Thursday, October 08, 2015

masks and arrows...

The lower elementary school at Clear Spring School is studying Africa, and the students suggested making African masks from wood in woodshop. They were making paper masks, but upon hearing that the originals were wood, making them in woodshop seemed natural. So I prepared the stock and made a sample mask, but only one student began work on one.  The others were more insistent on practicing whittling in preparation for their overnight camping trip that begins today. My upper school students worked on their arrows and began shaping bows.

The masks are quite simple to make using a coopering technique and hand planes. I ripped pieces 1/4 in. thick  from the side of a 2 x 4 and then cut staves in a uniform length. We beveled the edges with planes until they (when assembled) created a  curved form.  We used masking tape to hold the parts together during a design process in which the student drew a shape on the wood. After designing the overall shape and cutting it with a scrollsaw, we taped the joints with masking tape on one side and then spread glue between the parts on the other. With a well planed joint, glue and masking tape are enough to hold the mask together while the glue sets. When the glue has fully set, the mask will be strong enough for sanding, further shaping, paint, and to serve as evidence of learning.

One of the masks below was one my student designed and made. The others are ones I made for demonstration and fun. Can you guess which is which? Now some of my high school students want to make masks in addition to arrows.

The process of creating useful and/or beautiful works using hand tools and wood is addictive.

Make, fix, create, and share with others the opportunity to learn likewise.

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