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!


  1. one band aid is pretty good :)

    and they all look like they had fun and did a good job :)

    1. I was really impressed with how all their quilt squares turned out, and I think they really enjoyed the unexpected surprises that happened when they printed their small blocks multiple times.