May 4, 2018

First Experiments

        During the April A-Z Blog Challenge I was teaching a community ed block printing class with adults, and I couldn’t post any of their work because the April blog was entirely booked.  But now A-Z is over and it’s time to switch gears and share some fun rubber block prints.
        This is the introductory project of the class: the chance to start getting a feel for the rubber, how to get different effects, what the patterns look like when they’re inked and printed, and generally just dig in and see what happens.  Each artist began with a small rubber block, 3x4 inches, divided the space into several areas, and experimented with different patterns and textures in the different areas.  The idea was inspired by Zentangle doodling, but the purpose is very different.  It’s a chance for beginning printmakers to get the hang of this whole relief print thing before starting on a block for which they have grand plans and the potential for disappointment.  For example, how do you make each little carved line end exactly where you want it?  What’s the most comfortable and controlled way to carve curves
and circles?  What’s with that whole backwards thing where the more you carve the lighter an area gets?  How do you get the contrasts and patterns you want?
        I had nine artists in my class, and, as usual, they brought a range of experience, a range of taste and style, a range of ideas and inspirations.  As this was my first class of adults, I was also quite amused and interested to note how adults differ from children in the way they approach the projects.  Anyway, since I have only seven projects pictured here today, there are clearly two I didn’t manage to photograph, but nevertheless you get the idea of some of the range of patterns and effects the class produced.  It should be noted that these blocks were mostly just roughly inked and printed to get the idea, so they are not perfect impressions.  Some were worked further afterwards, others were declared finished, and we went on to the next block.
        Thanks to all my students - I had a great time and hope you did, too!
        And an ANNOUNCEMENT to anyone local: this weekend is Needham Open Studios - the 20th year of NOS, no less.  This anniversary year there are over 45 artists in 15 locations all around Needham, showing a variety of art in all sorts of media and styles.  It should be a lovely weekend to get out and about and enjoy some really inspiring art.  I’ll be showing at First Baptist Church on Great Plain Avenue, along with 6 other
artists.  In fact, the car is already packed and I’m about to go set up the space.  I hope to see you there on Saturday or Sunday!

[Pictures: Experimental patterns, rubber blocks by seven artists, 2018.]


Deborah Weber said...

Oh these are wonderful - and I imagine the class was great fun. I'm a rather novice carver, but having found your blog just last month and now seeing these, my fingers are itching to play along with the inspiration you've evoked.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

By all means, dig in! You can't go wrong! =) Here's another fun, quick and easy beginner project: One Inch Stamp Or try the "step-by-step" label in the side-bar for various other projects and tips.