Head of School’s Letter

Ancient Egyptians Inspire Creativity

Posted by Joanna on January 7, 2016

The Ancient Egyptians had great passion for life, love and beauty. Lower Elementary students spent several months going back in time to study the lives and culture of the ancient Egyptians during art class. Students learned about the technique of cartonnage which was used to protect and adorn mummified people at the time of their burial. This allowed the spirit, or “ka” to identify their body by using unique death masks.

Enlisting the help of parents, our art teacher took on the ambitious project of creating death masks. Andrea West says, “Creating death masks takes many weeks and must be carefully orchestrated considering the materials and skills required to complete the design.” The students created their armature (the framework for the mold), beginning with a simple mask, to completion of the mold using plaster of paris. Through the creative process of visualizing a design and painting the mask, each student’s individuality shines through in the final product. Our multi-age classes provided inspiration and created challenges, as well. “The older students took on more ambitious designs and ornamentation which allowed the younger students to stretch themselves in ways that they wouldn’t if they were in a same-age classroom.”

I welcome you to come and behold some of the students’ beautiful masks adorning the walls in our hallway. I am delighted that our students engaged in this project, which combined the disciplines of history, design, painting and perseverance. Ancient Egyptian cartonnage is displayed in museums around the world and I know that our students will cherish their masks for years to come.

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