While researching sculpture project ideas for our Junior Apprentices to create in our Fall, Farm, and Fun class last September, I came across a lesson created by Marion Abrams and Hilary Emerson Lay from the Summer Art Barn for paper-maché llamas. It happened to be National Hispanic Heritage Month, so we decided it would be a perfect project to inspire our own llama sculptures.
The difference between a llama and an alpaca, according to ModernFarmer.com, is more than just their appearance. "For more than 5,000 years alpacas have been bred for fiber, while llamas have been bred–for the same amount of time–as pack animals and meat." Llamas have long banana-shaped ears, course fur, and slightly longer faces than their fine-haired cousin, the alpaca. This was good news since longer faces and longer ears would be easier for little fingers to construct.
To begin our process, we rolled a full piece of newsprint into a tube, folded it into the shape of a head and neck using a small styrofoam egg as an armature, and used masking tape to secure the shape. We used more tape to secure the base of the neck to a large styrofoam egg to create the shape of the body. Then we folded small rectangles of recycled book pages into ear shapes by folding the top left and right corners, and used masking tape to attach it to the top of the head.
If you are doing something similar at home, remember to insert the four 4" nails for the legs and create a folded paper tail and secure it to your animal BEFORE you begin the paper-maché process. If you forget, you can add them after the maché and then add several more layers of paper-maché on top. We made a simple maché from watered down white glue and colored tissue paper.
Once this dried, it was time to add all the colorful details.
We made pompoms, tassels, and saddles. We decorate with sequins, felt, jingle bells and googley eyes.
Young Art Enthusiasts tried this project too. While slightly less elaborate, they were equally as precious.