Westminster art projects teach about ancient cultures

Westminster School at Oak Mountain 10th graders John Porterfield, left, sits still while classmates Cooper Reynolds, center, and Daniel Harry use plaster to make a mask as part of a project that help students learn about Egyptian culture. (Photos by Keith McCoy)

Westminster School at Oak Mountain 10th graders John Porterfield, left, sits still while classmates Cooper Reynolds, center, and Daniel Harry use plaster to make a mask as part of a project that help students learn about Egyptian culture. (Photos by Keith McCoy)

By STEPHEN DAWKINS

Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Westminster School at Oak Mountain students are doing more than just learning about Egyptian culture.

While 10th grade students learn about Egypt in their antiquities class, the lessons carry over into art class, where they made their own “death masks” as Egyptians did.

“I try to follow their curriculum with the projects in here,” art teacher Cathye Price said. “When we began, I gave an overview from an artistic point of view about how they did this and why. I’m a big believer in art reflecting culture.”

In teams of three, students took turns providing a mold as the other two applied plaster strips to their faces.

“Make sure there are plenty of layers on these,” Price instructed. “Make sure you’re forming the masks to their faces.”

Before the plaster could be applied, Vaseline was rubbed over eyebrows to make sure the hairs were not pulled out.

Once the plaster strips were in place, the masks were carefully pulled off the students’ faces.

Katie Croushorn was the last one in her group to create a mold for her mask.

“It was a good experience,” Croushorn said and added that the project is an enlightening way to learn about Egyptian culture. “These masks represented their place in society.”

Croushorn and her teammates, Josie Benson and Gracie Lloyd, said they are looking forward to the next step in creating their masks, which will be painting them and applying a bib after the masks have dried for about a week.

“We look at the types of patterns the Egyptians used,” Price said. “Hopefully, in all this process helps them understand the Egyptian mindset.”

Eleventh graders in Price’s art class, who are studying the Middle Ages in literature class, are creating mosaics with stained glass.

The students were asked to create a design with meaning to them, which they will talk about during a presentation to the class.