Tuesday, November 11, 2014

African Masks

Very recently, Mr. E posted about the masks his students were making. He used plaster strips, and you know how something like that comes up and you think 'wow, I never thought about doing it that way!' It was totally that moment for me.  I hadn't done African-inspired masks in several years, so I was excited to make them with students again.  Because I have the tiniest art room, I have to stagger sculptural projects between classes.  My other sixth grade group made their funerary figures and then faux gelli printed while this group worked on their masks. I have my students papier mache them.  We start with one balloon per pair of students, and papier mache three layers: a newspaper layer, a phone book layer and a brown school paper towel layer.

To make it easier to work with, each pair gets a bucket (old ice cream tubs, I save everything and our house went through some serious ice cream eating there for a while) with their names on seperate pieces of masking tape.  I put two pieces of tape on each bucket and write their names on them once pairs are decided. When the three layers are dry, I cut the shape in half and peel the tape off the bucket and put one tape name in each half.  Next they add sculptural elements with recyclables (pop bottles, paper towel tubes, yogurt cups, rolled up newspaper, basically, whatever I have laying around).  I forgot to photograph this step, so imagine greatness in your head.  There's another day or two of papier mache-ing, then we paint them:

After that, I got out some random puff paint/glitter paint pens and some pearl it and glitter it mediums and we went crazy with that stuff:

I have one more day planned for this group of mask-makers, I'd like them to add some fiber elements hanging down to cover their faces and bodies, like in African tribes:

Until then, I'll just enjoy them.  Even though they do take up some precious space in my tiny room.

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