I am really interested in learning more printing methods. I recently discovered the book ‘Printmaking Unleashed’ by Traci Bautista which is due to be released next month. I am looking forward to reading it and trying out some of the printing techniques she explains. I saw some of her hot gun stencils on Pinterest and thought I’d try my hand at making some. If you don’t know her work, you can check her web-site.
For making glue gun stencils, I placed a Teflon baking sheet in a metal baking tin. I could have also use Parchment paper if you didn’t have a Teflon baking sheet. I heated up the glue gun; this took about 5 minutes.
When it was hot, I drew a few designs on the Teflon baking sheet. I stuck to organic simple shapes such as flowers and hearts rather than precisely drawn lines. It took me a while to get used to drawing with the glue gun especially to apply the correct pressure to the gun’s trigger. If my lines were too thin, I would go back over them with more glue. It is important to have lines that are thick enough to be able to peel the stencil off the parchment paper/ Teflon baking sheet. Also to make a successful stencil, all pieces of the stencil must be joined together.
When the glue has cooled and hardened, I gently peel the glue stencil off the Teflon baking sheet. If there was any fine ‘strings’ of glue that I didn’t want on my stencil, I carefully removed them with a small scissors.
I could have drawn a line drawing of the shapes on a piece of paper first rather than draw freehand and then place the drawings under the parchment paper and then trace the shapes with the glue gun. This could have worked better for the writing I wrote which was very difficult to draw in glue and even harder to read.
Now that my stencils are made, I am ready to print. For my first page I placed the glue gun stencils onto a sheet of A4 paper, then sprayed the page with a mixture of teal coloured acrylic paint and water using a toothbrush. As you can see from the pictures some of the paint went underneath the stencils but I kind of like it that way. I used a pair of tweezers to remove the glue gun stencils so as not to smudge the paint. The paint washed off easily from the glue stencils once they were rinsed under running water and I gently dried them with tissue. As you can see from the photo, this is the negative space they leave behind when the stencils were lifted off the page.
For my second page, I again placed the glue gun stencils onto a sheet of A4 paper and placed the glue gun stencils onto a sheet of A4 paper, then sprayed the page with a mixture of teal coloured acrylic paint and water using a toothbrush. This time I changed the position of the glue gun stencils and moved them clockwise a bit so as not to line up with the first mask of the flowers made. I then sprayed a red spray paint over them. I am really happy with how the masking came out especially the white lines of positive space from the 1st colour that are visible.
On Saturday I attended the NAPD Creative Engagement exhibition in Collins Barracks, Dublin. This annual exhibition showcases the creative work of post primary schools from all over the country.
There was a great variety of projects on display such as print making, stained glass and ceramics. My favourite project was “Unique” an installation of porcelain buttons made and designed by last years 1st years with Artist-in -Residence, Isobel Egan. Isobel is an Irish ceramist who works with porcelian, for more information about Isobel and her artwork check out her site: www.Isobeleganceramics.com
I especially liked the process the students went through to design their buttons, in the form of button shaped notebooks that were also on display. These documented each student’s thought process from brainstorming the theme to designing their buttons.
This would be a great project to do with 1st year students – as was the case here – as it would introduce the design process and some basic ceramic techniques.
Yesterday I went to the Sculpture in Context exhibition in the National Botanic Gardens,Glasnevin, Dublin 9 (3.5 km from the centre of Dublin City). This annual event is the largest outdoor sculpture exhibition in Ireland and runs from 5th September to 18th October, if you are in Dublin during this time, I highly recommend going to see this it. The exhibition showcases 150 artworks made from a wide variety of different media by both Irish and international artists. These artworks are displayed throughout the 50 acre gardens, the glasshouses, Great Palm House, the pond and the gallery space above the visitors’ centre (which displays the Smaller pieces).
The Sculpture in Context exhibition always attracts thousands of visitors especially art students from both third level and secondary schools. It is of particular interest to 5th and 6th year students who often use this exhibition to write about in their final year Art History exam under the Appreciation Section which frequently asks students to write about an art exhibition they have visited. Students also draw from the sculptures and take photographs to use as visual sources for their practical work.
Among favourite Piece was by Dublin sculptor Lucy O’Higgins’ called Tree snails. These consisted of 5 really cool large scale snails made from fused plastic bags strategically placed in two trees. I loved the solid shape these had and the fact that each snail had a different pose as if shown at different stages of climbing the trees.
Another outdoor piece I liked was Untitled by Lynda Christian which consisted of about 17 brightly coloured orange metal flowers. These were made from large catering size tin cans cut, shaped and riveted together into the flowers heads. These pieces were then painted primer and enamel paints. I really like the idea of using recycled materials to create something so beautiful as these flowers, they also brighten up the grey walls of this location which also makes them stand out.
Indoors I liked Jonathan’s Flock by Dublin textile artist Ciara Foster. It consists of a flock of 5 birds made from mixed media. These were really lovely and to scale of real birds. I loved the variety of materials used such as wood for the beak.
I think this would be a great idea to try in the classroom and to get students to think of drawing not just on the traditional flat surface that they are used to. If anyone has ever tried this project or something similar to this with a class, feel free to leave a comment, thanks, Ruth 😎
I wanted students to learn 2 colour lino printing as they had covered 1 colour lino printing in 1st year. Students began this project by making observation studies of bottles of varying sizes and types. Using these drawings they designed a composition consisting of at least 2 bottles that over lapped. Students tried different positive and negative compositional arrangements in their deisgns before selecting one for their lino block.