This afternoon, Handsome wanted to start putting the paper mache on his dinosaur.
For those of you who may not know, my son decided one day to begin construction (with a little help from dear old Dad) of a 6-foot long T-Rex, made from chicken wire and paper mache. I added in the idea of a basic skeleton of PVC pipe - for that story you can check out this link --> "Handsome's Little Project".
He was concerned this morning about a paper mache structure so large. He was worried that it would collapse in upon itself since, as he said "Paper mache is so weak."
I looked up an article on Paper Mache and showed him where they said the stuff has a strength comparable to that of wood. Then I looked up some examples of art made from paper mache. This is the largest example I found:
That gigantic, happy-looking being is a Troll, made entirely of paper mache over cardboard on top of a rough wooden skeleton. Very much like our chicken wire over pvc design, I'd like to point out. It's sitting behind the artist who created it, a very talented woman named Kim Graham. Clicking on her name will bring up her website for you, just in case you were interested in seeing a little more of her work. Including a photo spread of the making of that smiling gargantua sitting behind her in the photo.
Needless to say, Handsome saw this and went a little wild. I'll admit, when I showed this to him I didn't realize I was raising the bar for his expectations about the dinosaur. But not to worry... I think I fixed that. Also inadvertently.
We slapped some rosin paper on the floor in the basement and positioned the chicken wire dino in the middle of the square. We took a Boston Sunday Globe and cut quite a few strips to work with. I got a huge bowl from atop the fridge and mixed up the flour and water, kind of guessing at what kind of consistency would work best for us, and we went down to the basement to start putting a paper mache 'skin' on the T-Rex.
Now, it's been 25 or 30 years since I last made anything with paper mache. I knew I'd forgotten a few things. I'd forgotten the proper mix of flour and water, and I think I had it a little thick. Maybe not, I'm not sure. I'd forgotten what kind of coverage you get for your flour, and we wound up being a little short. I'd forgotten just how slow and difficult it can be to work with paper mache, but at least there's no 'due-date' on this thing; it's for fun.
The one thing I had not forgotten was what a mess this stuff tends to make. Thus the rosin paper on the floor. Thus our wearing clothes from the rag-bag in the basement. I remembered the mess, but forgot everything else.
We left the house this evening with the dinosaur unfinished.
His tail, though, his tail is... well, unfinished.
Almost finished though. The tail, that is. Well, not almost. More like half-way. A little more than half way.
We had to stop, there was no more flour in the house.
I received my shopping order from Handsome himself - 6 more bags of flour for tomorrow.
This may just take a little longer that we thought. Maybe we'll have it done by 2013.
Talk to you later!