • gloves • dust masks • assorted craft items for embellishment • hot glue and glue guns • aluminum foil help, as will a Dremel tool if you have one. We found gripping the fabric with needle-nose pliers and twisting really helped. Razors are good for cutting around embedded eyes and noses, but you might want to help with that part, depending on the age of your students. Once all of the toys are skinned, let them air-dry overnight. Reconstruction In my younger classes, the finished projects came out with heavy (but interesting) damage. We embraced the ugliness, though, and embellished the cement toys with wood, foil, and whatever else we had on hand. Parts scavenged from a discarded computer added a cyborg quality to some of the toys. We used cement glue to reattach any broken pieces of cement, and used hot glue for the embellishments. These stuffed animals are certainly not your average toys! Eric Gibbons is an art teacher from Bor- dentown, New Jersey, and the author of the blog, Art Ed Guru ( LOVSART@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K Dina D. 35

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