Friday, July 14, 2017

Lizzy's Stamping

I'm teaching 8-11 year olds at the Community Arts Center's Summer Spree camp again this year. (Best summer job ever. I highly recommend this camp to anyone with kids living near Wallingford, PA.)

Every once in a while a child makes a work of art that I fall in love with for reasons that more often than not go beyond the kids' awareness. This week is was Lizzy's take on the 1-inch stamp project. (I taught a version of this with 3" stamps back in April.)

The idea is to design a stamp and then use it to produce several different patterns. See the example below, done by my volunteer helper Jon.) Lizzy started out ignoring my instructions to make an asymmetrical design with all different corners, opting instead to carve a little circle with marks inside. She then proceeded to press the stamp into purple ink once and then continued stamping in a row until the ink faded away. She did this for a second column of stamps right beside the first, this time continuing the succession into a third, almost imperceptible column. I enjoyed the curiosity in this exercise and told her so.

Next I encouraged her to carve her stamp a bit more and to attempt the instructed assignment. She did carve marks into her stamp's corners, but then instead of creating a pattern with radial symmetry, she completed another experiment similar to her first, only this time she stamped once with really saturated color and then stamped all around until the ink again ran out. She then smeared the ink so that it faded out at the edges. To finish up, she stamped one more time in a different color ink, then wrote "first" and "last" on the paper in the appropriate positions, presumably because the order in which these exercises were conducted was essential to the piece.

If Lizzy decides not to take this work home with her at the end of the session, I'll frame it and hang it in my house, because it's just awesome.

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