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CASE STUDY

papier mache sculpture

Funarte (Community Art Organisation), Estili, Nicaragua September ‘09 - December ’09

MCAC ART ACTION TOOLBOX: CASE STUDY of Papier Mache Sculpture

Theme: The Environment

Mayfield Arts Newbury House Art Action Toolbox: Case Study Papier Mache Sculptures background Orla, Vanessa and Laura travelled to Nicaragua on a Youth In Action European Volunteer Service (E.V.S.) for three months in 2009. The three volunteers worked with the community art organisation Funarte in Estili. Funarte are famous for their murals, which adorn the city walls giving it the title of ‘The City Of Murals.’ Mayfield Arts Newbury House have been working in partnership with Funarte for many years and have also hosted Nicaraguan volunteers in Mayfield on EVS programmes. The theme of the this project was The Environment, and each of the groups researched animal and plant life in their local area and globally that are at risk from extinction in preparation for creating the sculptures. The participants wanted to express the colour, variety and beauty in nature, and why it is so important that we are good to the environment and all of the living creatures around us.

Facilitators: Vanessa Maumelat, Orla Borreye and Laura Wade (Ireland) With support from the staff of Funarte. Participants: Groups of children in Estili and neighbouring towns that Funarte work with.


HOW DID WE DO IT? MCAC ART ACTION TOOLBOX: CASE STUDY of Papier Mache Sculpture

Step 1: Getting Started

We decided together with the children that we wanted to use recycled materials and focus on the environment and the animals around us. We began by making small and easy sculptures of fish and birds. To create a sculpture of a fish flatten a plastic bottle and cut the mouth piece off two other plastic bottles (it’s better to get an adult to do this). Tape the two mouth pieces onto the flattened plastic bottle to create the eyes. Cut out fins and a fish tail from plastic or card and tape this to the flattened bottle. Dip strips of newspaper into the glue & water and paste onto the bottle. Build up two to three layers, leaving each layer to dry before beginning a new one. Finally paint or cover in a collage.

Step 2: Creating Large Sculptures

To create birds we used the same process we used for the fish, but we didn’t flatten the bottles and we scrunched up newspaper for the head, and cut out wings instead of fins! To create large sculptures (e.g. elephants) we cut out an elephant shape from strong cardboard. We used images of a side profile and front profile of an elephant to draw the shapes. We cut out each part seperately: the main body, the legs, the head, the ears and the trunk. Then we made cuts half way into each shape so that they slotted into each other and the frame could stand by itself. We did this part without the children because it involved using blades. We then taped the frame to a large piece of cardboard on the ground.

Step 3: Finishing & Exhibiting the Sculptures We began building up the legs of the elephant by taping newspaper and other materials to them to make them strong. We completed the papier mache layers on the legs before working on the rest of the sculpture. We then bulked out the remainder of the sculpture with newspaper and plastic bottles and covered it all in 3 layers of papier mache, and finally painted it. A collage of magazines would have also looked great but we didn’t have access to these materials at the time. We exhibited the sculptures in the city hall in Estilli, hanging the birds and fish from the ceiling, and placing the larger free-standing sculptures around the space so that people could walk around them and enjoy them from different perspectives.


MCAC ART ACTION TOOLBOX: CASE STUDY of Papier Mache Sculpture

IMAGES OF THE FINISHED WORK


Art Action Case Study: Papier Mache Sculpture