Helen Keller's Dream

   by James Shaffer and Alena for Build A Dream (2014)

House: Constructed of the box top and bottom, painted yellow. Roof is painted plaster cloth wrap supported by basswood dowels. Shutters and windows were created with paint and cut out pieces from the mannequin box, then painted green.
Annie Sullivan Figure: Created with wooden mannequin, modeling clay, paint and the clothing is cut out canvas cloth.
Helen Keller Figure: Created with styrofoam rod, modeling clay and paint.
Water pump: Pump is cut out mannequin box pieces, painted, with modeling clay top and faucet. Faucet also has wire mesh frame. Pump handle is basswood dowel. Pump water basin is made from the bottom of the plastic egg, modeling clay, plastic warp from packaging and paint.
Shrubs and grass: Shrubs are painted natural sea sponge pieces, grass is painted hardboard and canvas board, painted. The side walk is made from the plaster cloth wrap.
Helen Keller Quote is printed on kit supplied stock paper.
Eye Glasses: Made from two wooden disc's, painted, and aluminum wire spool.
Some of the corn starch packing peanuts and modeling clay were molded together to seal the hardboard and the canvas board together for the grass area.

Tools used were: Scissors, paint brushes, hole punches, wire cutters, etc.
Techniques: Acrylic brush painting, sketching, molding, stenciling and cut-outs.

My 3rd grade daughter read the biography of Helen Keller - Courage in Darkness, and she spoke with us about how hard life would be without hearing and sight. She enjoyed the book very much and she was very happy when Helen Keller realized her dream of becoming a thinking person after Annie Sullivan spells out WATER in her hand under the family water pump. She asked me to help her recreate that scene in her Building a Dream project.

The emotions that my daughter felt from this book helped us to recreate that famous scene in Helen Keller's life. Alena wanted to include the famous quote from Helen Keller about the WATER and her dream coming true, so we included the quote with a pair of handmade eye coverings. This was a fabulous idea from my 8 year old and it was a wonderful project to do.