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Arts & Activities - Page 14

ost of us have worn a mask at one time or another. Masks can represent so many things, such as emotions (happy, sad, fearful) and power. The familiar “comedy and tragedy” masks, derived from ancient Greek theater, are just one example from mask histor y. Death masks from the ancient Egyptians influenced the ancient Romans into creating similar masks for their departed. Masks can represent many things: animals, gods or even past kings. And, of course, there is King Tut’s familiar and opulent goldinlaid death mask, from about 1343 B.C. African masks can not only distinguish different tribes, areas and animals, but also signify fertility, social place, etc. The wooden masks of Mexico have always intrigued me—such as the sharp horns and red face of El Diablo sculpted with a frightening expression. The masks of “Carnival”—a festive time celebrated just prior to Lent—have their roots in France and Venice, Italy (Carnevale di Venezia), and have spread to Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. My childhood was filled with masks: The Good (Lone NATIONAL ART STANDARDS M Clay Mask by David L. Gamble Workshop • • Understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. Understand and apply media, techniques and processes. LEARNING OBJECTIVES Second-grade through adult students will . • • • • • • • • create a clay mask with minimal tools. create and decorate unfired masks with vitreous engobes. learn about masks of various cultures. Masks shown are from art-teacher workshops in Florida, Georgia and Alaska. MATERIALS Moist, red, low-fire clay Wire clay cutter Canvas-covered boards, bats or thick cardboard 2-ounce applicators Fettling knife (or ordinary butter knife) • • • • • White casting slip and empty pint jars Velvet underglazes Newspaper Half-inch and 1-inch bamboo brushes Scratch tools EXTENSION IDEA For an “integrated curriculum” approach, students could be asked to create a presentation about their chosen mask and the culture from which it comes. Images found on the Internet could be included for visual interest. februar y 2012 14 x

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