I am very fortunate to have an extremely supportive parent group at both of my schools. Last spring Dick Blick's Art Room Aid program had a Youth Art Month promotion of matching funds. I jumped on the chance at getting something out of my regular price range and asked both of my principals the best way to proceed. We asked the parent group at one school, and the other principal used funds reserved for using on things many kids will use. I ended up getting a printing press, bed, blankets, and litho supplies for each school! Once it arrived, I was a little overwhelmed. I haven't done printmaking since college-with a trained professor looking over my shoulder. Lucky for me, one of our very active parents also happens to be a professional printmaking artist. Genie Castro came in and worked with my second graders on creating monotypes and reminded me of the joy of printmaking (and how to run a press!). The results are completely blowing me away! I am about halfway done putting them on Artsonia, as Genie is taking them home and pressing them. Here's how we proceeded:
Day 1: I introduced Genie and she demonstrated how to ink a plate. She showed them how to add more than one color to a brayer and cover the plate completely. She added yarn, string, ric rak, plastic yard fencing-anything thin on top of the plate and then showed the kids how to run it through the press. Please note, I brought the press from my other school AND I have a student teacher (who happens to be amazing at printmaking) right now-so there were three adults in the room. Two of us manned the presses while the third circulated to help kids that needed more color or had questions. If/when I do this again, with only me, I think I'd start another project that the kids can do solo and take small groups to the press. The kids formed a line at each press after washing their hands. They were in charge of writing their name on the paper (Stonehenge) and dipping it in the waterbath (I borrowed a large shallow pan from our kitchen staff.) and letting it drip while the adult reset the press. Once the press was engaged, the kids did the work of running their print through the press.
Day 2: Genie came back and taught the kids how to sign a print. She went over how to come up with a creative title, use the 1/1 for a monoprint, sign it, add a copyright symbol, and the year. She even encouraged them to write it on scrap paper first so they know they are spelling everything correctly. Then the kids signed the print from the previous class and worked on printing more. All the kids printed two on Stonehenge paper, and some had time to print extras on cheap paper too.
The kids loved this whole process!
When they saw Genie was back for the second day there was a lot of celebrating!
This is our second grade Art Show project.