A moose is a moose…unless it is a piece of art…

I have this tendency to do “interesting” er,  ahem, things and perhaps things that regular folks don’t tend to do, like use doors and regular old rocks for mosaics, or driftwood for wall art. I truly believe that allowing the creative process to break free in unique ways is part of not only my spirit and soul as an artist, but also part of my duty as an educator. One of my students proved to enjoy making overly large paper mache items. When it came time for our winter themed creations, with visions of all things Canadiana and Christmas bouncing around in my brain, out of my mouth popped, “so___, how would you like to make a moose?” A MOOSE?!? sigh..silly me for within 15 minutes he had taken a rather large garbage bag, stuffed it, and had it shaped for the rather enormous, almost life-sized head of well, a MOOSE! What to do, what to do…and I mean really, what do you do with an almost life-sized head of a moose when working within the confines of a classroom space and a number of other students, other projects etc. When in doubt, get someone who knows how to build things. A colleague of mine fashioned a small pony sized wooden saw horse to use a substrate and the real work began, scaling down the head somewhat, adding paper, sculpting with more paper and tape, adding antlers and ears, then layer after layer of gooey wet paper to seal the thing together. A coat of gesso and it appears ready to go. Even if not the most anatomically correct, it is rather LARGE and rather cute, my little albino classroom companion. The next steps involved figuring out what to do with him. Should I/we paint him in a realistic manner? Should he be turned into an interpretation? If you have ever been lucky enough to see the moose in Toronto, those fabulous artistic creations, then you would know the dilemma. In the end, we decided to go with a First Nations art influence and celebrate our Canadian First Peoples. From Ontario, we are interpreting the Woodland School style and from the west most definitely some Haida. When it is complete, is should be a figure standing for both our environment and people…we shall see what unfolds as we progress. Note to self, never, ever make suggestions when the mind is occupied with things or the heavens know it we will be building giant elephants and rain forests.

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