In The Zone

Artists are happiest when they are creating.  There is no better therapy than the experience, the feeling of creation.  Having ideas is fine, but there unless you produce, you will feel somewhat unfulfilled.

I recently shared the following video with my students:

The thing is, unless I practice what I teach, my hopes for my students are somewhat empty.  They need me to be able to connect with the very thoughts that I’m sharing with them.  How can I teach them about all of the reasons why they should continue to learn about art if I’m not enjoying it myself?

The last two days have been filled with creative endeavours.  I reminded myself of what it felt like to throw a few pots on the wheel, to share that love with my daughter, and I experimented with a new paper mache recipe.

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Originality and creativity mean so much to an artist, but so do skill and craftsmanship.  Occasionally, re-using a project in the art class makes me want to cringe because it’s been done before.  I have to remember that it’s new for my students, and it’s improving their skills, but it’s nice to liven things up a bit.

For years, I’ve taught my grade 9 students about masks around the world, and they have learned about sculpture, as well as the elements of form and texture.  They usually use balloons as the base of the form, and then make about 4 layers of paper mache before adding features and details.  It is a long and sometimes frustrating process, but it is a project that has almost become a tradition for my grade 9 students, so on it goes.

A few days ago, I happened to find a website thanks to Pinterest (one of my guilty pleasures) that shared a paper mache project:

 Lil Blue Boo ~ Paper Mache Animal Heads also provided a great recipe.  Curious, I tried it out this evening:


What a difference from my old projects!  The combination of flour & water wasn’t new, but I have never cooked the mixture before.  The result was fantastic.  Very creamy, and I was delighted to find that I could use long strips of newspaper rather than short pieces, since the new mixture made the strips conform to the shape of the plastic so well.  Amazing!  Using the plastic milk container is another bonus.  Not only am I recycling in a creative way, but the plastic adds so much strength and form.  This will save my students a ton of time.

I’m really looking forward to introducing their sculpture task.  Now to collect a bunch of plastic milk containers…

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1 Response to In The Zone

  1. Christy says:

    Thanks for a great post…I want to try this with my high schoolers!!

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