This weekend, the 51st annual conference of the Fine Arts Council of the Alberta Teachers Association was held in Canmore, Alberta. Artists were invited to share our expertise and play with the teachers as part of their professional development.
I was invited to pass along my techniques for printmaking with children in the classroom. During a lively three-hour session, my awesome group of fine arts teachers created, experimented, laughed and made beautiful printmaking works of art.
Together, we learned three forms of printmaking: collagraph printing, relief printmaking and monoprinting. All incorporated methods that could easily be taught in the classroom with no sharp tools, non-toxic materials, found objects and items purchased inexpensively at any dollar store.
The methods were aimed at children from Kindergarten to Grade 6, but it was awesome to see how much fun teachers of a variety of ages and stages had with printmaking. That’s my goal: spread the printmaking love!
Here are highlights from our morning session. Thanks to the Fine Arts Council for the chance to share my work, and for all the enthusiastic participants who rolled with whatever I threw their way. You were awesome!
Creating collagraph ‘plates’ on cardboard using string, craft foam, Qtips, paper clips, buttons and more.
Here is a sampling of the collagraph plates, waiting to dry before printing. The range of creativity was inspiring!
To print the collagraphs, we created a printing press on the floor that mimicked a press with blankets. All that is needed is two boards, a fleece ‘blanket’, and the weight of the printer (standing on the floor press) to make an impression.
When I teach this to children, they love the interactive nature of it. My adult participants loved it, too!
Check out these collagraph prints!
We had a lot of territory to cover in three hours — the collagraph creations were made in about 20 minutes!
Another technique we played with was monoprinting on glass. By painting an image on glass, and making marks with Qtips and a variety of other tools, monoprints were pulled from the glass to create a ‘one-off’ print.
Finally, we experimented with relief printmaking using styrofoam plates and rubbing the paper with our hands. For the entire workshop, acrylic paint and foam paint rollers were used, materials that are excellent when working with children.
The workshop was inspired by my teaching printmaking to children over a number of years. A more detailed blog on this process can be found here.
It was such fun to pass these techniques along knowing that the eventual learners would be school-aged children. One of the participants said after the conference, “I’ve wanted to teach printmaking to my students for a while but had no idea where to start. I will definitely be taking this back to them now that I know what to do!”
And that is what it is ALL about!