Mythical Mimicry in Modeling Clay and Linoleum

By Skophammer, Karen | Arts & Activities, November 2006 | Go to article overview
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Mythical Mimicry in Modeling Clay and Linoleum

Skophammer, Karen, Arts & Activities


Students will ...

* point out details used to indicate the personalities of particular Greek gods.

* identify the details included in the backgrounds and be able to explain why they chose those details.

* note which kinds of lines and colors they used and why.

* tell whether they thought their linoleum prints were successful and explain why or why not.

* be able to define the terms printmaking, linoleum, edition, brayer, baren, gouge and discuss Pablo Picasso.


* Paper, pencils and ball-point pens

* Pablo Picasso prints

* Brayers and printing ink

* Plexiglas printing plate

* Linoleum blocks or sheets and gouges

* Wooden spoons or barens


* Examples of freestanding sculptures

* Modeling clay (we used Permoplast[R])

* Styluses, toothpicks and scissors


Students will ...

* describe the god they molded from clay.

* be able to point out the details that make it easy to identify the particular god.

* show how texture has been used to give harmony to the sculpture.

* show what features in the work would help a viewer understand the personality of the god.

* tell whether the sculpture succeeds as a freestanding sculpture. Why or why not?

* be able to define freestanding sculpture and give at least one example of a freestanding sculpture.

When we think of myths and legends, the Greeks come to mind. When the Greeks couldn't understand nature, they began telling stories to try to explain it. The Greeks believed that the gods and goddesses made everything happen here on Earth and that they controlled nature.

Greek myths can be funny, powerful, scary, romantic and courageous. The stories told are myriad. My students were captivated by the many renditions of the gods and goddesses that we looked at. The expressions given to the facial features, as well as the body language of the depictions of the gods and goddesses, made some of the figures appear vain, vindictive, hideous, beautiful, sad, gory, outlandish and so on.

My students began to wonder what they could do with these Greek god and goddess figures beyond drawing them. We decided we would do prints of them to hone our printmaking skills and then try forming them out of modeling clay to revisit the area of sculpture.

PART 1: PRINTMAKING Each student chose a Greek god or goddess to research. Using whatever resources he or she chose, the student looked up facts and tried to find out the personality and the "look" behind the mythical Greek god or goddess.

For example: Uranus was said to have been a horrible father he kept his children captive in caves. King Uranus was a wild-looking god with flailing hair and beard. Known as the god of the sky, he was the first ruler of the universe and father of the Titans.

Athena was born from her father Zeus' head, as an adult and wearing her armor. She was the goddess of war, wisdom, weaving and crafts.

Ares, the son of Zeus, was the Olympian god of warfare. Ares always had on a helmet and was ready for battle. He was quite bloodthirsty. Even Ares' father didn't like him because he was so tough and wicked.

Hades was the ruler of the underworld and the dead.

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