I’m so excited to share these paper mâché sculptures made by my art campers back in 2019. They were inspired by the studio of Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, a real-life couple who live in Brooklyn and have a young daughter named Tove, and who work collaboratively as CHIAOZZA.
Let me tell you more about them and about this project…
Adam and Terri met at a karaoke bar and immediately began to collaborate by playing drawing games. One is an architect and one is a painter, and together they have created a plethora of art together with one central theme: play. Their playful approach, and inspiration from nature, have made their work unique in it’s pure joy and freeform delight.
We based our pieces on their series called The Cartoon Plant Sculptures which are described as a series of objects imagined as 3-dimensional manifestations of 2-D cartoon plant drawings. Check out this interview with Chiaozza to find out more about their history and working relationship (and a peek inside their studio and their adorable daughter), and see their sculptures blown up to giant size at Coachella 2017. So incredible and breathtaking.
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Supplies needed to make Chiaozza inspired paper mâché sculptures:
~ Newspaper or any scrap paper
~ Masking tape
~ More newspaper cut of torn into strips
~ Paper mâché paste (we make hours with flour and water)
~ Wooden base
~ Paper plate or plastic plate for color mixing
~ Brush, glass of water, paper towel for dabbing
How to make Chiaozza inspired paper mâché sculptures:
1. Before my campers arrived, I set out a bunch of paper that I had been saving from packaging, some masking tape, and wire. When they walked in, they saw the CHIAOZZA photos on the wall and we talked about about the artists’ work and life. I always love to print a few words on the wall that correlate with the art and artist we are talking about, as well as expand their vocabulary. The words for CHIAOZZA were Brooklyn, couple, collaborative, playful, sculpture, colorful, organic, and mark-making.
2. After talking about the artists for a little while, they got started on their own creations. Some younger children needed help in getting started, so I showed them how they could crumple the paper, then wrap it in tape to make shapes. Everyone had a different style and technique and they helped each other when needed.
3. Next we made the paper mâché paste using flour and water and making it thick like oatmeal, without the lumps! We used a whisk to make it smooth.
4. I had already pre-cut the newspaper into strips, but the kids can do this with you if you have the time. Next they soaked one piece at a time into the bowls of paste and covered their sculptures. I walked around and made sure that they smoothed down any corners or rough edges sticking out, and showed them that they could tear the strips into smaller pieces for their smaller works.
5. We let them dry overnight. You might even need two days, depending on how thick and goopy the projects are.
6. After they were completely dry, and before my art campers came back, I hot glued their sculptures to a piece of wood. Then I taped the sides, which is optional. I just wanted a clean edge for the unpainted bottom edge.
7. Lastly, the paint! We used acrylics from the tube. I gave them each a plate with some dollops, and encouraged them to mix some new colors.
8. After their first layer was dry, they went back to make some marks in contrasting colors.
I’m so amazed and excited by how they turned out! Next time I think I will have them make these in teams of two, so they can experience that same collaboration that CHIAOZZA does when they work together.
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