Rancho Elementary School in Novato

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Mentor Artist Sofie Siegmann reports on her residency with second graders at Rancho Elementary
Printmaking and Collage with three 2nd Grade Classes 
Students created a printing plate from paper to the theme of ‘house of loved pets.’ We discussed the many different possibilities of how a house or home could look: tree house, boat house, live in a refrigerator and have penguins as pets (and always food available), but regular houses are good, too. What pets do you have at home/what pets would you like to have? I can’t tell the difference in your art–you can, of course, make up anything you want. That is what art is all about! We make up things and imagine a world.
house 1        house2
Next session, students used frottage technique (frotter=to rub), layering crayons, experimenting with colors and papers. At the end, students looked at all their prints and chose their two best ones to take home. How do you make a choice? (Sometimes you just know, but in case you don’t, you could ask somebody, pick different ones/opposites, count them off, etc.)
texture        texture plates
The third time we met, students watched a short video about texture, which is one of the seven elements in art. They then went outside on a texture hunt, and indeed, there were many texture treasures to be found! Students were encouraged to layer their textures using a pencil sideways on one piece of paper. This created wonderful compositions. Inside the classroom, students created more textures using texture plates and crayons. They really created many wonderful papers; our idea then was to make it for wrapping presents and gifts – how much fun would it be to get a present wrapped in a home-made textured-wrapping-paper?!
Finally, it was time to put the frottage and textures all together in one collage. Four or five students worked together, creating a city, discussing ideas, including everybody from their group, finding compromises. Art is storytelling, but instead of words, we use images. The more ideas you have, the richer your collage will be.
c4        collage        c3
For the fifth time, students finished their collage using rotating stations. As they heard the sound of the bird, each group had to move to the next station, exploring different techniques and materials. We then looked at all the collages and applauded all the hard work that went into making the collages whimsical and wonderful, a little bit chaotic, but lots of fun, too.
c2       c5
We were lucky to squeeze in one last art class! We made monoprints and ghost prints with gelli printing plates, gold, red, orange, blue and turquoise ink and many found objects such as door hinges, rubber bands, string, keys, plastic wrappers, nets, etc. This class was about exploring this particular printmaking medium, getting a hands-on experience with brayer, printing ink and gelli printing plate. A lot to clean up afterwards, but totally worth it!

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