A New Old Medium

Once a month a parent leads an art lesson for my daughter's first grade class. We trade off who runs the lessons with other parents assisting, in December it was my turn to lead a lesson on print making with foam blocks.

During my run through of the lesson at home our results were just ok. The project was to firmly trace a design onto a small piece of foam; then using that to create a pattern. I should of known that if it was a little struggle at home in a controlled environment, a classroom of first graders wouldn't be better.

The lesson ended up going well, if chaotic, the kids really enjoyed it – getting messy and playing with paint is always a fun. Their art work turned out pretty cool, not necessarily the nice patterned prints I envisioned but their own great creations. Afterwards, I set out to try again and started down the rabbit hole of block print making.

My initial goal was simply to make a nice clean patterned print. I switched from foam to rubber stamps and bought a very basic carving kit. I won't bore you with all the iterations; basically as I looked into it more and saw so many amazing prints the deeper I went.

I like the process. I'm still learning, how to carve, how to print, and still getting mediocre results, but they are my results. It is creating something physical that I cut and manipulate with my own hands. There are many steps from drawing and transferring an image, to carving the block, to creating prints. My results are inconsistent. I could just use my computer and printer and create as many perfect copies as I want.

However, there is a zen quality to putting in the time and creating something by hand. I'm enjoying it, and looking forward to seeing where it goes.