Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mexican Animalitos

Mexican Animalitos
5th grade "traveled" to Mexico earlier this year and learned about Oaxacan wood carvers and their beautiful and whimsical animal carvings.   These remarkable wood carvings are also known as alebrijes for their similarity with the fantastic paper creatures made in Mexico City.  

We made ours out of air-dry clay. And painted them with acrylics.  I absolutely love how they turned out!  I wanted to keep many of them for my own.  If you want to see some of the real things, click here.  One day, I plan on owning one of these beauties! 
Mexican Animalitos Mexican Animalitos Mexican Animalitos Mexican Animalitos

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mask Making: Venetian Style

Venetian Masks I adore Carnival in Venice, Italy.  I few years back, my grandparents gave me a beautiful Venetian mask from their travels there.   I knew that eventually I wanted to teach a lesson inspired by these gorgeous wearable works of art.  I started this lesson during Mardi Gras which is our equivalent to Carnival.  I  showed some videos from past years festivities and many of the gorgeous masks and costumes.  I had my 7th graders look for themes in the costumes and masks.  There were ones inspired by music and love and much more.  We then started with brainstorming some themes of our own.  Their mask had to represent a specific theme.  Many of them were very literal in their first sketches.  After sharing we discussed literal versus interpretive.  I wanted them to take bits and pieces from their inspiration. 
Venetian Masks Venetian MasksVenetian Masks After sketches were locked in, we moved onto constructing our masks.  This masks were constructed by applying plaster strips directly onto the face, making each mask a custom fit to the wearer.  This is my second year teaching this lesson and boy, did it go differently.  Last years group at first giggled when applying the petroleum jelly and plaster strips to each others faces (they worked with a partner) but then there was complete silence in the art room.  I believe it was the quietest it had been the entire year.  This years group, however, has a few perfectionists and could not stand the thought of someone else applying the strips to their face, luckily I have plenty of mirrors.  And the complaining....these kids didn't want their hands dirty for more than a minute.  Regardless, I always get a hoot at how they react to this very messy art.

Can you guess what their themes are?   Venetian Masks