Continuing with the theme of “Creating Characters,” 5th grade artists have been exploring the art of the puppet. After viewing examples and discussing the ways puppets have contributed to cultural and social movements, students began to make their own handcrafted paper mâché hand puppets. Their options for inspirations included visions of their future selves or who they would be if they were an animal (most chose an animal, or combined the two options).
The process began by creating base forms of newspaper held together with masking tape, with tagboard tubes to create the puppets’ neck. At this point, it was difficult to envision how these could transform into beautiful, expressive characters! Our artists pushed through, using tagboard and newspaper to build up their forms into dynamic sculptural creations with noses, snouts, foreheads, horns, ears, cheeks, mouths, and more! The next step was applying multiple layers of paper mâché, working to create a smooth, even and durable surface. Artists then painted their puppets, showing expression, personality, and mood through the eyes, eyebrows, and mouths of their characters. Moving forward, artists will sew “outfits” for the puppets using salvaged fabric scraps and then attach the two pieces to create a finished puppet.