Magazine article School Arts

Fresh Catch of the Day

Magazine article School Arts

Fresh Catch of the Day

Article excerpt

Like most inner-city high school art teachers, I am faced with a limited budget, few tools and little equipment. Tiring of the traditional materials available, such as clay, papier-mache and wire, I became intrigued with Model Magic (TM), a new lightweight modeling compound that air dries to a consistency like that of a Styrofoam coffee cup.

Qualities of the Material

Several qualities of the material led me to view it as best approached as an additive process using pretextured pieces. It can be worked with in thin sheets or layers. A dry layer will readily accept new, wet clay and bond without any slip" or adhesive. It also accepts and holds any kind of imprint. Projects can b worked on over an extended period of time, at various stages of dryness without cracking or breaking.

The students chose as a subject either a bird or a fish. We studied bird and fish images and talked about creating personalities for the subjects through the exaggeration features. I worked ahead of the students on a sample of a bird and a fish t demonstrate textural possibilities.

Forming the Figure

We started with a small wooden base drilled with one dowel hole for the fish and two for the bird. The fish shapes were cut double from tag board, taped together and stuffed slightly with newspaper balls. Bird bodies were formed from twisted newspaper and masking tape. Tag board beaks or fins were added and thin coat of Model Magic was applied to the form. Eyes, feathers, scales, fins and tails were pinched, rolled or cut out and then textured and added to the dried form with slight pressure,

We found that a paper clip with one arm bent straight made a perfect tool for maneuvering the pieces into place and pressing them firmly to the dried clay. …

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