SchoolArts Magazine

October 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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18 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts Understructure Next, students design the understruc- ture for the wigs, which involves layering a Styrofoam bust with plastic wrap and adding a formidable layer of papier-mâché. I use Kraft paper instead of newspaper; it's stronger and therefore quicker. Once dry, students remove the skullcaps from the Styro - foam heads and trim them to repre- sent hairlines. This becomes the base and goes on the Styrofoam head to be topped with mounds of newspaper and tape, which will provide the key glu - ing points for the paper hair strips. After adding another layer of papier-mâché, students apply a layer of paint to match the color of the paper hair. The first time we did this proj- ect, I did not advise students to paint the understructure, causing us to use a lot more paper strips and class time to cover the unsightly brown spots that peeked through. Making Paper Wigs Before they tackle their wigs, I encourage students to explore differ- ent ways of manipulating the paper. We spend a few minutes snipping, curling, weaving, and crimping to test the limits of the material. Students assemble hair strips on the table using hot glue, then begin adding them to the base of their forms, working from the bottom up like a roofer. During this process, students should pay attention to motion, rhythm, bal- ance, and variety of textures. They about who they are. In our multicul- tural artroom, one doesn't have to strain to see plenty of examples. Cre - ating paper wigs taps into what teens already do on a daily basis. As for displaying art objects out - side the classroom, our wigs appear in a couple of nontraditional venues. In the spring they are worn in a fash - ion show for donated prom gowns, and students wear them during our fall homecoming activities when they are also featured in the annual lip dub music video. Hair Inspiration The inspirational resources for creat - ing paper wigs are as varied as the student body. We look to the art of commercial designers Flurry & Salk, who created a gorgeous paper wig collection for Kate Spade and Her - mès. Although they are not made from paper, the hairstyles from the TV reality show Hair Battle are still able to influence creativity. On the Internet, students comb through a Google search of eighteenth-century French aristocratic portraits (paint - ings of Marie Antoinette will fit the bill) and search out theatrical and operatic costumers, as well as images from Japanese manga. It is not difficult to engage all students with a diversity of resources. Wig Planning To help students focus their ideas, I act like Tim Gunn (Project Runway workroom advisor) and circle the room asking them to identify and communicate the type of person their hair belongs to. This helps them align their choices with forms, tex - tures, and methods of construction. Creating paper wigs taps into what teens alread do on a dail asis. should steer away from high contrasts in paper color, and, of course, avoid unsightly bald spots. A few days into the project, I show quilling, kusudama, and origami how-to videos (available on YouTube). This inspires student sculptors to use these fine detailed art forms to lead the eye around their artwork, or create a focal point. Students also use these kinds of pieces to disguise messy joints or major glue spots where the paper hair comes together. Creating GIFs When the wigs are complete, students put them on and turn in a full circle, generating eight or more photos to link together to create their GIF. They share these with the rest of the class and upload them to a variety of social media sites. So far, we have only created the wigs with construction paper, but I plan to use maps, old posters, tar paper, wrapping paper, paper grocery bags, magazine pages, and old text- books. Also in the works is a fashion show fundraiser, pairing the wigs with paper fashions from sculpture class and felted gauntlet mittens from fibers class. It should be positively surreal! Elizabeth Carpenter teaches art at Beloit Memorial High School in Beloit, Wiscon- sin. ecarpenter@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Create: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K wigs Baylee Engle Mahalia Jackson Sierra Jhocson

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