Oaxaca, (Wa-Ha-Ka) Mexico's second-largest and poorest state is famous for the creative
folk art of its residents. Originally, Oaxacan carvings were very big and bulky but the work
rapidly evolved into more dynamic forms. Master carvers can now sculpt an entire creature
from one piece of wood.
Paper mache’ is a technical term for creating sculptures with paper. The newspaper is cut or torn into strips, soaked in the homemade mixture of flour, water, glue & salt until saturated. The saturated pieces are then placed onto the surface of an armature (or skeleton) often made of wire mesh, balloons, or rolled, crumbled newspaper and allowed to dry slowly. I had the students make some of the recipe from scratch and they really enjoyed being in charge of that batch! We ended up using most of it for the first couple weeks and then we were attacked by fruit gnats and a horrific stinch. So, we started using the store bought mache' paste after that.