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Arts & Activities - Page 26

Printmaking with geometric and nature-insPired forms by Erin Burtner A s an art teacher, you have probably discovered your inspiration comes from many different places: a piece of work you saw in a galler y, an article in the newspaper, something you saw at a craft fair or the local market, maybe even something you saw in a garbage pile as you took your dog for a walk. This is what excites me most—finding something new and turning it into a lesson my students will enjoy and learn from. Lately, I have been most inspired by the work I find on the website, etsy.com. When I asked my students if they’ve ever heard of Etsy, and they looked at me like I had four heads. I then asked if they have heard of eBay. Immediately, the lights came on, arms flew in the air with assurance, and I heard the murmurs of agreement amongst the crowd. It was obvious, many have been to this popular site before. I compared Etsy to eBay, and told them it’s another website where you can buy things—only Etsy specializes in art, which piqued their interest. Connor THE LESSON BEGAN with a brief PowerPoint based on an artist’s website I discovered through Etsy: www. azuregrackle.com. This particular artist—Jennifer Schmitt— does reduction prints using several matrixes. As we looked at the exemplars, I explained to students we would be doing something similar, using two matrixes. I asked them to pay attention to what they feel works, and what they feel doesn’t work, within LEARNING OBJECTIVES Middle-school students will . • • • • • create compositions featuring geometric and nature-inspired renderings. transfer drawings to a piece of linoleum. create multiple prints. experiment with a variety of color combinations in each print. learn proper printmaking safety procedures. MATERIALS • • • Worksheet with two 5" x 5" squares Graphite pencils 7" x 7" white paper and 7.5" x 7.5" black construction paper • • • Soft-Kut block printing material in 5" x 5" squares,plus scrap pieces Newspaper Linocutters, Plexiglas, ink, brayers, wooden craft sticks the images they were about to be shown, and to pay particular attention to color, shape, line, dominance and harmony. After the PowerPoint, we met as a group for a demonstration. They were each given a worksheet with two 5" x 5" boxes printed on it. I explained the challenge: Come up with two pencil-drawn images, which would later serve as the background and foreground matrixes. In the first box—designated as the foreground—they would come up with something that incorporates nature, such as an image of an animal, a plant and so on. In their composition, they were to think about what the dominant object would be and where to placed it. We talked about the concept of dominance and how it is sometimes more interesting to have the image coming in from the side of the paper, versus sitting right smack-dab in the middle. Next, I explained our goal for the second box: to create an interesting composition for the background using geometric or organic shapes. We looked at several examples, and discussed what worked visually and what did not. For example, if your composition for the nature-inspired matrix is made up of mostly round shapes, it might be more interesting and visually exciting to create a contrast with straight lines. For this background matrix, I encournovember 2012 • 80 YEARS 26 x www.ar tsandactivities.com >

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