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This sculpture made with plastic wrap and packing tape is one of several on display at Farmington High School.

FHS sculpture project is all wrapped up

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FHS sculpture project is all wrapped up
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The heck with using clay or wax or putty for sculptures. Over at Farmington High School, students in Alyson Johnson's Sculpture II class have learned to work with a new medium: plastic wrap and packaging tape.


Creating sculptures in the form of human bodies was something new for everyone, including Johnson. She'd seen similar projects done elsewhere. Some were in the form of dolls. Other times the packaging tape was wrapped around an item and used to make a mold. But she had never had her students do something like this.

She thought it would be interesting for her students to try. The "bodies" were created using plastic wrap as the inner core and the packaging tape to make the outside. Some students chose to add props to their projects. One has wings, one has feathers and another wears a cape and carries a plastic light saber.

"We tried to put lights inside one but we were afraid it would get too hot," Johnson said.

Johnson paired up students for the project, mainly because it took one student to hold the plastic wrap and the other to do the wrapping. The project forced students to work together as a team, which was part of what Johnson used in grading the projects.

Students were asked to draw a design of their proposed sculpture ahead of time. Then, they had to try to manipulate and tape the plastic wrap so it resembled a body, which was easier said than done. That's why part of their grades were based on perseverance, too.

"It took a while for the wrapping to look right, especially on the hands and the head," Johnson said. "It could be frustrating at times so I told them they really had to be patient and they would eventually persevere. It was a matter of how you make something that didn't work into a good mistake."

Just how much packaging tape is needed to make a body? It's a good question.

"My gosh. I know they used six rolls of plastic wrap for each one. On the average, I'd say they used six to almost 10 (rolls of tape) on the figures, depending on what they did," Johnson said.

The class took about two weeks to finish their masterpieces. Once the sculptures were complete, they were posed in locations around Farmington High School.

Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and is the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
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