Sunday, January 8, 2012

Animal Portraits Inspire Sculptural Busts!

Here is a sampling of works in progress made by students in Period 5. Look carefully and you'll see everything from two elephants, a donkey, a shark and a frog.  Read the post below to hear about how we made these large plaster sculptures!
Angel had to figure out how to keep her sculpture of a stork from tipping over with all of the "beak weight" in the front of the head!  We ended up inserting the neck into a cardboard tube with a round base to add stability.
Emma L. works on applying plastercraft strips over the newspaper forms of her work, a Canadian goose! Eventually this sculpture ended up with additional cardboard supports to keep it upright and represent the top of the wings.
Brandon G. did a wonderful job constructing the forms for his sculpture of a "Gangsta Rat", complete with  a baseball hat and difficult to construct open mouth.

We were all psyched about the awesome results of the sepia tone animal portrait lesson! So, after  considering the interest level of the kids, I decided to move forward by expanding the unit to include a 3-dimensional version! I found many photos of various "busts" which are sculptural portraits of people and animals.  I borrowed a plaster bust in a classical style to illustrate the 3-dimensional qualities of the assignment.  One of my students brought in a full size bust of Thomas Jefferson.  This was helpful because it was finished with a great looking aged bronze patina and had wonderful clothing, too.
The construction for our sculptures included compressing newspaper forms by simplifying each shape from the drawing in each student's animal portrait.  A head might start as a sphere or an oval, chipboard ears could be added with masking tape and then attached to another oval for a neck. The sculpture would end at the shoulders, so this area would serve as a base.
 I stressed the importance of regularly checking to make sure that the sculpture could stand once assembled. If it had trouble remaining upright then we problem-solved using empty tape rolls and other pieces of cardboard to form a base and eliminate instability.
 We went through a lot of masking tape and we even ran out of newspaper, but soon enough, everyone had all of their parts made!  It was time to begin to cover the newspaper forms with layers of plaster craft.  

No comments: