Personally--and given the cost--I think that mask-making is the best
use for plaster gauze. One year, MANY years ago, I used it for
sculpting small gargoyles and really wasn't impressed with the
outcome. Masks, however, are something I do every few years and we
always get some amazing results. This is the year (whoo-hoo!) and
we're just getting started. In addition to masks you can cast arms,
hands, feet, etc.
Art history connection is with George Segal and casting, in general,
which brings in Mark Jenkins. As an additional project, kids can make
the packing tape sculptures, too, IF they furnish the tape (since it
takes a few rolls per student).
I'll post pics of this year's masks when they're done.
One thing I did this year when pitching the project was to talk about
how our first semester is mainly geared toward straight-up
skill-building (drawing techniques, perspective, etc.) but this is a
project one where they can work skillfully but also more expressively.
I likened it to a creative writing class where they could come up
with a topic or concept and craft words to create a poem or short
story--or to a music composition class where they would arrange
different tones, rhythms, etc. to create a song. I challenged them to
think of a concept (not necessarily serious, but could be) and think
of a way that it could be expressed, visually.
A few really "got" the idea and though they're early in the process,
one student plans to cut the mask into several pieces, cast his hand
holding a hammer and then (via collage or whatever), show all the
thoughts that are spilling out of his head. Super idea, so we'll see
if he can pull it off.
One odd thing with sculpture, though, is that it tends to take on a
life of its own. Kids come up with an idea, but either through
accident (something won't work the way they'd envisioned--creative
problem solving is a biggie with sculpture...) or through inspiration,
the piece or whole concept changes. Case in point, one kid was just
starting to make a square representation of the earth (to fit in/on
his head) but wound up with something that looked very much like an
ice cube, so he's going with that.
Anyhow, good luck with the sculpture unit. While it's never been my
strong suit, either, most of my kids can't wait to do something very
hands-on and different after a semester of drawing. ;-) Please feel
free to look through the other 3-D things on my website and customize
it to your needs and interests.
On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 4:52 AM, Maggie White wrote:
> Greetings from Muscat, everyone,
> I'm about to enter Semester 2 of my first year here. What a trip, on many
> levels! The art department was a real train wreck when I arrived but thanks
> to very supportive admin I've been able to effect some positive changes.
> Based on the previously approved curriculum, I'm slated to teach sculpture
> for the next semester. Sculpture is SO not my area, though I did teach it,
> a little, in the past. I've gotten a few ideas from IAD that I can pull
> off, but as there's (almost literally) a ton of air dry clay in the
> storeroom that is slowly getting harder, I was wondering if you have any
> non-dorky ideas for HS students that I can use it for. Some of it feels
> close to leather hard and could be carved, but I myself do not have the
> Michelangelo gene and am unable to see any figure in a piece of marble or
> plaster or anything else other than the shape it already is. We also have
> enough of that plaster gauze stuff to set two broken limbs on every student
> in the school. Any ideas for that other than masks?
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