Friday, February 23, 2018

Young Printmakers at the Woodson Art Museum: Week Two

When we last left our printmaking heroine, she and her trusty sidekick, Woodson Art Museum Education Curator Catie Anderson, had just wrapped up a week that involved carving tools in the hands of 4th grade through adult learners. I'm delighted to report only one small bandaid required in a pool of 180 rookie carvers.

But for Week Two we put away the sharp implements and loaded up a travel crate with all the accoutrements required for an inky adventure. (Read: Many, many packages of hand wipes.) We were taking our print-and-pony show on the road!



The blocks the students carved the previous week were 4" x 4" in size. Their first step this week was to print their block four separate times on small sheets of paper. This gave them time to get a feel for the proper amount of ink and hand pressure to apply, and it provided four little prints that could be manipulated to determine a final design. Our goal was to print each individual block 4 times on a 10" x10" fabric square that would ultimately be assembled as a classroom wall hanging or quilt.


Once the students determined their 4-print pattern, they practiced printing on a larger sheet of paper.



5th graders with their larger repeated-pattern prints
Printmakers. All of them. And isn't this a spectacular art room?

Once they settled on their overall design, students printed their 4-up pattern one more time on to fabric squares. So satisfying.

Let's see... let's do some quick math. 150 students times at least 12 impressions of their blocks... that's a minimum of 1,800 print impressions in 5 days. Pretty. Darn. Awesome.

Plus I have to say that you haven't lived until you've prepped and cleaned up more than a dozen inking slabs and brayers over and over during a week. I owe so many thanks to Education Curator Catie Anderson for spending epic amounts of time at the sink, in addition to organizing our travel, coordinating with schools, gathering our supplies, providing amazing classroom input and backup, and lots of great conversation on the road. (Once she had enough coffee. ;-))

Finally, kudos once again to the entire Woodson Art Museum staff and all their members and volunteers. The museum is an amazing resource and it's clear how dedicated they are to supporting their community, its educators, and its students. It's always a privilege working with such an amazing organization, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to introduce printmaking to a wide audience. Let's do it again some time!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Young Printmakers at the Woodson Art Museum: Week One

Ready for students in the Woodson Art Museum classroom.

And there goes February. Did you see it? Me, neither.

At the beginning of the month I headed off to Wisconsin and a two-week Visiting Artist Residency at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. During my visit I worked with 150 students in grades 4-12, and about 30 adults, creating relief prints. I'm back in Maine now (with a rotten cold, go figure), but wanted to share some images from this great experience. There are TONS more photos on the Woodson museum's Facebook page if you're itching to see some.

During the first week of my visit the students traveled to the museum and during the second I traveled to their schools. This is a risky proposition in Wisconsin in February, but we were fortunate to have two weeks of clear (but cold) weather, especially since most of the participating schools were about an hour away from the museum.

Week One sessions included a quick visit to the main galleries of the museum and two concurrent temporary exhibitions: Wild Fabrications, which featured studio art quilts with an animal theme, and Explorations in Wood, which included both functional and sculptural works.

Looking for graphic patterns in art quilts. R Wunsch/LYWAM photo

While in the galleries, students were asked to looked for strong graphic pattern elements as well as aspects of animals that might be incorporated into their own designs.

Downstairs in the classroom we first drew thumbnail designs for relief blocks, then transferred the drawings and carved. We accomplished a lot in less than two hours!

Designing for repeating print patterns. R Wunsch/LYWAM photo

5th graders hard at work.

Next week... Printing!

But before printing week I also got to work with a couple of adult groups, including area teachers who were invited to a free printmaking workshop at the museum. (Complete with coffee and snacks!)

Beginning experiments

Oops! A couple of people are missing, gone to pick up some art supplies,
also provided by the thoroughly awesome Woodson Art Museum.

We treated the afternoon as an experimental print lab, trying simple two color reduction prints, different color combinations, and overprinting two different images.



I really enjoyed this afternoon with teachers and was grateful for the opportunity to facilitate some personal creative time and casual interaction among art education professionals.

Lest you think it was two weeks of all work and no play... I did get out for a few hours to do a little birding. One of the museum curators and his wife shared their Sunday with me... we picked up what I think were my lifer snow buntings and three snowy owls. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Stay tuned for Week Two and some amazing student work....