Thursday, August 23, 2018

Relief Print Leaves Workshop for Kids of All Ages

This is my last week teaching summer camp this summer at the Community Arts Center. Another teaching artist and I have 18 kids between the ages of 6 and 11 - a rather wide age spread. We spend most of our time with the kids split into 2 groups based on age, but we have occasionally come together for a big group project, and for one that I taught, I decided to do these relief print leaves.

I gave each kid 1 piece of 6" x 9" Scratch foam and 2 pieces of stiff board of the same size. I had the kids draw the shape of an imagined leaf, starting with the vein that runs down the center. The kids were invited to draw into the background and into the leaf with a pencil as much as they like.

Then they took scissors and carefully cut out the leaf while keeping the background intact as a single piece. The trickiest part is then gluing the background on one piece of stiff board and the leaf on the second piece of stiff board. The trick is making sure that the leaf is in the same position so that when they are printed they match up. This is done by first placing both the leaf and background together onto the first stiff board piece, but then only gluing down the leaf and removing the background piece afterward. Unfortunately, a couple of kids then glued their background piece down flipped, so they still didn't match up. But it did make for some interesting prints.

I encouraged each kid to print the leaf (in green) and the background (in brown) on at least 2 different colors of paper in order to be able to compare and contrast.

After a long summer of teaching camp to a lot of children, I enjoyed quietly examining this grid of finished leaf prints. So many of them seem to be fading in and out, almost disintegrating. Each is its own unique shape. And many contain curious surprise drawings and details within.

Friday, August 17, 2018

High Resolution Image of "Lost Dog"

This is a higher resolution and generally better photo of my print from Big Ink at Fleisher. Click here for more info about that.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Participating in Big Ink at the Fleisher

Today I participated in a Big Ink event at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. Big Ink is a mobile workshop that promotes large-scale woodcut printmaking. I was very excited when I saw the open call and that they were coming to my city. Even though I am insanely busy this whole summer with teaching and showing and releasing my new book, I couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity to print a large block on the "big tuna" press.

The best part of participating in this event was meeting the other artists and printing together. Participating artists included John McKaig, Polly Perkins, Rosa Leff, Rraine Nolan, Sarah Matthews, William Worley, Zachariah Schmitt, Rebecca Gilbert, and the duo of Bobbie Adams & Bill Brookover. I rarely get to hang out with other artists these days, and I haven't been to a critique in years, so chatting with all these artists about their work and life and backgrounds was a welcome opportunity. 

Here are photos of the inking and printing of my 24" x 48" block and print titled "Lost Dog". The image of the dog is taken from a nineteenth century illustration of the short-eared dog, which is actually a type of fox, and currently an endangered species. The phone number is to the Canid Specialist Group based in the UK that works to maintain information on the status and preservation of canids. The music in the bottom section of the print is taken from a eighteenth century book of songs for children that I found in the Library of Congress archives: Oh Where Oh Where Is My Little Dog Gone. 


Lyell Castonguay applying ink to my block.