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Constructing Two Papier-mâché Bulls

By: Dustin Wills, Programming Specialist
Over the past two weeks, Karen LaShelle and I have been working on constructing two bulls for an event at Central Market. Karen shared with me an interesting structure created and built by the Morinesio “Festa di Mezza-Notte” Puppeteers in Italy. Karen attended this Italian Mid-summer workshop in 2010.

I built the structure (pictured on the right), and together, Karen and I molded the rough shape of the bull’s head out of hardware cloth. Once that was completed we sculpted clay around the structure and carved the details into the face. We then lathered Vaseline all over it and covered it in saran wrap. Then came the lengthy task of covering the head with papier-mâché – 6 layers of it.

The last step, a very fun step, is cutting directly into the head of the bull, sawing him in half. After cutting it off you pull on the papier-mached structure and it pops right off the clay mold, ready to be glued back together and painted.
Karen did a wonderful job of painting the bull heads, complete with contour, shading and highlights. I spent that time working on constructing the bodies out of coffee-bean bags and hula-hoops. The final product looked amazing, as you can tell from the pictures. The picture, at right, is Karen putting the final touches on Mama Bull with the flower on her head.

Be on the look-out for a blog about Theatre Action Project’s Central Market performance of Ferdinand, the Bull – the spectacle for which these magical creatures were created featuring original music by Freddy Carnes and starring Sarah Rinner, Brian Fahey, Florinda Bryant and Karen LaShelle!

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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