Plaster Carving Lesson Plan

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					3D-1                                               Grade Level: 9-12

                            Plaster Carving



Time

Three-Four Weeks

ESLRs

   1. Think critically and solve problems.
   2. Access, process and apply information.
California Standards

 2.1     Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective
         use of the elements of art and the principles of design.
  1.4 Analyze and describe how the composition of a work of art
         is affected by the use of a particular principle of
Objectives:
         design.
    o To introduce students to a sculpture technique that
       involves the subtractive process of carving.
    o Students will produce a carved sculpture.
Vocabulary:

   1. subtraction, subtractive - Subtraction is the act of
      removing. In art, an action is subtractive when it produces
      subtraction, as of some materials in carving, for example.
      Materials especially appropriate for subtractive sculpture
      in schools include clay, chalk, plaster, soft salt blocks,
      artificial sandstone, soap, and wax.
   2. carving - The technique of cutting and abrading the surface
      of a block of material to shape it into a particular form.
   3. abstraction and abstract art - Imagery which departs from
      representational accuracy. Abstract artists select and then
        exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world
        around them. Abstract sculptors include Henry Moore,
        Barbara Hepworth, and Jean Arp.




Plaster Carving                                            M. Fisher
3D-1                                               Grade Level: 9-12




Materials List:

Equipment/Special Materials:

    o   Oil Clay and Oil Clay Tools
    o   Plaster of Paris
    o   Fine-textured vermiculite
    o   Water, bowl, measuring container
    o 1/2 gallon cardboard milk/oj containers or 32 oz. Styrofoam
        cups (to be used as molds)
    o   Plastic knives
    o   Gallon size plastic bags
    o   Clear acrylic sealer and gold, silver, brass, copper spray
        paint
    o   shoe polish & car paste wax
    o   old knives, forks, spoons, old clay tools like the double
        loop
   o black powdered tempera paint mixed in with plaster and rub
      with gold rub & buff afterward
   o black or burnt umber wash (antique it after spray painting)
Motivation:
      and wipe off
  1. Powerpoint Demonstration of Examples
  2. Real Life Student Examples
  3. LCD Projector/Laptop




Plaster Carving                                            M. Fisher
3D-1                                             Grade Level: 9-12


  1. Michelangelo spoke of freeing the human forms that were
     imprisoned in the marble he carved. He felt they were
     inside there, just waiting to be discovered.
  2. Begin by showing Powerpoint presentation illustrating
     examples of plaster sculptures.
  3. Describe the words subtractive sculpture & carving.
  4. Talk about the elements of design and how they are at work
     in the artwork.
  5. Show examples of abstracted/non-objective art and have
     students notice the emphasis on shape and form.
     (Optionally, show examples of primitive sculptures.)
     Explain that students will be carving into a soft, crumbly
     material that is not especially suited to highly detailed
     work, and they must, therefore, plan simple designs.




Questions:

  1. What kinds of forms seem to work best in carving?
  2. What should you do if a part of your sculpture breaks off
Demonstrations/Examples:
     during carving?
  1. Personal Example
  2. Jean Arp, Henri Moore
  3. Safety Demonstration: Carving
The Bridge Statement:

The subtractive method of sculpture can result in many
“mistakes.” It can provide very rewarding results. Use what you
know about the principles and elements of design to create an
abstract plaster sculpture.




Plaster Carving                                          M. Fisher
     3D-1                                                       Grade Level: 9-12

     Procedures:

     Objectives
        o   To introduce students to a sculpture technique that involves the
            subtractive process of carving.
        o   Students will produce a carved sculpture.


     Materials
        o   Plaster of Paris
        o   Fine-textured vermiculite
        o   Water, bowl, measuring container
        o   1/2 gallon cardboard containers or 32 oz. Styrofoam cups (to be used as
            molds)
        o   Plastic knives
        o   Gallon size plastic bags
        o   Clear acrylic sealer
        o   shoe polish & car paste wax
        o   old knives, forks, spoons, old clay tools like the double loop
        o   black powdered tempera paint mixed in with plaster and rub with gold
            rub & buff afterward
        o   gold, silver, brass, copper spray paint
        o   black or burnt umber wash (antique it after spray painting) and wipe
            off


     Evaluation (worth 150 points total)




