Since the process of spreading out the ink is about the same throughout all of the printmaking methods in the unit, I focused more on the building up of the printing plate. The students were given a prompt of creating a design abstracted from nature. This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the entire project. Once they had the design drawn out, they transferred the image to the cardboard and then carefully cut it out with an x-acto knife and glued it to the chipboard base. Elmer's glue (not the washable kind) works great and can also be used to seal in the entire printing surface.
In terms of the printing of the plate and application of the ink, I encouraged students to be a bit more adventurous with color choice and also to consider off-set or layered printing. This would further abstract their imagery and also create greater visual interest.
Initially students were asked to pull their prints using a hand-rubbing approach. The next printing day would allow them to explore the use of a printing press (see the next post).
Here are some of the prints that were made using hand-rubbing with a barren: