Made by Jon Keller
I have always admired the work of Degas ….especially his work with ballerinas , both painting and sculpture. It was that which inspired me to make a paper mache ballerina.
The base is a cutting board , a cheese cutting board to be specific. I drilled a hole through it and used a solid metal knitting needle for the main “backbone” of the frame . It was a tight fit and had to be hammered in . I then let some liquid super glue seep into the very tight space in between the needle and the wood. For the rest of the armature I used wire. I save the wire handles from Chinese food containers, they are srtong and malleable and can be used for many things. By twisting two pieces together it made very suitable armature sections. After I assembled my frame I used paper tape to secure all the joints. The next step was to wrap most of it with aluminum foil followed by more paper tape.
For the paper mache I used brown paper bags . I tear the bags into small pieces, soak the pieces in water overnight , and then , using an immersion blender , blend it until it is the consistency of watery mud. I squeeze out the water through a piece of linen and knead it with a generous amount of white glue.
The paper mache was applied to the frame using manly a butter knife , with the detailed areas done with a clay sculpting tool. It was applied a little at a time, with overnight drying in between applications.
The skirt was made from cheesecloth and the tank top was made with linen ( a cut bedsheet ).
I may or may not paint it. Originally I was planning to put a metallic bronze finish on it , but I like the way it looks as raw paper mache.