Emiliano does not like sticky papier-mâché. Last year, he was impatient with any projects like papier-mâché that required multiple steps. This spring, teaching artist Masa Kawahara worked with Emiliano on a puppet-making project that Emiliano nearly quit in frustration. Masa worked through the problem with him step-by-step, and when the puppet was complete, Emiliano proudly showed it off to his mother.
Finally, this past summer, Emiliano worked on a project combining mask-making and stilt-walking. Unlike papier-mâché, every day he asked Masa when it would be time for stilting. In class, Emiliano became more patient, and followed directions more carefully—exactly the behavior that was impossible for him last year.
Emiliano was the first student up and stilting in his group. With joy and care, he created a bird mask to wear while atop his stilts—even though this meant sticking his hands into sticky papier-mâché paste.
Through work with artists, Emiliano learned more about himself, about how to accomplish difficult, sometimes even uncomfortable tasks, and most importantly how to succeed for himself.
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photo of Emiliano and his friends stilting by Kelsye A. Gould, 2012