The future artists of Huddleston Elementary looked to the past to learn a new way of painting. Art teacher Lori Fulton taught 4th graders all about Amate bark paintings, a traditional Mexican art form, and led them through creating their very own.
Before they got to work on their own masterpieces, students viewed and discussed a PowerPoint presentation with many examples, and they even got to see and touch original paintings their teacher had purchased in Mexico.
The students learned that the paper for Amate bark paintings is made by stripping the bark from fig, nettle, or mulberry bushes and boiling it in a vat of water mixed with ash where the bark is softened to a pulp. The pulp is then poured onto a wooden board where it is pounded with a rock to mesh the fibers together. Once dry, the paper is cut into sheets for the creation of paintings.
The process of creating the paper dates back to ancient Mesoamerican cultures, and the original purpose of the paper was to create a strong paper that would stand the test of time for record keeping, rituals, histories, and economic exchanges.
The Hounds imitated the process by using brown butcher paper to draw their designs, inspired by the book “Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico.” Once their designs were drawn, students outlined them with black Sharpie and painted them using brightly colored fluorescent paint. After they dried, they wadded up their paintings and ironed over them using wax paper. This technique of adding texture and wax enabled students to imitate the texture of authentic Amate bark paintings.