Local artist, Ben McCarl is creating and donating a life size sculpture of the Paper Bag Princess to the Guelph Public Library. And he’s generously inviting members of the community to help bring this beloved Robert Munsch character to life.
My kids and I spent a wonderful hour with Ben in his studio learning about his work, and helping apply a layer of material called Winterstone to the Princess’s wire, foam and metal frame. Ben patiently showed us how to mix the material and the tint with water to create a clay like paste and how to work it into the frame with wooden tools. The Winterstone will dry to look and feel like stone, but will be much lighter. The Princess will be covered with a few coats of Winterstone, sanded smooth and sealed before taking up residence at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. You can sneak a peek of the finished scale model, see the process and learn more about the materials used on Ben’s blog, where he is documenting the entire project.
If you would like to participate in this project (and I highly recommend it!), you can contact Ben directly to book a time to visit his studio. The project will take just a few weeks to complete, so don’t wait! Children should be aged 6 and up and able to do focused, careful work. Ben’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
As we left Ben’s house my kids and I had a great conversation about how art, storytelling, community and kids seem to intersect so seamlessly with this project and how grateful we are to the people who make this sort of experience accessible to Guelph’s kids. Throughout the afternoon Ben treated my kids as fellow artists and made them feel essential to the project. We’re now inspired to try some of this kind of sculpture on our own. And we can’t wait to see ”our” Princess at the Guelph Public Library. Thanks so much Ben!