Michelle Lewis’ Classroom and Papier Mâché Demo

IMG_5904Feb 14, 2018
We were hosted by Michelle Lewis in her classroom at “Glenview” @ 54 th street. As I
walked down the halls I noticed they were filled with beautifully displayed artwork
outside every classroom. (15 classrooms total) Michelle mounts and hangs all of the
artwork from her art classes outside of each of the rooms. The inside of her art room
is filled with an amazing amount of artwork and materials. Michelle seems very
organized and is a great scrounger of art stuff and file cabinets to organize materials
and student work. She is a believer in asking for things and she seems to get it.
She shared projects that she has been working on with her students. She has been
working with an African American Quilt Guild and they have been coming in and
working to make beautiful quilt squares with each of the students in the school.
Again, Michelle asked the Quilt Guild and they have now been working with the
school for about 3 years. Michelle also likes to develop her curriculum inspired by
famous Artists, Haring, and Van Gough, etc. for the students to draw inspiration
from. She did some wonderful mobiles using wire she got from Urban Ore.
Note: Michelle said you can get a gift certificate for 125.00 to be used at Urban Ore if
you bring proof of being a teacher. That is where she got all of her great wire for the
mobile project for free. Check with Urban Ore on the actual requirements.
Jamie did a great demo on paper mache’. He does a section on paper mache’ masks
with his students and brought several beautiful samples, each one was quite unique.
He began this project because when he first started teaching at his current site, he
had zero budget for materials and he thought there was lots of cardboard readily
1. Basically the cardboard is cut into strips and taped in to the shape of the head.
2. Newspaper strips are then coated with paper mache paste and cardboard frame is
covered with 2 to 4 layers of the strips.
(Some folks suggested using white glue and water and also Vano liquid starch was
3. When the masks are dried, apply a coat of gesso to the front and the back.
5. The masks are then painted with acrylic and decorated with beads, buttons, string
and found items.
A couple of things I took away from this were a quote Jamie said;
“How do we make the leap from trash to art?” How do you get students to see how
these recycled materials can be used to create something beautiful and meaningful?
I also liked how Jamie gave the students “homework”; he has students look for
everyday things that could be incorporated in their masks, sticks, bark, old tee
shirts, almost anything.

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