January 27, 2017

Stuffed Animal Monoprints

Inspired by the ridiculously intriguing prints of Geoffrey Ricardo, my pre-K students helped me simultaneously ruin and immortalize some formerly precious stuffed animals.

Our (messy, but simple) process involves a few printmaking supplies, and (as you'll see) a very improvised press.

First, rolling out block print ink. I prefer BLICK water soluble (bc: cleanup), but in a pinch an acrylic paint or heavy bodied tempera works too. Each day (for a week) we had a different color ink, and 
had about five animals to choose from.

We tried black and white (this girl's favorites for this project), turquoise and metallic gold and silver. For little kids, I doled out the ink, they pulled it with the brayer and loaded it into the animal of their choosing.

The animal was laid face down on their paper (on the floor) and the pre-K printing press* was engaged. (*The "press" means we put paper on the ground, then the animal, than an old shelf over it, and my tiny friends stood on top of it with their STRONGEST LEGS. Lots of teamwork here, and as you'll see in the video, hugging.)

Picture this (top to bottom):
board (old shelf)
inked up animal

After the "press", the artist got to pull their animal off the paper to see the resulting monoprint.

It was an excellent exploration of texture, and an awesome way to introduce printmaking in a pretty concrete way (and in a medium that really resonated with my tiny people!)

On the practical end:
  • we started by looking at Geoffrey Ricardo's process, and discussing some of his work - Teddy Bear Roll Out is a good place to start
  • stuffed animals were donated by friends and internet strangers (thanks FB, thanks CL, thanks sister)
  • they were half heartedly washed, and hung to dry each day, to hopefully be used again
  • cardstock or scrapbook paper worked best (provided the best contrast and surface for the ink), but then you're limited by size, so some of our big ones were on construction paper, which will fade, but c'est la vie.


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