A supplemental explanation of this years holiday card project in brief. 12/2018
Making Cards: a Whole School Experience
Many projects in the studio begin with a very broad and often big question.
How can producing a holiday card support spatial intelligence in school?
This year we ventured away from our yearly traditional self portrait holiday cards and instead put to use our recently acquired 80 year old Nolan proof press. In past years we learned that expecting a three-year old to make a self-portrait is not really an exciting process for creating a holiday gift. We put our heads together and came up with a plan to use our press and make pressure printed holiday and seasonally-themed cards, engaging everyone from Toddler 1 through 8th Grade. The process unfolded with purpose, direction and fluidity:
- The toddler through 3rd grade classes were invited to the upstairs studio in groups to get comfortable with new surroundings, to touch the press, and to see where the “BIG KIDS” make their artwork.
- Each of the classes watched as the older students demonstrated making their own cards. After the general intimidation factors of being in a new space broke down, the questions of the younger visitors flowed. Can I do it too? Is that paint? It looks like magic! Can I help? Can I take it home?
- We had the older students create a shape library that would visually connect with the younger students and their own study of shapes. Using their imagination, they cut out of re-purposed card stock moons, trees, presents, houses, hearts, hats, fish, icicles, stars, menorahs, etc. The students created hundreds of shapes for their younger friends to choose in designing their prints. Grades 1-3 cut their own shapes, with a little help from upper school friends.
- In very small groups, younger students were invited back up to the studio to produce their own proofed image. All the cut shapes were placed on a large sheet of dark foam core and the younger visitors were asked to pick three to five of their favorite images for their print. The students used their ability to visualize how their print would turn out – based on their chosen shapes coupled with what they observed in their prior studio visit. Older students would eventually re-produce and print 15 for each younger student.
- The younger students were able to assist in proofing their own print and witnessed first hand the magic of printmaking. See attached slide show.
- Every student in school had their hand in producing over 2250 impressions off our mighty Nolan proof press.
- Special thanks to our two parent volunteers for packaging and correctly distributing each packet to all 149 students, and the Upper Studio students who were stewards toward their younger friends.
How can producing a printed card support spatial intelligence? By understanding the printing process, selecting and arranging shapes, learning to see and plan reversing of images, and seeing the final product emerge students were challenged to think spatially throughout the project.
For more answers, see