Saturday, July 21, 2012

Model Magic Miniatures Show Movement!

This sculpture shows the exemplary craftsmanship that its maker, Alex C. uses on all of her work.  She shows us a peek into the secret world of a  land of moss and mushrooms, and she even lets the viewer know that these insects are characters with personalities all their own.  Look closely and you'll realize....
Oh, the wise ant tells important tales to the two younger ants as he leans on his walking stick!  Congratulations to you, Alex, for being named  2012 Aldrich Junior High School Outstanding Visual Art student!  I had so many wonderful students this year and I will miss all of you!
Let's take a look at some more wonderful examples of this lesson and be sure to read about the process and objectives I've included below!

Plastic texture rubbing plates were used to impress these designs into the wet Model Magic to form an interesting ground.  The pile of seed beads represents "food" collected by the walking insects.  I thought the color palette used on this sculpture was unique and added to the whimsical mood of the piece.

Nicole created some diverse terrain for her insects: the water cascades over the edge of a group of rocks, clumps of grass emerge from within the current.  A butterfly floats casually above, moving away from the "carpeted" land.  Look closely and you'll notice that the red beetle has been upended and is floating legs-side up in the water!
Michaela P. really enjoyed making this pleasant scene that features bees, ants and a caterpillar going about their business under the watchful gaze of a sunflower.  I love the inclusion of "ant trails" implied by the way she painted her base to show a cross-section of the soil.
Ants scurry around their ant hole as a dragonfly looms overhead.  The shag rug scrap adds a nice contrasting texture with the heavily dotted "sand" of the ground.  Keep in mind that each insect needed to be less than three inches in size.  Hannah P. did an awesome job making these tiny black ants from Model Magic!
Jessica A. made insects based on scientific observation, but you can see a real sense of personality in each of her characters!  I'm fascinated with the giant green cicada flying over the scene! 

This highly detailed miniature insect sculpture makes great use of a variety of media including Model Magic, wire,  plastic transparency scraps, wooden scraps, tempera paint cakes and ultra-fine sharpie marker and acrylic gloss medium.  It was made by lovely and talented 8th Grade student Arden B.

This lesson was great fun and considering that it was our last "big" project of the year, it really kept everyone motivated to keep working hard right up until summer vacation!   This was due in large part to the use of Crayola's amazing product," Model Magic".  I tell the kids that it works like a clean clay: it has all of the properties of air dry clay without the mess or the long drying time. It works especially well for small-scale projects like this since large or thick pieces of Model Magic can tend to stay spongy inside and over time may develop cracks as the moisture evaporates from the product.  If you have never used this product with your students I would highly recommend that you give it a whirl.  You can paint it, blend markers into it, apply craft materials like beads and stick wires and pipe cleaners into it.  It really is a great material and  kids of all ages are highly motivated to use it!  The only down side is that it can be expensive to use with a large group, so once again working on a small scale might be a smart choice.  Buy the white model magic rather than the pre-colored packets, since students can personalize their work with paints once it has dried.  This would be the most economical way to go!

Alexia is shown working to make the habitat for her insects.  Two wood scraps were hot-glued together then covered with Elmer's glue and a thin layer of Model Magic.  She added many pieces to form a spiky grass-like ground.

I asked students to make a minimum of three different insects, and at least one of them must be shown flying.  They were also required to have at least three levels in their composition.  Since this would be a table top piece, I encouraged them to consider the habitat for their insects: some areas should be high, medium and low. This would help create movement in the sculpture.  We brainstormed "movement" words like diving, attacking, marching, turning and descending.  Each student made two sample sketches of which insects they would include and how these insects would interact to show movement. Then they had several class periods to sculpt their parts which we stored on styrofoam lunch trays.  
Wet Model Magic easily attaches to other pieces of wet Model Magic simple by pressing them together.  If something was dry from the day before, students needed to attach those parts with a low-temp hot glue gun.  We painted everything with tempera paint cakes, which I love because of the paste-like quality of the paint when applied with limited water.  Yes, no drips or spills to worry about!
Extra parts such as transparency plastic wings and wire legs were attached.  Some students even experimented with some donated carpet scraps to make grassy areas on their base.
This was a wonderful way to end our expansive unit on "Observing Insects".  It required concentration since the scale was so small, as well as the use of creativity and problem-solving skills.  I was glad I saved the sculpture assignment in this unit for the grand finale, because the students were genuinely interested and excited by this assignment.  I'd love to hear what you think about our work!


~nick~ said...

These are so cool! I definitely am going to make one! You always have such great ideas!

one little deer said...

These were fun! I really liked that they are such a small size; the kids had to really concentrate on getting all of the tiny details right...and you know from your visits that some of my students have trouble staying focused on their work!
Enjoy your summer and keep making your art at home...I start RISD tomorrow! Remember how much fun your class there was? :)

Miss said...

All of your projects are so fun and creative. What a fantastic end-of year project. I've never tried Model Magic before but will defintely keep it in mind for next year. Thanks for sharing!

one little deer said...

Thank you for your kind feedback! I am glad you enjoy my work and I hope you will get some model magic, experiment without the kids and come up with something new and exciting to make! Enjoy the rest of your summer!