Recently we have purchased woodcut-printing blocks to add to the resources available in our arts programme. These beautiful blocks are hand made in Rajasthan (India) by master carvers who create the intricate and precise designs by striking well placed chisels with metal bars. This ancient technique has remained unchanged for hundreds of years; it is laborious and intensive. Back at Kindergarten we are truly thankful for the artists/carvers time and effort, as the results for the print maker are absolutely gorgeous!
Printmaking enables children to explore different techniques and to see cause and effect in action more dramatically than with simply painting or drawing. What excites children into making print after print? Artist and author Ursula Kolbe (2007) believes that it is a seductive mix of physical action, expectation and surprise.
Each of these wooden stamps are a different size, shape and weight, and require the children to work purposefully with their hand actions to make a successful print. At first many of the children made quick stamp movements reenacting the same sequence for printing with a rubber stamp pad, however working with ink and woodcut stamps requires slowing down and precision; the children quickly discovered that by dabbing, pressing and pausing to hold the stamps on the paper for longer, clear and un-broken marks were left behind.
“I’m going to hold this here (on the ink) for ten seconds; 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and then on my paper for 100 seconds! It’s gonna make the lines all black”
As their skills develop, children begin to organize, assemble and combine their shapes. Marcus used a stem-patterned stamp to create ‘borders’ around other images whilst Mason used the same stamp to create a series of repeated pattern.