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Behind the Scenes: Creating a Winter Whimsical World

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Behind the Scenes: Creating a Winter Whimsical World

By Helen Cherry Guest Blogger As the days grow shorter and darkness descends on us earlier and earlier, head down to the museum to see “Winter’s Whimsical World” in the museum’s lower level lobby. This wonderful guest lantern display filled with imaginary human and animal sculptures was created by 17 Hawken High School art students and their teacher Denise Buckley and will bring a smile to your face and a warm glow to your soul. The installation is part of the Winter Lights Lantern Festival for 2011. For the past few years, Denise has offered a Parade the Circle course at Hawken, where the students design, create and participate in this annual summer event organized by the museum. This class has become one of Hawken’s most popular art offerings. When looking to bring new artists to the Lantern Festival, Robin Van Lear, Artistic Director for the museum’s Community Arts department, immediately thought of these talented students. With Hawken’s recent opening of a University Circle Campus, it was clearly a perfect collaboration. In only four weeks, working after school and on weekends, the student artists created a magical display conjuring up primitive, fanciful images and icons from the past. Using chicken wire and wood to construct the structure, figures and animals, they were then covered with gauze followed by coatings of a mixture of three types of recycled wax. The heads and faces were sculpted in clay, plaster molds were cast from these pieces and then the plaster was coated with the layers of wax and gauze. When dry, the masks were carefully cut, lifted off and then reconstructed. As the display was assembled, many of the sculptures were lit from the inside creating a beautiful, warm glow and heating the wax just enough to put the lovely scent of beeswax in the air surrounding it. “Winter’s Whimsical World” will be on display in the museum thru January 2, 2011. As always, admission to the museum is free of charge. [slideshow]