activity was created by Irene Chan, a San Francisco artist who was commissioned
by the Exploratorium. It provides a demonstration on different ways to
print. After the demonstration, visitors can create their own compositions
and patterns from everyday objects.
project is an investigation of an alternative way of looking at or perceiving
everyday objects. How often do we take the time to look at and study objects
in detail? Textures are emphasized in prints. Objects and their details
are seen differently. One begins to see the formal patterns of life recurring
again and again."
non-toxic textile paint. Good colors are yellow, red, blue, green,
rubber paint brayers (rollers). It is best to use 6 soft rollers
for the palette ink and 6 hard rollers for the dry rolling at
the end. If these are not available, 12 hard rollers will work
paper (9" x 12", many colors)
Newsprint pads (18" x 24")
Clear acrylic sheets (8" x 10")
materials (fruits, leaves, branches, fabrics, palm fiber, dried
bucket of clean water
you have a sink nearby, you should provide one squeeze bottle
of soapy water and another of plain water with plenty of paper
towels for washing-up.
rack for prints.
Objects. Find everyday objects. Paint on
them, then press firmly on paper. Look at the interesting shapes
and patterns made. Experiment by printing on top of shapes and/or
objects: sections of fruits, leaves, moss, acorns, etc.
Find objects with interesting textures. Use a roller to roll paint
onto the object. Put a piece of paper over the object. Roll a clean
roller on the paper. Carefully
lift the paper. You will be able to see textures from things that
you may not have noticed before.
Place 6 newsprint pads along the edge of two large tables
and place one, for purposes of demonstration, in the center, facing the
6 work stations. Put a dry, clean roller at each work station. Place acrylic
sheets in front of newsprint pads. There is one palette for each color.
Scoop out a different color paint for each acrylic sheet and with a different
roller for each color, "roll out" the ink onto the acrylic sheet
so that each roller is covered with ink. Set up drying rack, large trash
can, cleaning spray bottles and paper towels and printing materials (dry
plants and fruits). Put dry plants on a shelf underneath the tables. Place
leaves, etc., in small piles near all the work stations. Continue to replenish
the dry plants as needed.
Demonstrate the printing from your workstation in the
center. Take a leaf, place it on the newsprint pad. Select a color and
roll out the paint. Roll this color onto the leaf. Return the paint roller
to the color palette. Take the leaf and turn it upside down on a piece
of construction paper (the inked side is face down). Fold the newsprint
pad over, or find a clean area on the pad. Place the construction paper
with inked leaf under a clean piece of newsprint. With a clean, dry roller,
roll all the layers with firm pressure. Lift the newsprint, pull out the
construction paper and peel the leaf off. You will make a relief print
of the leaf.
Ask visitors when they sit down at a work station whether
they would like an apron. Ask which color of construction paper they would
like to print on. Demonstrate the printing process. I have found that
after demonstrating, it is a good idea to watch and show visitors, step-by-step
again while they are trying the technique. Encourage them to return the
paint rollers to the correct color palette and to keep the dry roller
clean. Problems do happen, however: the paint rollers get mixed up and
the dry rollers get into the paint palettes. When this occurs, take the
rollers, roll them out on some newsprint to remove excess ink, dip them
into the bucket of water, and dry them with paper towels. Return the rollers
to the right places. After visitors have made their prints, offer to hang
up the artwork to dry, so they can continue to visit the museum and pick
up the artwork when they are ready to leave. Show them the cleanup area
with soapy water and paper towels. Clean up the work station. Throw away
used dry plants, and turn the newsprint pad over to begin again.
Use dried leaves with prominent veins. Buying the leaves
from a dried flower shop is best because they are preserved with a waxy
coating that is excellent for printing. Unpreserved leaves are hard and
crispy, so they can easily break. Besides leaves, there are infinite possibilities
for objects to print from. Most visitors will be delighted at the results
of their printmaking.