Thursday, July 10, 2014

Prints of Russian Nesting Dolls

The prints of nesting dolls were done by pre-schoolers and then assembled by me to auction at our school fundraiser. Each child was given the basic shape of the doll, cut from Styrofoam. They used a small wooden mallet to impress textures into the foam. Printing ink was applied to the "plate" nesting doll and the image was printed. Each child made two prints. On the first print, that they kept, they drew in a face of their own. On the one for the auction piece, I made the faces since some children at that age have trouble placing the features. I purchased a large stretched canvas (2.5 x 4') and painted it a navy-black background with acrylics. I adhered the prints with a white glue and top it off with some glitter Modpodge. The project tied in with their study of Russia. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or contact me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Water Bottle Sculpture

This was a collaborative art project that I did with all the children in the school where I teach and inspired by the American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. My husband brought home the empty Poland Spring bottles from work and I washed them all in sudsy water in our basement utility sink.
My husband also helped out by making this handy drying rack. Each bottle was painted twice with contrasting colors of Martha Stewart's acrylic craft paint. She has some beautiful metallics. When the bottles are cut apart, the first color shows on the inside of the bottle and the second coat shows on the outside. The bottles were either cut in strips to mimic flower petals or in a spiral to imitate a vine. Once cut, the plastic is easy to manipulate and curl.
I strung the bottles with ribbon to form garlands.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ink Pad Prints

Ink pads always seem to dry out much too quickly, especially if you are using them with children and the lids are not always promptly replaced. I hated to just toss these ink pads out as the colors grew faint, so I turned them into stamps and got this pretty interesting design.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How To Make an Origami Serpent Book

I am teaching an after school book arts class. Since I have very young children, I made one of the folding paper serpents for each of them. The children used crayons to add patterns to both sides of their creature. This coming week we'll add ears and tongues with folded paper. Slightly older children (maybe starting at 6 or 7) would probably enjoy doing the folding. With the young children I did demonstrate how the serpent is constructed. I used computer paper cut into five inch squares. I joined four squares to make the book. I tried it with drawing paper, but it was a bit too heavy once the books were folded.
Just to clarify: In step 3, when I say that the paper should be "flipped", I mean that you should turn the paper over. The last couple of steps are a bit difficult to describe, so I would suggest playing with it, don't be discouraged. In the last photo, it's important to note that the creases are going in different directions. In the photo, I joined them with tape, but glue stick works nicely.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marbled Easter Eggs

As you can see, I made quite a mess dyeing eggs this morning. I did a little research online on how to marbleize eggs, but wasn't entirely confident about the information that I found. I cobbled together my own technique and am somewhat pleased with the results, although I was hoping for some stronger colors and more swirly patters.


I used the Paas Egg Decorating Kit that's available at the supermarket. It includes just six colors. I mixed two of the shades following the directions for pastels colors, but if I make them again I will only follow the directions for vibrant shades. I added a splash of vegetable oil to each of the containers of color in an attempt to achieve a marbled look. I didn't even use a utensil to dip the eggs, just my fingers. That may have been a mistake since I am pretty stained. I get a little carried away when I experiment. I would place the egg in a container until it turned a shade that I liked, pluck it out and pat it with an old terry cloth towel. This was my own discovery for adding a little bit of pattern. You can probably see the "stripes" on some of the eggs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Woodland Stick Puppets

The stick puppets are printed from original pastel illustrations. I always find that using a puppet or any kind of prop is a great way for children to open up to telling stories. They seem to feel less self conscious when they are holding something. Plus, in the case of puppets, you have given them an automatic place to start the dialogue and children relate so readily to animals. They are available here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nature Gelatin Prints


Printmaking is a process of creating an image on one surface, called the plate, and transferring that image to paper or cloth. With gelatin prints the artist starts in the kitchen and makes a plate from gelatin and water. Gelatin is the stuff that gives gummy candies and marshmallows their chewy texture. It’s sold in little orange and white boxes at the supermarket and can be found in the aisle with the jello. Once the powdery gelatin has been mixed with water and chilled in the fridge (simple directions below) you will have a slightly rubbery surface that responds well to printing with textures that you can find outside.



Ingredients to Make a Gelatin Plate


6 tablespoons gelatin powder (6 packets, boxes generally have 4 packets per box)


1 1/2 cup cold water


1 1/2 cup hot water, almost boiling


9x12 inch shallow baking pan


Pour the cold water into the baking pan. Sprinkle gelatin into the pan. Mix until blended. Slowly add hot water while stirring continuously until all the gelatin has dissolved. Try to remove bubbles that may have collected on the surface by blotting with a paper towel. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until the gelatin has set. You can remove the gelatin from the pan the same way that you would brownies. Just slice it into pieces and remove them with a spatula. Keep in mind that the size of your finished prints will be the same size as you slices of gelatin. You can begin printing immediately, or you can store your gelatin plates for up to ten days in the fridge.


Art Supplies for Printing


1. Drop cloth or newspapers to protect work surface


2. Water soluble printing ink or acrylic paint (available at most craft stores)


3. Large soft bristle brush, kitchen sponge or foam roller


4. A variety of natural objects such as leaves, shells, flowers, weeds, vegetables, fruit, feathers, bark.......


5. White drawing paper


6. A stack of newspaper torn into small sheets or scrap paper for blotting


For the best results, the natural objects that you collect should have interesting shapes and textures as well as being somewhat sturdy. A leaf, such as a maple, is a good choice since it has both an interesting shape and the prominent veins print nicely.




Squeeze some paint or ink onto gelatin plate and spread it out with your brush, sponge or brayer. If it looks too thick you can absorb the excess by laying a sheet of scrap paper on top and gently pressing. Press your nature objects into the paint. Pick up object. As long as you can see an impression in the ink, you will be able to make a print. Lay a sheet of white paper on top of gelatin plate and gently press with the palm of your hand. The gelatin plate can be cleaned between prints by pressing a sheet of scrap paper on the surface. Or you can wash it off in cold water in the sink. Make sure you dry it, too.



Have a stack of printing paper and scrap paper cut before you begin. A bit of trial and error is involved and it’s more fun to make many prints.