SchoolArts Magazine

SUM 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 36 of 54

32 SUMMER 2016 SchoolArts Stuffed-Animal E L E M E N T A R Y M O N O M y fourth-grade students gasped as I painted a stuffed animal white, seemingly breaking every childhood toy law. My demonstration shattered even more laws as I mashed that cute gorilla into the black con- struction paper on the tabletop. But when I peeled the stuffed animal away from the paper, the ghostly image that appeared got students excited to try this unique lesson. Using toys for monoprints is an effective way to engage young stu - dents in an art-making process that can be fun, yet complicated. All kids know toys, and by using a beloved stuffed animal to create a print, they are better able to anticipate how it will look based on texture, size, and positioning. This aspect is hard to achieve in all lessons, but for stuffed animal monoprints, the guessing and theories were almost as much fun as the results. Preparing and Purchasing In order to infuse an element of sur- prise into this demonstration, I pre- sented my students with the process before sharing any artist references or results. I also explained to students that this was going to be one of the oddest lessons they have ever tried. After this introduction, they were prepared to be surprised. I purchased a number of differ- ent stuffed animals from our local thrift store, keeping in mind variety, texture, and embellishments, such as ribbons, bows, plastic bead eyes, and embroidered facial features. We would be printing on 9 x 11" (23 x 28 cm) black construction paper, so bean-bag animals were an ideal size. Deeper facial features, like recessed eyes or sewn toes on paws, proved to be very dramatic on the prints. The Animal Printing Process Using white tempera paint as a print- ing medium, students painted their chosen stuffed animals. It was only necessary to paint the side that would be facing the paper during printing. At a large printing station, stu- dents signed their black papers with a white colored pencil before they started printing, then they gently pressed the painted side of their ani - mal onto the paper. I suggested they give the animal a gentle back mas - sage, in order to allow them to con- Gail Borowski PRINTS

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