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For years, I have been doing a mask making project that the kids just
*love*! I use plaster gauze (available from SAX) cut into strips and have
the students pick a partner. The model puts a thin film of vaseline over
the face and then the sculptor puts long strip of plastic wrap across the
model's face, leaving only the nostrils uncovered. The strips are
activated with water and then smoothed on the model's face - if you make
sure the plastic wrap covers the ears, the model won't be freaked out by
the feeling of water drippling across the ears. I stress to the sculptors
that they need to smooth the strips together well, accentuating the
features, and they need to stay with their model during the drying process,
talking to them, providing them with paper and pencil to communicate, and
touching them so they don't feel so isolated. After the masks are popped
off, the nostril area is covered in and they are left to dry.
You might want to start with an activity where the students do a sculpture
of each other's hands in various positions so that they will know how to
work with the medium and will know how the gauze feels as it is drying -
takes away some of the scarey part when it is on their faces.
An interesting issue arises from this project - to whom does the artwork
belong when it is completed? - the model or the sculptor? I have been
privy to many great discussions as the partners barter for either their own
artwork or the artwork that represents their face. If they don't seem to
understand the concept, I ask them who the Mona Lisa belonged to, the model