|Beautiful colors and patterning!|
About traditional Oaxacan carvings:
The folk art carvings from the state Oaxaca (pronounced wa-HAH-ka) in Mexico are colorful and unique and steeped in generations of tradition. Carved entirely by hand from copal wood, each piece is then uniquely painted with bright colors and patterns. Carvings can include figures such as mermaids, saints and everyday people or any sort of animal, both real or imaginary.
While this art form is centuries old, it is thought that one carver, Manuel Jiminez popularized the style that we see today. There are many great artists in Oaxaca and their carvings have become so popular they can be seen in museums and private collections from around the world!
This project idea came from the book "A Survival Kit for Elementary & Middle School Teachers," by Helen D. Hume. I have mentioned this book before. The projects are for upper elementary school students and each project has a "teacher page" and a "student page." The original lesson encouraged students to make whatever animal they wanted (there were size parameters), but I wanted to keep the lesson somewhat under control since this was the first time my students would be doing papier maché.
I was able to show them images from two wonderful books: "Oaxacan Woodcarving: The Magic in the Trees," by Shepard Barbash and the children's book, "Dream Carver" by Diana Cohn. Both of these books are wonderful and full of a variety of images that will get student's creative juices flowing! The book by Barbash does contain figures with some cartoon nudity so may not be appropriate for all ages.
- Aluminum foil
- Ripped up pieces of newspaper
- Papier maché paste (recipe to follow)
- Waxed paper sheets
- White tempera paint
- Elmer's glue
- Paint brushes
- Water containers & paper towels
- Acrylic paints