Term: 3 Year: 2008
Photos of opera characters had been on display at the Immigration Museum as part of the exhibition ‘The Masks
The actors wore black muslin over their faces and their masks were high on their heads and their costumes were fabulous
– they looked really impressive. I wanted to work out a way for my grade 5/6’s to make such imposing and amazing
The students started by looking at and discussing lots of things about China and its culture and history. In particular
we looked at costume – warriors, emperors and women at court.
Next, the Chinese Opera masks in Kate Hart’s The Masks of Asia’ Art Pack were studied. The students designed
a mask in their visual diaries. Then some students used Das Modelling Clay to make a miniature mask and others experimented
with Paper Magiclay. Holes were made in the masks with Satay Sticks so that elastic could be used to hold the masks in
place. When dry, the masks were painted with Chromacryl paints. Some muslin had been dyed black, but came out grey.
The students then had to decide how to make a body. Some used cones and poly balls and others dowel rods and plasticine.
Armature wire was wrapped around the cones and sticks to create arms.
Lots of materials were available for the costumes – fabrics, papers, braids, beads and sequins. The students had
to experiment to get their costumes to look the way they wanted.
It took about six weeks to complete the project. The students are proud of their characters and rightly so – they
Brunswick South West Primary