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River Valley students create art with form
3-D class draws in students
Teacher Whitney Still has a class full of monsters.
With fangs, horns and pointy tails, they've been terrorizing her 3-D Art classroom for weeks. Relatively harmless but with an impressive display of creativity, her students' papier-mâché projects are slowly taking shape with claws, gaping mouths and pointy mohawks to become "Screamers" in the style of renowned artist Dan Reeder.
Senior Taylor Massengale was deciding between 10 different sketches when she decided to combine the features of her favorite three. The final product has a concentric swirled body, curlicue antennae and bat-like wings, as well as a scaly tail she added for balance.
"I thought mine was going to stand without a tail, so I guess I learned physics," she said, adding the slow step-by-step project has taught her patience, too. "I was furious halfway through because it wasn't standing and nothing was coming together, but now it's great."
Wrapping wet pink sheet strips around the curls on its head, she said she's pretty impressed with her project and if it stays together, she might bring it with her to college next year to decorate her dorm room.
Freshman Tajveer Thiara said his terrifying idea was to make a pickle with a sombrero. Classmate Dilraj Chauhan, a sophomore, picked a pumpkin.
"At least, I think it's a pumpkin — a pumpkin that comes to life," he said.
The students began their projects a few weeks ago by balling up newsprint and creating wire frames to be covered in strips of paper and cloth. Sealed together with a mix of flour and water, the final layer is fabric, and the teens then paint the monsters to make them come alive.
The project has helped them learn the difference between shape — which is flat — and form, which is three-dimensional; tested their creativity; and offered an opportunity to use the color wheel, Still said. A selection of the finished pieces will be displayed at the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County next spring.
"I am very impressed," Still said. "They are so huge and good, I don't know how I'll decide which ones I want to display and leave out."
Adding another coat of blue to her monster's tail on Wednesday, sophomore Katie Phillips said her final touch will be to paint in the eye of her cyclops.
"I thought it was going to be easy, but when you have to crumple the paper, it's hard," she said of the project's difficulty.
Around her, other students shredded sheets into strips, painted veins into blood-shot eyes and dipped paper intro the papier-mâché mixture to slather onto the sides of their creations.
Freshman Gurveen Gill built a purple two-headed monster that — like many other students' pieces — will need modification so it will stand if she wants to earn full credit. This project has had a definite learning curve, even as simple as the ratio of flour to water, Gurveen said.
"It has to have a certain texture or else it won't stay together," she said. "And you can't just put it together. You have to mâché one by one."
Another difficulty was in taking the idea from a piece of paper and making it three-dimensional.
"It was challenging. I had this generic idea of making a puffball," said junior Jasmeen Pooni, as she painted her creation a bubble gum shade of pink on Wednesday.
Senior Cynthia Guanzon said her inspiration came from a desire to combine a butterfly and an octopus.
"And then I added fangs because I like vampires," she said, as she cut out pieces of cloth for a final layer.
The 3-D art class is the first art class she's ever taken, and she loves it, she said.
"It's a release," Guanzon said. "All my other classes are awful."