Magazine article Arts & Activities

Breaking Away from Singular Images

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Breaking Away from Singular Images

Article excerpt

When I was in college, "Printmaking for the Classroom" was my favorite art-education class. Our instructor had the students transform everything and anything into printing plates or printable surfaces. The creative results were print combinations that gave no clue to the viewer what materials had been used, and the excitement of the class was learning to use so many combinations of materials. It opened up a new discovery--the technique of mixing many printable objects onto a variety of surfaces, found and created.

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The most valuable lesson was that of experimentation. The prints included explorations of many types of rubbings, printings of vegetables, gadgets, cardboard, stenciling, silkscreen and linoleum cuts. The impressions made by this class have been with me for years, and have been one of the main reasons I incorporate experimental printmaking into my course.

INSPIRATION Each fall, I present a printmaking unit, starting with simple techniques such as rubbings, stamping and stenciling. Students are encouraged to work with unfamiliar materials. All the art levels are grouped together, and for this reason I begin with the same simplified techniques. The students who are advanced are encouraged to go one step further in media experimentation. The next step of printmaking is reductive printmaking in linoleum.

This year, I felt that I needed to do something a little different with the linoleum printmaking lesson. My objective was to challenge students to break away from singular images of peace signs and initials, and create illustrative plates that could communicate a story. It was evident I had to create a lesson that would bring greater depth to the designs for the printing plates.

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PROCEDURE We began the unit by discussing the ideas of various types of illustrations. I had several illustrative books that used woodcuts and linoleum prints. …

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