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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Putting words in their mouths

The children from the little school of horrors have to make a five minute presentation about the project we have just finished to the rest of the schools in their cluster group. Ideally the children would have prepared this themselves but disheartened by the reports of their peer group's attempt at research and concerned by their teacher's lack of classroom time I decided to write it for them. So, if you are interested, here is an overview of the complete project.

Child one: When I grow up I could be an architect. ThatÂ’s an artists who designs buildings

Child two: When I grown up I could be a fashion designer. ThatÂ’s an artist who designs clothes.

Child three: When I grown up I could be an automotive designer. ThatÂ’s an artist who designs cars.

Child Four: When I grow up I could be a product designer. ThatÂ’s an artist who designs packaging.

Child Five: Our artist and maker for this project, Sally Webster, explained to us that practically everything manmade we use in our daily lives was designed by an artist. That means there are lots of career opportunities for artists.

Sally told us that the best way to become an artist was to work hard at school and then apply to art school.

Sally herself became an artist by a different route. She studied art as a mature student after running a free newspaper in Glasgow. Today she has two jobs. Working as a community artist and using her artistic eye to buy jewellery for her shop.

Child One: Our topic for this project was the environment and we looked at several ways of making puppets from recycled materials.

The first puppet we made was a life sized Jumping Jack. We lay on the floor on top of a big piece of paper while our partner drew round our body. Using junk mail and old newspapers we collaged our puppetÂ’s skin and clothes. To make the puppet move we cut off its arms and legs and re-attached them with paper fasteners. Now our puppets will dance if you pull the strings attached to their backs.

Child two: Next we made a string puppet inspired by the TV cartoon series Futurama. Our puppet is based on Bender the Robot and is made from a plastic bottle stuffed with old crisp packets. His safety pin arms and legs are held in place with elastic bands covered with silver paper tubes. His shoulders are attached to the wooden control by two strings while another string runs from one hand, through the control and back to the other hand. To stop your puppetÂ’s strings from becoming tangled you should spin it round before you put it back in its box.

Child three: Our barking bottle dog puppets are made from one small and one large plastic bottled connected by a piece of bicycle tyre. Holes were drilled in the bottles through which we guided pieces of string. Onto the string we threaded some cardboard tube held in place by coffee cup lids. Our dogs have cable tie tails and fabric ears, tongues and collars. Their eyes and noses are made from bottle tops and buttons.

Child four: We finished our project with a crazy paper mache head moulded round another plastic bottle and an empty thread cone. modelingelling the faces we dressed our heads up with hats and jackets made from paper doilies. A paper mache head can be the starting point for all kinds of puppets. This one has been made into a rod puppet by adding some sash cord and garden cane.

We enjoyed our time with Sally and look forward to playing with our recycled puppets.


MargaretR said...

Sally, have you considered writing a book for teachers or maybe a book for the general public would sell more? When I was teaching I always looked for books full of ideas. I would have loved your blog if I was teaching to day. I still love it and I'm not teaching.

grumpy said...

You are very kind Margaret. I'm always surfing looking for art ideas too. Last night at the Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre I bought a great book. Here is the author's site.
The drawings on the front conver are repeated throughout the book. Very cartoon-like and simple. I always respond better to pictures than the printed word and am looking forward to building up my range of simple puppet types.

Carol said...

Reading all the projects together really brings home how much you have done with the children, They are so lucky to have had you in thier lives, your ideas are so much fun, I have really enjoyed the whole process

judypatooote said...

Very Interesting....I always look forward to seeing what you come up with next....I can tell you love kids....and have PATIENTS......