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 😎
This is a Youtube video uploaded by the Sharpie Markers company showing the work of the Malaysian artist Cheeming Boey who draws detailed illustrations on polysterene coffeee cups.
Click on this link to see more examples of his work on flickr. 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 😎
From my regular walks through Dublin city centre I started to notice that some of the normally painted dull grey traffic light boxes I am used to seeing had been decoratively painted. As you can see from the photo, traffic light boxes tend to regularly attract graffiti and stickers, which make them look bad and the council has to re-paint them on a regular basis which costs a lot of money. It turns out it’s an initiative that started back in June by Dublin City Beta as a pilot program involving the painting of 11 boxes (Some have all sides visible, others are up against walls) in and around the Markets Area in the North inner city (from the river north to King Street and from Church Street east to Capel Street) with artwork. The brief was to design something that could be painted on a traffic light box that reinforced or enhanced the identity of that area of the city. Anyone could submit a design to Dublin City Council for consideration along with an explanation of why you think it strengthens the identity of the area , you don’t have to be a professional artist or art student.
This map shows the location and allocates a number for each box so if a designer had a particular design for a particular box that highlighted an aspect of the history of a particular street or road they could state the traffic box required. The design also had to be considered ‘art’ or ‘information’ and not ‘advertising’ however it could mention the designers name/website/blog etc. at the base to publicise their work. In return, they recieve €111 towards materials as well as the opportunity to make their design a reality.
Below are some photos of some of the traffic light boxes that drew my attention while in town recently. My favourite traffic light box artwork is by Tarsila Krüse who is a Dublin-based illustrator, check out her website here. Her design is called the Dublin Harp Lady and is located on Fishamble Street (outside Christ Church) in Dublin 2. She chose a feminine figure to the represent Ireland and the harp to represent the coat of arms of Ireland. Also the colour Blue makes reference to Dublin colours. I love her cartoon style of illustartion and the contrast in colour between the harp lady and the dark blue background.
It is hoped that the beta project will save the council money and enhance the area. Each artwork will hopefully last for a couple of years but could be repainted grey at anytime and free again for new artwork submissions depending on feedback so the most important thing they ask for is your opinion. To find out more about this great initiative visit their Facebook Page here.
I think this project is a great idea it not only saves the Council money, it enhance the area, making it more attractive as well as providing an outlet for artists to exhibit their work. Wouldn’t it be great to do something similar to brighten up the school grounds. Anyone ever try anything like this in their school? feel free to leave a comment, thanks, Ruth 😎
Yesterday I visited ‘Granby Park’ a temporary transformed vacant Dublin site on Dominick street lower in Dublin city centre. This was created by the non-profit voluntary the importance of creativity in Ireland. For four weeks, there will be art work on display, free arts events, outdoor cinema & theatre performances, live music, educational activities and a pop-up café open to the public.
I was really impressed with all the great work that had been done to create this temporary space. I particularly liked the art work on display. My favourite art installation piece is called ‘Fizzy Flowers’ by Rachel Kiernan and the Eve Estuary Artist Group (a training centre for individuals with intellectual disabilities based in Lissenhall, Swords, HSE Dublin North East). It consisted of 100 brightly coloured flowers made from recycled plastic bottles attached to two weeping Beech trees. I love the contrast in colour between the flowers and the trees. This would be a great 1st year sculpture project, imagine the trees in your school decked out with these colourful flowers.
I love the idea of doing some site specific work with students. While in prague walking along the quays of the river Vltava called Rašínovo nábřeží, I saw these really cute woolen colourful fish which appeared to be made with a variety of knitted and crocheted fish shapes with embellishments such as buttons for eyes and individual wool strands for fins were added. This would be a great 1st or 2nd year textiles project. These would look good if displayed in the art room perhaps with a seascape behind them but I think they really look great displayed on this wall as its greyness really make the bright fish colours stand out. Unfortunately despite all my googling I couldn’t find anything out about the artist who created this work, if anyone else knows anything about it, feel free to leave a comment, thanks, Ruth 😎
As an art teacher, I always keep an eye out for ideas for the classroom. I have just returned from my holidays in Prague. Here are some pictures of some really nice African masks made from terracotta clay that I saw displayed in the window of a school called ‘Základní škola u svatého Štepána’ which translates to ‘Elementary school at St. Stephen’s’.
The masks were made by the ‘školního klubu Keramická dílna’ which translates to ‘school ceramic workshop club’ by students from 4th class (age 9-10). I see from their school website that they have some photos showing the students making these masks. It appears that they rolled out slaps of clay and rolled newspaper into a face shape to support the clay at the back. The surface was then decorated with relief pieces, textures and earth coloured slips.
I love the contrast in colour between the terracotta clay and the coloured slips applied to decorate the masks. This would be a great 1st year ceramic project that could be incorporated into portrait drawing to make it a bit more advanced for the age group.
Yesterday I attended an origami workshop. I was so impressed with the great work I saw on display which was done by one of the organisers.
The first origami project we did as a group, each learning to make the 2 folds used in origmi: the valley fold and the mountain fold. When we had made 3 pieces each we started to connect them to build this really cool looking tetrahedron. This would be a great 1st origami project to introduce the origami techniques to a class.
I hadn’t tried origami before so was pleased with all the little pieces that I made: a bird, a dogs head and a flower. I even made a box with a lid to contain my work.
Are you an art teacher who has taught an art project using any of the techniques mentioned in this blog? If so I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share images of student work, lesson plans, or other projects related to any of the art techniques mentioned.