Friday, February 11, 2011

People in motion with plaster bandage

They are not all done, but I couldn't resist sharing my 6th graders' progress on their sculptures. These "people in motion" began wire armatures fattened with newspaper, tin foil, and tape. They are wrapped with plaster bandage. Above are Sarah's boxer and Chloe's dancer.
This is Gracie's acrobat, Sarah's yoga girl, and Ethan's Luigi.

And here is Sydney's diver, and an assortment including a dancer, some runners, and someone doing karate;
and Matt's zombie, and Kyla's and explorer. More to come!!!

12 comments:

  1. Phyl: These are absolutely AMAZING!! Tell your kids I love every one!. Clever how the diver is balanced. I am anxiously awaiting the basketball player to see how you solved that balance problem, too.

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  2. The ideas and variety are awesome! I made a ballerina very similar to this in fifth grade and my mom still has it in her china cabinet. I made it look like her and since she is nothing like a ballerina she got a huge kick out of it. I love them all!!

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  3. These are so beautiful! I dont's know the word plaster bandage, is it used for broken legs?

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  4. Jacquelien, it's basically a gauze bandage impregnated with plaster, that you dip in water and simply wrap. It is used for medical purposes as well (my foot doc used it to cast my foot). Nowadays, it's more likely here to have a cast with fiberglass bandage, but it used to be used for broken legs etc like you said. It's very easy to work with, and dries quickly unlike papier-mache. We've used it right on people's faces (with a coat of Vaseline on the skin) to make masks that are a direct cast of the face. Lots of fun. The mummy in the corner of my art room, that is visible in some photos I post, is a cast of a real 6th grader done many years ago. The downside of the material is that it has a distinctive texture, and while it can be smoothed with a layer of plaster, it's challenging and I don't do this with the kids.

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  5. Thanks Phyl, for this explanation. I will look around to find the plaster bandage and do a similar project. My students will sure like it!

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  6. Phyl, I am looking to do a similar activity with my 8th graders. I want to use wire to make a 3D representation of a gesture drawing. I've done it in the past (when I only had 12 8th graders!) and we used styrofoam bases, like for floral arrangements. I now have many more students and wondering if there is a better material to use as a base. What did you do here?

    (Thanks for all your inspiring lessons. Without a department at my school, it can be difficult as the lone art teacher, but I always know I can find sources of inspiration and something to make me smile when I read your blog!)

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  7. Hi Sarah, I'm sure there are better materials, but we all know we use what we can scrounge, right? My bases are: hunks of styrofoam from here and there, even a cut up styrofoam cooler (the swimming pool), and sliced up hunks of "pool noodles". The pool noodles were an idea I got from another art teacher, and they unfortunately are not strong. I glued pieces of masonite on the bottom of these to give them a little more surface area and weight. But I'm betting the floral arrangement foam would work great if I could find it for free! :-)

    And by the way - I was the only art teacher for many years, until we consolidated into one building, and even then the secondary teacher and I do not have schedules that jive in any way. So we are pretty much solo acts like you. So many art teachers are, I think.

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  8. Hi Phyl! I'm wondering what gauge wire you use for these. I looked up armature wire and it looks pretty expensive. Do you ever use aluminum craft wire and if so what gauge would you recommend? I'm going to try a similar project with my 6th graders.

    Your blog is amazing by the way! It is my top site for inspiration when I'm feeling stuck. Thanks for being so committed to archiving your efforts. You probably will never fully comprehend how many folks you inspire and motivate. Thank you!

    Christina

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    1. Thank you so much, Christina! I believe I used 1/8" Sax Armature Wire - it sells for $6.99 for a 20' coil from School Specialty. But I'm sure there are cheaper options. Even old cost hangers would be usable, though certainly not as pliable as the armature wire. Galvanized tire wire or stovepipe wire (16 gauge I think) would probably work fine too. If it is too bendy, just double it. Some of my students did that with a thinner armature wire when I ran out of the heavier stuff. I've never used aluminum craft wire, but basically, you want something you can bend into shape but that will also hold the desired shape and support the plaster bandage. I hope this helps!

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  9. These are great! Thanks for sharing. I am doing a masking tape person sculpture and am debating whether to finish with plaster bandage and paint or to spray paint the masking tape with clear spray, which seems rather toxic. What do you think? I couldn't find your response to my last post - can you direct me to the date of the mirror image post? Thanks.

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    1. Hi again Mira. I have never used any spray over masking tape, so I don't really know how this would look. I also never used spray of any sort in my art room, except after school when everyone was gone. I happen to love the strength you get from the hardened layer of plaster bandage, and the surface is so paintable, but I guess it all depends on your timing and the expense of plaster bandage. What grade are you working with? Do you have a wire armature under the tape, I assume?

      The mirror post where I left my reply to you was on January 14, 2011.

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    2. Hi Phyl, Thanks for directing me to your entries. Yes, I found you through Pinterest searches. I had seen these masking tape people on a website called beingcr8iv (search for it on Pinterest) and they had intrigued me and then I saw your figures with wire and tape and they were really cool too. I am actually doing this project with adults - so I may just give them a couple of choices in how to finish it. So far it looks like the tape will take acrylic paint and it has a smoother texture. Those that want to use the plaster bandage on top can go for that look instead. I teach a mixed media class for adults and each time offer something different.

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