Sunday, October 25, 2009

Paper mache 101

Some of the homeschooling families in our town (and many from our church) are getting together this year to do an art class once a week in the trailer next to our house. We were invited to join but alas, it is right in the middle of my kids' nap times. We made an attempt to go for a few sessions but I quickly realized that it fell into the all too common "mom's overly ambitious goals for us" category. The first day we straggled in 15 minutes late (me having nursed the LS too quickly and dragged the boys up from their naps too hurriedly) and walked into the instruction on how to make AMAZING paper mache creations. Tanesa, the wonderful artist/teacher, was in the middle of describing how to tape foam pieces to your balloon to make incredible shapes and animals. I was thinking we'd slap a few strips of newspaper on a balloon and head home. Wow, was I wrong. So I took my 3 charges (much younger than most of the other budding artists) in hand and started getting us all covered in paper mache. Mr. T really got into the process for a little while but unfortunately 1) he had chosen to do a cow for which I made horns 2) our flour/water mix was more water than flour and 3) I learned that small balloons are actually harder to cover with paper mache strips than big balloons. So whether or not the boys were learning anything (other than how mom looks when she is stressed beyond the breaking point), mom was getting an incredible lesson in how not to do paper mache in this art class. O Boy was (in character) very meticulous about his tearing and covering and actually did a very fine job. But the Little Sweetie and her wanderings around a very dirty trailer, as well as the boys' waning attention spans, finally drove us home. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening finishing the animals. It was actually extremely relaxing and I told Phil I thought I'd take up paper mache as my new hobby. Someday. Animals covered, we then went back a few weeks later to paint them. This time I decided to abandon all attempts to get there on time and we rolled in at 3:45; 15 minutes before they wrapped up. O Boy really enjoyed slowly covering his bear in paint but Mr. T was not in a painting mood so I (with the LS in a backpack this time) quickly helped them finish painting their animals as the other moms were cleaning up around me. Phew. Project completed. These animals have rolled around on our kitchen counter for a few weeks now and I finally decided the time had come to toss these priceless works of art. So the obligatory pictures were taken and another exhausting chapter in our lives was brought to a very messy close.

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