We're in the throes of Summer Camp here in the Start in Art Studio, and in last week’s camp session we worked on what I thought would be a Really FUN project, a paper mache and clay sculpture. The week’s theme was “Our Imaginary World” and in this world, the students decided to build an animal that would ride in a Hot Air Balloon’s basket. The balloons and basket were made from paper mache, the animals were clay.
The substrate was a balloon and cardboard structure, and this time I went with a BIG punching-type sized balloon, because these were 9 year olds. They could handle this big plan.
But Plan A wasn’t working. The balloons were big and hard to hold, the materials were drippy, and what was supposed to take just 2 hours ended up taking 4. I had to engineer holders for the balloons so they would be stable. Now we were on Plan B. Plans change!
The students made animals to ride in their Hot-air balloon basket, and when they dried they cracked badly. Animal repair was essential.
The sunny day that I put the balloons out to dry, they started to develop big cracks – I had forgotten that the air inside the balloons would expand, and now there was more repair work to do!
The final day was a flurry of activity as we learned which paint colors required more than one coat. Hair dryers were going non-stop as we finished drying the last coats of paint.
One of the BEST lessons that is learned in the studio is that plans need to change. Problems crop up, and you have to solve them if you want to finish the project.
I think problem-solving skills are so valuable, don’t you?