25 points Abstract form which resembles clay maquette
25 points Variety of texture
25   points   Form is interesting from all views
25   points   Craftsmanship
25   points   Creativity
25   points   Commitment
150 points           Total



     Plaster Carving                                                         M. Fisher
3D-1                                                       Grade Level: 9-12


1.   Powerpoint Presentation
2.   Clay Exercises
3.   Plaster Demo
4.   Carving Demo & Seeing the Form
5.   Studio Work – Carving
6.   Surface Demo
7.   Studio Work – Surface
8.   Class Critique




Process #1: Exercises in Clay
   1. Mold the clay into a ball. Using the carving tools only (optional),
       interpret the word “calm” in 10 minutes. Texture is very important.
       Your sculptures should contain a variety of textures (smooth, rough,
       bumpy, etc). Place all the sculptures on a table to discuss. Point out
       similarities. What do they have in common? Are any different from the
       others? Take your sculpture and make it into a ball again (if there is
       only a small amount of clay).
   2. Interpret the word “angry” in 10 minutes. Place it on the table to talk
       about it.
   3. The third sculpture is “love.” No lips, no hearts, no people kissing;
       simply a symbol for love to be sculpted in 10 minutes. Again, place it
       on the table. Wide variations will occur this time. Why?
   4. Now think of which form was most appealing to you. This will be your
       maquette for your plaster carving project.


Process #2:


   1. Mix plaster, vermiculite and water according to these ratios: 3 parts
       vermiculite, 2 parts Plaster of Paris, 2+ parts water. Mix together dry
       ingredients in a large bowl or bucket. Add water, and let sit until it
       stops bubbling (a minute or two). Mix well with hands, squeezing out
       all the lumps. (If a quart measuring container is used, the ratio will



Plaster Carving                                                      M. Fisher
3D-1                                                       Grade Level: 9-12

       be 3 qts. vermiculite, 2 qts. Plaster of Paris, 2 qts. + about 1/2 cup
       of water. This will yield four 32 oz. cup molds.)
   2. After mixing, immediately pour into cardboard cartons or 32 oz.
       Styrofoam cups and tap sides of the mold to bring air bubbles to top.
   3. Allow to harden (at least over night) and cover molds with plastic bags
       to keep fresh until ready for use. (If sealed in a gallon ziplock bag,
       this mixture will remain soft enough to carve for at least four weeks!)
   4. When the mixture has hardened, carefully remove mold.
   5. As the material is very soft and will still be very damp, a plastic
       knife is a good carving tool. When the work is finished for the day,
       return it to the plastic bag to keep it moist until the next class
       period.
   6. Students may carve by setting the block inside of a shallow box (a
       copier paper box lid is ideal) as this will contain the mess. The
       carved material may then be dumped out in a trashcan OR it can actually
       be modeled with the hands to create another sculptural form.
   7. Once the desired shape is achieved and the stray crumbs have been
       carefully brushed away, allow to dry. This may take several days,
       depending on the heat and humidity. As the work dries, it will become
       lighter in color, lighter in weight, and will no longer feel cold or
       damp to the touch.
   8. Apply a surface of some kind, if desired, and mount on a wooden base
       (optional).


Plaster Carving Directions:


   1. Mix plaster until it is the consistency of cream. Add vermiculite
       (approximately two cups per quart). Pour into the carton, tapping it
       gently on the table to eliminate air bubbles. Allow the plaster to
       harden overnight.
   2. Peel the carton from the hardened form.
   3. Work on newspaper, and use a rasp or knife to take away plaster from
       the outside. Carving takes patience, and trying to take away large
       amounts may break the form. Try to make curves or twisting forms, to




Plaster Carving                                                       M. Fisher
3D-1                                                       Grade Level: 9-12

       avoid a stiff-appearing sculpture. Even thought sculptural carving is
       done with hard materials, most sculptors try to suggest movement.
   4. Keep turning the sculpture, making it interesting from all sides. Stand
       back and carefully look at the work, asking a friend to turn it for
       you. Generally sculpture is tapered inward at the bottom to suggest a
       finished piece.
   5. When you are satisfied that if you take away any more material, the
       piece will be ruined, use sandpaper to somooth the plaster. Begin with
       coarse sandpaper, then use fine sandpaper to finish it totally. The
       sanding could be done outside, although a newspaper contains most of
       the dust.
   6. Coat the finished piece with thinned polymer medium for a glossy
       finish, use shoe polish as a stain, or spray paint it with metallic
       paint.


