The 2 part clay/epoxy mixture is what was expensive and time consuming, but necessary in order for the piece to be put outdoors. In order for the mixture to harden equal parts had to be mixed together! So each student had to properly mix their white and gray clay together. This is what the whole entire tree is covered in so it definitely took a lot of this! Each piece had to be check to make sure their were not any spaces that were left not covered.
Painting the pieces was next in the process. Students had a lot of fun with this. Naomi had brought in many of her personal paints for the students to use. She did a fabulous job of show the students how to mix colors and create shadows without using the color black.
Some pieces were painting right on the newspaper which also gave a really beautiful effect with the newspaper showing through. These pieces were used as part of an indoor piece that was mounted to the wall.
So this is what the tree armature started as! The students had fun seeing a piece of metal transformed into a realistic tree trunk.
Each tree branch was removable so that we were able to fit it out of my classroom! Each piece had a hole drilled in it and that is were the wire was attached. Each spot where the wire was also had to be epoxied. Naomi and I ended up with a lot of scratches after this step because we had to wrap each piece of wire onto the tree!
The tree of life on the back ledge was the inspiration for our project. Danz Elementary had a very diverse population and about 60% of our student population is Hispanic. The tree of life was Naomi's that her family had actually gotten from Mexico.
The resin had to be done once the students were on Summer Vacation because it is a very toxic smelling material that we had to wear masks and clothing covering all of our skin. It took us about 6 hours one evening to get the entire tree resined.
In order for the tree to be supported we dug a 3 foot hole and filled it with cement and then also had a base slab poured at the same time. We had a template made with where the bolts were set into the wet cement. When the cement was dry we were able to put the metal base of the tree (that had holes drilled in it) on top of the bolts. The tree was EXTREMELY heavy . . . it took 8 people t carry it from my room to the garden so we needed to make sure it was secure and it definitely is not going anywhere! The finished tree is about 10 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter.