Monday, January 28, 2013

repeating with lu. repeating with lu. repeating with lu.

You get the idea:)

This week with kinders and I are exploring bold colors, pattern, and printmaking with the help of Lu Summers, a textile designer who lives in far away England. Lu works a lot with pattern when she creates her screen printed fabrics and her hand pieced quilts. I really enjoy the hand drawn nature of her  printed patterns and the energy of shape and color in her quilt work.

I shared a few of her quilted pieces with the kinders (age 5) and talked about the bold colors and geometric shapes that we could see. I also pointed out some of the patterns present in her quilts, although these aren't as obvious as the ones in her screen printed designs. We talked a little bit about what quilts are and how they can be used to keep you warm and they can look "cool" too.

The image that we focused on for our compositions was an image I had "pinned" a while back. I discovered today that this is actually a section of a larger work. I knew the piece was small due to the pins present in the photo, but I didn't make the connection to the larger piece until after my last class left for the day.

You can see the smaller section in the upper right corner.

Instead of drawing our image directly on paper or painting it, we used styrofoam plates to make a relief print of the image. When we started I talked about how we would use the material their lunch trays were made of to make a stamp. I modeled the process quickly for them and off we went.

We drew out our compositions together. We broke up the surface into 3 or 4 shapes with horizontal and vertical lines. We then used letters to help us create the patterns in the design. Lower case L's, upper case U's, V's and W's, and a few O's. Once the designs were drawn we added color patterns to the different areas. I emphasized not putting their hands on the areas they colored because it wipes off the surface so easily.

When students finished, they came to the back of our center table and we printed the plates. I wet the paper with a spray bottle and sponge over it to even the water layer out, and then we transfer the image together. This is my favorite part of the project, seeing and hearing the kids' reactions to seeing how the image transfered. It's cool when I do my own prints, but it's especially cool when I help kids with this experience for the first time. It's the magic of printmaking:)

After students finished their print I told them they could color it again and make another one. I had more and more kids take me up on this throughout the day. Again, I loved seeing students create multiples for the first time. Some stuck with the same colors, while others mixed it up a bit.

I have to say that I LOVE the way so many of these turned out. Even though they followed the same steps, there is a great amount of variety in the finished pieces. 

I would like to assemble them into a larger image. Those of you who follow the blog know that I can't help myself when it comes to creating larger collective pieces from the kids individual pieces:) I'm thinking it could be pretty striking to assemble digital pics a collection of them and turn it into a poster design. Possible fundraiser? We'll see.

Plate and print.

A small collection from one class.

One student's multiples.


  1. This is a set of amazing work - well done everyone :)

  2. These are very cool. Just want to make sure I understand what you did - the styrofoam was engraved first, and then colored with markers? What did you engrave with? A pencil? or a pointed stick? Definitely pinning.

  3. Hey Phyl,

    Left that point out. We used pencils to engrave the styrofoam and ten added the marker color. Glad you like:)

  4. These are awesome! I like the idea of printing with kindergarten, and not having to get out the paint! This is something they can do at home too! Can't wait to try it! :)

  5. Thanks for sharing- I've usually done styro-printing with paint, but using markers make for easier color variety. (And clean-up too!) :D

    PS- And I'm a fan of Lu Summers work as well!