Paper Mache Heads

A trip around the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge always goes down well. Early on in my museums career I had the privileged to actually work there on project to catalogue a load of glass plate negatives collected by Victorian anthropologists in exotic destinations like the Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea.
I spent my days looking at fabulous images of natives re-enacting head-hunting scenes and so forth. It was fabulous, I met lots of well known archaeologists and anthropologists and got to go out for lunch with them. I worked in an inspiring place, where I felt as sense of wonder every time I walked through the door and I could afford to buy a few new dresses. Anyhow, every so often we go back to have a look at the latest temporary exhibition or just to look at the stuff. Toddler boy is amazed by the totem pole and I still love looking at the Inuit artifacts.
Last time we visited, they had a new exhibition which included this series of sculptures of heads. I won’t go into their significance and history here. Suffice to say that I found them inspirational in an artistic way. So, I present my idea for a kids project: Papier Mache Heads. Yes, I know this has been done a million times before, but you have to admit, if they are presented like those at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, they look rather cool!
Step 1; Blow up a balloon
Step 2; Cut up lots of paper into strips
Step 3; Mix up the Papier Mache paste stuff. I think you can do this two ways; 1 part flour, one part water mixed together or 3/4 glue to 1/4 water all mixed together.
Step 4; Stick the paper onto the balloon using the mixture, mould the features and so forth
Step 5; Wait till dry
Step 6; Paint however you like!
Step 7; Display in your own mini art gallery
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4 Responses

  1. Womanatwork 21st August 2009 / 7:26 am

    My husband made Joel a papier mache airship and he totally loves it. It's lasted ages too.

  2. Mark 21st August 2009 / 5:55 pm

    Paper mache heads are great for kids. If you cover a balloon and cut the resulting globe in half they also make great masks – best attached to a stick like the masks at regency balls!<br><br>Nice to see someone blogging about museums too – I find that my kids love the simple ones – none of the electronic gimmicks; just plain old artefacts plonked on display. My favourites are the British Museum

  3. zooarchaeologist 21st August 2009 / 7:33 pm

    Boobs! An airship, thats a cool idea…<br>Mark: I used to work at the NHM so i&#39;ve even been behind the scenes at Tring. Yes its fab! I have written a few posts on this blog about it.<br>Even better though, ive been to the Ancient Egypt store and the Mummy store at the BM- Indiana Jones eat your heart out. <br>You have inspired me to write more about museums- watch out everyone!

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