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Certified PreK-6. Masters in Child Development. Advocate for play, teacher & children choice, & the family's voice. Believe in volunteering as social justice.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Print Making and Risk Taking

The Education Studio at Columbia College

Today I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop at Columbia College called "Print Making in the Classroom".  Columbia is known for its fine art programs and is also known for its early childhood certification program because the program is deeply inspired by the practices in Reggio Emilia, Italy (all of the students in the program get to visit Italy during their student teaching).  While I was quite excited to attend the workshop, I was also extremely nervous.  The workshop was open to anyone, but students at Columbia were admitted without cost.  This meant that I was going to be taking a class with a bunch of talented artist types.

Art still makes me self-hesitant. No matter how much I believe in art as a language of children, or how deeply I respect the process, not to mention that I teach in the art studio in the children's museum, I still do not see myself as a "good" artist.  I enjoy collaging and journaling, like the feel of a paintbrush over water colors, and am inspired by playing with art mediums.  But I would never call myself an artsy person.  So to be attending a workshop with artists who are going to be teaching was intimidating to this teacher who uses art.  

The studio had a shelf full of tape!

 So I took a risk.  I let myself play and explore and delight in the process of print making.  And it was fun!  And I felt a little more like an artist because I was focused on my process rather than debilitated by the end product.  The experience is a powerful reminder of setting up an environment for our students that allows them to take the same risks and to focus on their process.  If we can create a space and a feeling of trust for our children to play in, then we have done our jobs.  For without that environment no true learning and discovery can really happen.  And for that reminder alone, the workshop was worth it.

We used found materials with fun textures, layers of tape, paper shapes to make the collage prints.  
We rolled the ink directly on the "stamps" we created then set the paper atop of the "stamps".
As a bonus,  I also came away with an exciting new art process for children to explore.  The way we played with prints today does not require a printing press or even expensive materials.  We used ink and special rollers and smoothing stones, but I'm betting that in a classroom the process would still be interesting with tempera paint, student rollers, and hands as smoothing stones.  

This is my experiment with textures.
My collage "stamp" with ink.

These are some of the prints that resulted from my texture collage.
These "stamps" were made by using a pen to sketch designs on thin foam. The pressure of the pen creates indents.  I also played with using the outside of one piece to create a border in a different color.
These are the prints that resulted from playing with my foam pieces.