Saturday, June 1

Mind Map

I'm having a great semester with my 11-13 year old silkscreen class at Fleisher (partly because my daughter is taking it for the first time too!). The group worked so efficiently, that we ended up having time for an extra project. One of the adults who takes an evening silkscreen class had left an awesome sketch behind that reminded me of a system or diagram, but which was very open-ended for interpretation, and it gave me a great idea for a project. I wrote out lots of words on slips of paper and had the kids pass a bowl, take a word, and sketch whatever the word brought to mind. After several rounds, they had lots of disconnected imagery. We played with the copy machine, duplicating, shrinking, and enlarging the images, then headed back to the studio and made a collage that would make the images make more sense. Another copy machine trip turned the collages into a photo positive to burn our screens. They printed, and then added color to one print with colored pencils. They cut it into an organic shape, cut out some construction paper arrows, and then headed to the main stairwell to combine all their prints into one installation that made sense or became a system. My daughter's print is at the very bottom and has a sleeping dreamer. The kids thought their images could be a dream system.... an excellent way to make all of these disparate images come together as a cohesive whole. I love working at a place that lets me work as an artist with kids, and lets kids have authentic artmaking experiences. They work in a real studio with real art materials, and we let the work transform and change depending on what happens there. It's easy when I have 8 kids to work with. I wish I could find a way to work more in this vein in my elementary school. Art teacher and teaching artist seem to be different roles, and a lot of it depends on the institution one works within.

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