Thursday, November 13, 2014

Giant eyeballs?!?

 My DragonWing Arts students built some giant eyeball sculptures, though the choices they made, and therefore the end results, were not quite as I had intended.  But they are happy, so I guess I should be satisfied.  Pictured above are a couple of samples that I had built in preparation for the project.  The base is cardboard, and then I added paper bowls to make the protruding center.  I cut a hole in the center of the blue eye, and painted the inside black.  I hot-glued on the plates, and then papier-mache'd over the entire thing. 
I cut eyelids from sheets of colored foam and glued on and added eyelashes from pipe cleaners.  The yellowish eye in the top photo (and in the photo below) is intended to be a dragon eye, but it is not complete.  For the eyelids, I am considering using some orange SmartFab fabric samples that I have, because it looks cool when I twist and layer it it.
 Below, the students' papier-mache is drying.  As you can see, two of the kids decided to make round eyeballs.  They all chose to cut openings for the pupils, and I gave them the option of gluing a CD inside, with a circle of black foam over the center.  One student got really wacky with layers of colored sheet foam in the pupil.
While the papier-mache was drying on our eyeballs, we used papier-mache mash made from shredded paper mixed with Art Paste and Elmer's Glue-All to cover Styrofoam blocks that had bamboo stakes inserted in them.  (These were to be used for displaying the eyeballs.)  The papier-mache mash dried rock hard, and added weight to the Styrofoam blocks so they wouldn't tip over.   
When the papier-mache was dry, the eyeballs and bases were painted and embellished with colored foam eyelids, pipe cleaners or wire lashes, and glitter glue and rhinestones as desired.  They may not all look like eyeballs, but the kids are happy with their work, so I am too. 
Eyeball closeups:
Another one of my unfinished samples, with CD, foam circle, and jewel in center.

a painted base
a little bit of eyeball motivation!
Eyeball Sculptures are Complete!

Below, the boys are modeling their wacky eyeballs!


  1. So fun. I love the bulge of the eyeball!!

  2. awesome! question- how long did this all take the kids to do?

    1. Hmmm, let me think... I see the kids (and I only have 3 students at the moment) for an hour and a half, once a week. I usually start with a messy activity (such as papier-mache or paint) for the first half of each class, and then do dry work for the second half. So we are working on more than one project at a time. We did the initial construction and papier-mache during two sessions, painted everything in one session, and caught up with any leftovers and began assembly and embellishment in the fourth session, and did final assembly and embellishment in the fifth session. If I was doing this in a regular classroom setting, I'd probably set parameters that I didn't set with my 3 kids. (Like, for example, it should LOOK like an eyeball when it's done! Clearly, two out of three of my students' eyeballs would not easily be recognized as eyeballs... oh well!)

      While we were working on these, we also began the giant masks from my previous post. Over the 8 sessions we had this fall, we finished the eyeballs, the masks, some Picasso-style cut paper faces,Arcimboldo-inspired self-portraits, and some portrait drawings of each other. That was pretty ambitious, and the Arcimboldo faces were rushed.

  3. Great breakdown of the lesson.

    I work with 13, 11& 12 year olds in an after school program. How do you stay organized working on multiple projects at the same time. I know that kids work at varying speeds as they complete their assignments but it seems as if ....
    I bring in materials daily and have very little space for students to store their work while it dries. By the way I'm no artist. Any organizational tips would be appreciated.

    1. Nancy, great questions - I have very little space as well. The room we are working in is an old library, very small. I see the kids for an hour and a half after school, and we usually (but not always) do the messiest stuff - painting, papier-mache, etc - in the first half of the class. Then we clean up a bit and do dry media - whether cutting and gluing, drawing, collage, and so on. That way the paintings have a chance to start to dry a little bit and are easier to move to a counter or windowsill or empty table when it is time to leave. I don't have one, but a clothesline would be a good idea! So, for example, we worked on the papier-mache for the eyeballs, cleaned up, and then worked on a Picasso paper collage project and an silly self-portrait project with markers and colored pencils, that I haven't posted here on the blog. I have the students for an 8-week session, and I make sure that all wet media is complete by the end of the 7th week, so in the last class, we can finish any dry media projects, mount on a construction paper frame, and have everything complete to take home.

      My classes are small, so that helps a lot. I've had as few as 3 kids, and would take no more than 8. My students are mostly between the ages of 8 and 12. The building that we meet in is empty at that time of day, so I don't take younger kids because I don't want to be responsible for kids being scared in an empty building after dark, or other young-kid issues.

      When we paint, I make the materials as disposable as possible. I often use paper plates or magazine pages as palettes for mixing colors. I tote water from the bathroom in a bucket, and am pretty picky about brush washing procedures to make things easy. You can search my blog (search button on the right side of the blog) for things like 'brush washing' and will find more of my specific cleanup methods. Please feel free to comment again and ask if you can't find what you want. I'm always willing to respond.

      My students are younger than yours; I'm very curious what types of projects you do with your students, how you find your students, how many students you have, etc. That's a fun but potentially challenging age group!

      If you want to email me, please feel free to contact me at: plbrown3 at yahoo dot com. I've written the address out to avoid spam, which is a frequent blog problem!