Tuesday, February 22, 2011


3rd grade students learned about  Wood Carvings that are made by decedents of the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico. They watched a video of renowned wood carver Zeny Fuentes making a wood carving of an armadillo. They learned that he likes to create a sense of movement in his carvings along with painting them with colorful patterns.

Students began with a ball of Model Magic and an animal in mind. They used separate pieces of model magic to form a body, head, legs, tail and ears.

After their animal was created, they let it dry so that the Model Magic would become hard and easier to paint.

I also used this lesson as an opportunity to teach color theory and color mixing. Students mixed their colors on paper palettes. They were encouraged to experiment with the mixing to see what colors they could make.

For the first week of painting,  students painted their animal a background color. They could paint the different parts different colors if they chose.

During the second week of painting, after the background color has dried, students created patterns on their animals. They learned by watch Zeny that dots are an important pattern used by the Zapotec Indians on their carvings. Using the tip of the handle of their brushes made excellent dots!

These are some of the finished Oaxacan animals!

To learn more about Zeny Fuentes and Oaxacan Wood Carving visit: http://www.zenyfuentes.com/