Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beginning Again

limen li·men (lī'mən)
The place or point of beginning; the threshold

"In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it, and they must have a sense of success in it."
John Ruskin

Every so often it happens- to grossly paraphrase John Ruskin, 'just often enough to keep you going' - a student gets it. The aha moment that teachers live for. It happened with Dana.

Dana finished her second print edition today. Several weeks in progress, her current set (titled Sublime) received the 15th and final color today. It is technically and aesthetically stunning. And to think, I was hesitant to introduce the class to screen printing, or, to use the proper jargon- serigraphy. The process is messy, technically challenging and time-consuming. Patience and discipline, attributes not usually seen in High School students, are mandatory. But, introduce it, I did.

For her first print. Dana asked if she could use an open cigarette pack as the subject. Again, hesitancy. Trinity is, after all, a Christian school. What message would be sent? It was a liminal moment. In my experience, students tend to treat the assignment seriously if they are interested in the subject. So, after a quick prayer, I said, "yes." After Dana pulled the second color, she asked, "Did I tell you the title?"
"That's a good title."
Sometimes a title redeems an image. The finished print is beautiful.

And so, Dana began her second print- Sublime.

There are a number of things that make the final prints exceptional-
1.) Before Suicide Dana had never done a screen print.
2.) The screen was hand-blocked (NOT a photo screen).
3.) All the materials were non-traditional, e.g. the fabric was curtain material from Walmart stretched over a picture frame, the blockout was latex paint
and the squeegee was stiff plastic from a storage container lid

Twenty two finished prints

Well done!

Serigraph on black Foamcore
by Dana Shapiro

Dana has selected the image for her third and final edition- an elephant in shades of grey. I have no doubt that it will be beautiful.

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