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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20 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts FASCINATING M I D D L E S C H O O L T he sculpture unit is always highly anticipated by my mid- dle-school students; they have a fascination with form. For this lesson, we focused on the color- ful, whimsical woodcarvings made by artists in Oaxaca, Mexico. We studied the culture of Oaxaca and discussed the use of contrast, shape, pattern, proportion, and form in the wood- carvings created by artists there. Stu- dents looked at pictures of a variety of animals and made several sketches. Finally, they picked a minimum of two different sketches and used light tables to morph their images together and make a hybrid animal. Building the Armature Students learned that the armature is the skeleton of the sculpture. Stu- dents used wire to create the arma- tures for their animals, then created mass by adding crumpled paper with masking tape. We discussed how 3D sculptures are interesting from all Amanda Kaiser angles and should be freestanding. Some of my students struggled with developing mass for their sculp- tures. To help these students, I found pictures of their animals from differ- ent views to show what areas needed more paper, which greatly aided the additive process. Making the Papier-Mâché Clay The recipe I use to make papier- mâché clay calls for 1½ rolls of cheap toilet paper (soaked in water, squeezed, and shredded), 1 cup joint compound, ¾ cup white school glue, and ½ cup white flour. You'll get a great arm workout using a hand mixer to combine the ingredients. I started with this basic recipe and sometimes added more ingredients to We focused on the colorful, whimsical woodcarvings made b rtists in Oaxaca, Mexico. get the right consistency. I suggest playing with the recipe before trying it with your students. Most importantly, shred the toilet paper before adding it to the recipe or the clay will become clumpy. One batch usually lasts a class of twenty students one class period. Feel free to double or triple this recipe if you have a larger class or larger sculptures. Extra clay can be covered with plastic wrap and stored for the next day. Applying the Clay Students used their hands to apply the papier-mâché clay to their armatures. They started with a small "pancake" of clay, smoothed the edges onto the armature and then applied another pancake next to it. Be sure to instruct students to use only a thin layer F A FORMS Karla Aleman

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