Sunday, February 19, 2012

Elementary School Art - Relief prints and Collagraphs

Grade five students printing blocks using a baby press with my assistance

 student carving eco-karve material block

 students construct collagraph plates and print them using the press

 example of collagraph print and plate by a grade five student

 Just wrapped up several visits into two elementary school classrooms in placements through our Community Arts and Heritage Education project.
One grade five class learned to carve and print a relief block in black ink then add colour in after using watercolour.
The other class, a grade four/five split constructed low relief collage plates using everyday common materials and recycled items destined for the trash bin.
Both grades explored the themes of ancient civilizations. The block prints are exclusively Eygptian influence where the collagraphs explored ancient roman, greek, eygptian and chinese cultures of old.
For the collagraph print project students used Akua Intaglio inks with blending medium which were painted, wiped and rolled onto the plates.
The final works on paper were presented to the public this past week in a display at our local community auditorium. Below are examples of student work and also photos taken of the display.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Relief printmaking workshop at our local art gallery Sunday Jan 22, 2012

On Sunday January 22nd I gave a workshop to 10 enthusiastic artists. As workshop duration was limited to 6 hours there was only time enough for covering the basics. I divided the session into two 3 hour components which were
a) sketching, transferal of design to block surface, rendering with permanent black marker and carving
b) printing using both hand burnishing and running block under the roller of a small printing press.

Participants used a new product Eco-Karve manufactured by Inovart Inc. to carve out their relief images which I acquired from Blick art materials online. They also got to try a few inks out including Graphic Chemical's new formula water-soluble glycol based relief inks, Caligo safe wash modifed oil inks and Speedball water based inks. All of the inks were easily cleaned up using a little liquid dish washing detergent first wiped on to the surface and then they were immersed into a tub of warm water which removed the dissovled ink.  
One word about the Eco-karve. It  is a soft pinkish brown colour material and is very easy to cut. It holds lines really well without too much crumbling. It is 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick, smooth on both sides and also is non-slip in nature. You can get pencil to transfer to it's surface easily just by rubbing your drawing in reverse over top with the back of a metal spoon, thus eliminating the need for transfer paper. However the material will stretch unfortunately under the slightest pressure of a press roller. This made it a bit frustrating to register a second block and therefore it was nearly impossible to get good registration using the press roller method of printing. I would have to say that the use of this material is limited really to using hand burnishing only. For accurate registration I would stick with traditional harder surface lino and wood surfaces.

To our surprise one of the gallery staff had tipped off the local newspaper about the workshop (since it co-incided with my current solo print based series exhibition at the gallery) and a photographer showed up unannounced during the session. The photo scans included in this post are taken from the Jan 23 edition of the Chronicle-Journal (our local printed daily paper) which show some of the activity that happened during the workshop.