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Learn how to make an oceanic ceremonial shield, used to scare away bad spirits, using cardboard, raffia and markers.
Tags:How to Make an Oceanic Gope Board Part 1,art projects,cardboard,ceremonial art,crafts,gope board,jumbobaystudios,Oceania,oceanic art,raffia,tribal art
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We’re going to go to an area of the world when it comes to art known as Oceania and basically, it’s sort of comprises the area of Papua New Guinea. It’s going to be North of Australia and there’s a whole chain of islands in that area Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and that’s the area that we’re going to visit now.
In Papua New Guinea, they actually make this wooden board it’s called the Gope boards and because the people in new Guinea some of the indigenous people are actually head hunters and they do save the skulls of their enemies, and usually they’re put on the special wooden boards that they carved they have long hooks on them. And the skulls are stored on the skull racks. And then they’re placed inside of the ceremonial house where they keep all their other ceremonial objects and religious objects that they would used in their different festivals.
Okay, well if you’re people that believe in spirits and good spirits and evil spirits you have these skulls there in your ceremonial house and though they’re skulls of your enemies. So they have carved this actual boards called Gope boards that are supposed to scare away the evil spirits and the witches that may come in the night to invade the ceremonial house also these are usually male oriented societies, and the men are the ones that spend the night in the ceremonial houses with all the ritual objects, so they want to make sure that they’re actually in a safe place.
So what we’re going to do today is we’re going to make a Gope board, and we’re going to use the different designs and patterns that are typical of Papua New Guinea Gope boards and the shapes are usually shapes that are similar to a surfboard in nature. You can round off the top edges you can add things on the sides or you can add things on the bottom.
The design is kind of up to you, but what I’m going to do is I’ve got this scrap of card board that a kind of you know went scrounging at a local art store and I’ve got empty boxes and I’m going to utilize the entire width of this piece of card board and I think I want to put a little addition on here of like a little stand. The hardest part is getting this symmetrical you see certainly look a lot better when they’re symmetrical. Okay, that looks pretty good.
Now the toughest part of this whole project is going to be cutting out of the card board. It’s a little time consuming don’t try and cut it all in one cut. I tend to come from the outside edge a lot and just take off bits of the cardboard just I’m working because it’s almost impossible to continue with one cut.
Okay, we’re almost finished here. It looks pretty good, so here we’ve got out Gope board basic shape and I’m going to set this aside because what we’re going to do next is create that figurative design that’s typical on most of the Gope boards and the way we’re going to do that is you’re actually going to use your own name. And you want to kind to stay with earth colors because the people in Papua New Guinea used a lot of colors that actually come from the earth. They will take white clay from the earth and smear it on the Gope board to make like white. They used charcoal to make black. They can’t go to the local art store and buy all this nifty colors and paints. So they worked with and make their own colors that they’re going to use.
But you know we’re going to use stuff from the art store, but we want to try and at least stay in the color palette. So what I’m going to do here is, take a brown piece of paper 12X18 inches and fold it in half lengthwise, okay. And the folder edge here I’m going to write my name in cursive okay, and the actual every letter has to set in that folded edge. And you want to kind to space them out because we’re going to be fattening this up later. And it’s going to be important that you have enough space between the letters.
Now I’m going to go ahead and fatten this up real quickly. It does not have to be perfect, but this will help you when you go to do the cutting out portion because you don’t want to —if you cut your letters too thin they have a tendency to come apart, and then you usually end up having to start over. So I’m just fattening this up this is my guide, and you’ll notice that I’m making sort in that all these letters set right on the bottom okay.
This is the same concept when you were younger and you cut out hearts at Valentine’s Day if you don’t cut on right side of the fold or you draw a half of your heart in the wrong place you’re not going to end up with the complete heart you just end up a part of something, and you’ll see that when we cut this out we’re going to have a really interesting looking figure.
So now I’m just going to quickly cut this out carefully but quickly. It will be a whole lot easier if I just get most of this excess paper off of here. Now we’ve got the top part of it cut out, so now I want to go and cutting out these areas here at the bottom of the name. And I’m even cutting these little triangular pieces out of here. You’ll see when it’s open up they’re going to make some interesting openings. Okay, now to cut the openings out of the letters, you just fold them in half lengthwise like the E’s and the H’s and the L’s, the P’s. Okay, now when we open this up we should have an interesting looking creature.
And the next step is going to be to glue this down onto another earthy color. Okay, I just went over with my can of spray glue, and I laid the name design with the bad side of on top of a trash can because you don’t want to go and spray on top of the table otherwise, you’re going to end up with glue all over your work area. So you want to spray the bad side since that’s going to be the side that’s going to go face down and then I’m going to lay this carefully onto the piece of paper and the best way to get something to stick is just to turn it faced down and apply some pressure.
So now I’m going to go ahead and I may cut this out and I’m going to leave about a quarter of an inch border all the way around every part of this creature. We’re almost there and then the last I’m going to have to do is use an exact their knife to cut the centers out of some of these letters. X-Acto knives are great tools for cutting out little detailed areas. What you have to remember about the knife is that the blade is actually on this section here. You want to use the X-Acto knife as if you were drawing with it like you are holding a pencil, and make sure that you are actually getting the sharp part of the blade on the paper.
If you use a knife straight up and down like this, perpendicular to the table what you’re going to do is actually tear the paper not cut it. And another thing you want to make sure when you’re using a knife is that your other hand is above the area you’re cutting on, so in case you slip you’re not going to end up cutting your other hand. And if you’re doing curves sometimes you just have to turn your paper.