Monday, 19 March 2012

James and the Giant Peach

Did you ever start a project you wish you hadn't? Hmmm, me too!
It seemed like a good idea at the time: my youngest son was off school with asthma, we had just finished Roald Dahl's magnificent "James and the Giant Peach" and Herbie had done this rather fabulous drawing to illustrate it...

(I love the way kids draw, don't you? Like the wiggly line that is the sea)

Anyway, I got to thinking how it would be really cool to make a model from paper mache - a mobile perhaps that could hang in their bedroom - of the peach being carried along by some seagulls. Ambitious,perhaps, but the boys were very eager!

We started on the gulls first - and following a happy accident (I wanted cardboard, and toilet rolls were the first thing to hand....how very Blue Peter!) realised a very simple seagull shape could be made using two pieces sellotaped together (the larger piece is simply folded under the bird's body)



..or folded above it in this example.

Then, using PVA glue as an adhesive, we covered the cardboard shapes in newspaper to make them sturdier.

And painted them with acrylic paint. I like the way the newsprint shows through!

Now for the peach itself!
Unfortunately the photos I took were too dark to document this part properly, but we covered the most part of a balloon with PVA and several layers of paper (letting it dry before applying the next layer) We left a hole at the top, simply because a peach isn't balloon-shaped, it needed to be more rounded than that. So we left a section at the top of the balloon uncovered, and when the paper mache was dry, and the balloon had deflated, I used long strips of newspaper to cover the hole. Another happy accident ensued: the soggy strips sagged in the middle - which turned out to be a more realistic shape than I was aiming for!
The sunken part would be where the stem would go!

Here's what it looked like painted!

I used a stick for the stem, there was a nobbly bit (technical term) protruding from the bottom of it, so I pushed it right into the paper mache and the branch bit (pointing upwards) prevented the stick from falling out.

Next problem, how to fix it all together! If you are familiar with the story, you will know that the birds carry the giant peach along with spider silk, but I needed something a bit sturdier than that, so I used wire. I stuck one end of a piece of wire into the cardboard gull, and wrapped the other around the stem of the peach. I could then move the birds into position quite easily.


Finally (I'm exhausted just writing this up!) the whole thing was suspended using lightweight jewellery wire.

TA-DA!!!!
The peach is complete!

38 comments:

  1. It is absolutely amazing and fabulous, your kids must be very proud and will treasure it - well done you! (scared to show it to my boys cause they will want to make one too and my paper mache skills are a tad rusty!) :)

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  2. ...the biggest and best peach I have ever seen. I love the seagulls - will they be making an appearance in your work at all?

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  3. wow this is fantastic - same here, if i show that to my little man he will want one too, actually i want one lol :)
    Mantha x

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  4. Fantastic Kirsty, this is brilliant. Your Son must love this! I remember making or rather helping make Easter egg inventions for my Son to take to school, they always took longer than anticipated, some were spectacular! Well done.

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  5. Fantastic! Bet your boys are thrilled with it and no one else will have anything like it.
    ellie
    x

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    1. Absolutely wonderful!!! Thank you so much for sharing this great project you did with your boys. I love the way the seagulls turned out, the newsprint showing through the paint adds so much character to them. And then there is the peach. What's not to love, the gorgeous shape, the colours and then the stick to make the stem. Fantastic.
      Anne xx

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  6. Brilliant - I love it.

    Lucky children !

    Diane. x

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  7. Beautiful,absolutely beautiful and when you get fed up with it, I'll happily give it a home!

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  8. These birds are sublime! THe simpler the better as you so aptly demonstrate!

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  9. Love the book
    and your son looks just like James!
    Your interpritation is spontanious and inspired!

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  10. It's amazing!!! We are all Roald Dahl fans over here. Can we have a peach too please?

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  11. Wow, but will you please keep your super hero mother crafting quite otherwise we will all have to produce one. Now for a great glass evelvator? Or a BFG?
    Arms folded..... Waiting!

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  12. That is absolutely brilliant...what a clever mum you are!!!!

    You'll have to choose the next book carefully if it's going to end up in another project!

    Happy Crafting
    Fleur xx

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  13. Love it Kirsty! My daughter and I are partway through making a papier mache chicken for her easter bonnet. I had forgotten what fun it is!!
    Kate

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  14. I absolutely love this!!! Your wee lads seem to be thrilled too!

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  15. That's amazing - what a great project!

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  16. Fantastic, you have such great ideas.
    Gillx

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  17. Totally brilliant Kirsty and beautifully documented. Literally laughed out loud at intervals : )

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  18. how brilliant...to bring a book to life with crafty making and so much fun! it's amazing!and art!

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  19. Fantastic! Is there anything you can't do?! Lovely write up too x

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  20. So lovely, I'm almost tempted to make one with my children. Except they are teenagers so clearly will not want one.

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  21. This is fantastic, I keep going back to look at the finished peach it is so lovely

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  22. That's the best thing ever! And I totally admire your patience as I've just had to grit my teeth through making a simple tudor house with No 1 and that nearly killed me. Beth (the linen cat)x

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  23. Oh my, I absolutely LOVE this, thanks for sharing.

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  24. so wonderful! I already admired it at "the art room plant"! warm greetings from France!

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  25. This is absolutely fabulous.
    Marvelous.
    When i escape to my favorite island in a couple of weeks, i plan to make my own seagulls (or maybe they will be terns) using your technique.

    Love your creations. And your blog.

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  26. Amazing...how clever, I love Kirsty, you have such a good imagination and oodles of patience!

    Lesley

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  27. Amended version............Amazing..how clever, I love it Kirsty, you have such a good imagination and oodles of patience

    Lesley

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  28. May I just say how very blimmin brilliant that is! I would actually love to have it hanging in my bedroom; gazing at a flock of seagulls and a big peach before drifting off to sleep I imagine would be a rather nice thing to do!

    Fab!

    Love Julia x x x

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  29. Thats most spectacular indeed. I love it

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  30. What a fantastic project! So cleverly made

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  31. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  32. brilliant! that's just ace! all the best projects are the hardest work and with children I think!:)

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