The second week of summer art camp this year was all about printmaking – my favorite medium.
Printmaking with a class of elementary aged children is not for the faint hearted. It is messy, oh so messy, and it is unpredictable and requires a lot of organization and some degree of flexibility. It is for these exact reasons that I think it is a wonderful theme for a summer camp.
At summer camp, the days are long and flexible, so we have plenty of time to set up, experiment, and clean properly after a lengthy printmaking project. I leave things loosely structured so that projects can be extended further or take a sudden turn if need be. It is a perfect relaxed opportunity to teach kids how to clean up after a huge, messy project, without losing your mind, and a great way to teach team work and organizational skills, while building in large stretches of down time as well.
This week we made our own printing blocks using foam shapes adhered to wooden cubes, and printed onto paper and fabric. The fabric prints were inspired by west African Adinkra prints.
Some of the older kids stayed with me and learned to carve into vinyl. They designed blocks to use to make rotating designs, and had a lot of fun figuring out how to improve on their initial designs.
The younger kids used foam sheets to etch onto and print with, and picked leaves for the next day’s activities.
On the next day we set up printmaking stations where children could independently explore different ways to produce a print. They printed with leaves, pressed bubble wrap and found objects to paper, etched images onto inked plates, and printed with rolling pins. They got carried away with the spirit of discovery and couldn’t stop working, so we ended up rolling out a long strip of paper, and letting them print whatever they wanted on it.
We wrapped up the week by going back to my roots as a textile designer, and drawing some animal inspired textile prints.
This was followed by an epic Apples to Apples game, a screening of Paddington, plenty of snacking on popcorn, pretzels and Oreos, and an extended outdoor playtime.
All in All, a very productive and fun week. Time to start planning next week’s camp. Happy weekend everyone!