How to:


To mix the plaster, fill a small plastic bucket or other container no more
than one-third full of cold water. Now sift the plaster of paris through your
fingers into the water. Keep adding the plaster until it stands above the
water in dry peaks. This will take awhile, because the plaster will keep
sinking. In order for the plaster to mix properly with the water, however,
it's important to add the right amount.


When you reach this stage, you can mix the two together with your hand. Stir
the mixture gently, and squeeze out any lumps that may occur. As soon as the
plaster is mixed to a smooth, creamy consistency and covers your hand, pour
it into a your milk carton/container. Tap the bottom of the container on a
flat surface to release any trapped air. Depending on how much you mixed, you
may have enough to fill two or more cups.


The plaster will harden in just a few minutes. When the block is ready, peel
the cup away, and discard the pieces. You can plan your model by drawing
several views of the sculpture and then transferring a rough sketch onto the
block. If you prefer, you can make a direct carving by improvising as you


Plaster Carving                                                      M. Fisher
3D-1                                                       Grade Level: 9-12

work. Use the table knife and spoon to create the sculpture. You'll notice
that the plaster may be warm. This is because mixing the plaster with water
causes a chemical reaction which gives off heat. The plaster will be soft, so
working with the block is easy at this stage. It will take several hours to
do the carving.


This kind of sculpture is called a sculpture in the round. People will be
able to look at the model from all sides. For that reason, you should turn
the work as you carve, and try to make it interesting from any view. Consider
making a hole at an angle somewhere in the work. Remember, Henry Moore liked
to use holes or voids in his sculpture. This lets light in, and helps cast
interesting shadows. The plaster will be dry when the sculpture no longer
feels cold when you touch it. After you're done carving and the work is dry,
you're ready to smooth the model. Depending on how rough the sculpture is,
finish it with metal rasps, files, screen wire, and/or sandpaper.


Important Notes:


If you want to make a larger sculpture, substitute a quart or one-half gallon
paper milk carton for the polystyrene cup. When the plaster sets up, just
peel away the carton and discard.


Mixing plaster properly takes a little practice. If the mixture is too
liquid, it will take a long time to set up, and the finished block will be
weak. On the other hand, if you add too much plaster of paris to the water,
it will be too thick, harden very fast, and it will be difficult to use.


Never mix plaster in a metal container, because you will be unable to remove
it or clean the container when the plaster hardens. Also, be very careful
about cleaning up after working with the material. Plaster can clog sink
drains! Clean your hands by wiping the plaster on a rag or paper towels, and
then rinse in a bucket of water. To remove plaster from the mixing container,
wait until it dries, and then scrape it into a trashcan.




Plaster Carving                                                     M. Fisher
3D-1                                               Grade Level: 9-12




Closure:



Examine and discuss the themes used in the student artwork and
how the elements and principles of design were applied.


Cleanup:


     1. NO plaster in the sink.
     2. Brush all plaster residue off tables.
     3. Pick up drop cloth in plaster casting area and shake into
        trash can.
     4. All tools must be cleaned.
     5. In-Progress projects go in locker.

Assessment:


1.   Abstract Form which resembles clay maquette
2.   Variety of Texture
3.   Form is interesting from all views
4.   Craftsmanship
5.   Creativity
6.   Commitment




Plaster Carving                                            M. Fisher
3D-1                                              Grade Level: 9-12

Early Finishers:

    1. Are you actually finished? Do you have an “A” project?
    2. You have 3 choices…
          a. Improve your current project.
          b. Make another project
          c. I will give you a job to help out in the classroom.
What Happens to Final Product:

Display in classroom (if student agrees) and then allow students
to take finished product home. Keep a few good projects for the
 art show.
Special Notes for Myself:

As I was not using a quart-measuring container, I sometimes had
small quantities of the mixture left over. I poured this into
small plastic cups and used these as "starter" projects so that
the students could get a feel for the material, the amount of
pressure required to carve it, and the necessity of keeping to
simple designs.




Plaster Carving                                            M. Fisher

				
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