Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Experiments in Sculpture-Monsters in 4th Grade

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 5:11 PM
If you've read the past few entries I've posted you'll know that I've been complaining about my kiln being out of commission due to a burnt out touch pad (did I mention my kiln is 3 years old???).  Anyways, to say I'm a little frustrated by this is an understatement, but regardless I'm stuck waiting for my admin to get on with ordering the replacement part.  Feeling bad that half my kids may not get the chance to create in clay this year I decided to turn the clay monster project I had told them about into the paper mache clay monster project.  I had some reservations about this because making paper mache anything can be a laborious and difficult process.   What's been happening as a result of this,  is that I've been trying different approaches to the project with each of my five classes.  Here's what I've been trying so far.

I tried two types of armatures:
- Newspaper and brown paper bag armatures with masking tape, paper towel tubes and cereal boxes.
-Tin foil with a little bit of masking tape. 
NOTE: NEVER use "school smart" brand masking tape. It stinks!

To cover the armatures I tried two different materials:
Plaster gauze and paper mache pulp
NOTE: Don't try paper mache mulch to cover armatures! It stinks!

The final results? 
Tin foil armature with plaster gauze overlay.
The foil allowed the children to create more nuanced shapes and forms within their sculpture.  The paper bag/newspaper combo made for an o.k. armature but it wasn't very sturdy especially the arms and legs.  The plaster wraps worked WAY better than the mache pulp which made the monsters seem more like abominable snowman and filled in many of the subtle curves of the original armature making it bulky, heavy and blob-like.  I had never used the mache pulp before very quickly realized that it is really made much more for filling in molds than for covering armatures.
Here are a few of the tin foil monsters with plaster gauze wrap:

Here are a few of the paper bag/newspaper/mache pulp monsters (you'll be able to see the difference in surface texture alone)

I'll post a few pictures of the paper bags/newspaper/plaster wrap monsters when they are finished.