Session Four: Hot Off The Press

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Artist: Helen Barry

A lot has happened between this session and the last; A General Election with no decisive outcome as yet; “Our Generation’s” election that has inspired a new proclamation for 2016 and Mary Mitchell O Connor TD retaining her seat.
In the coming weeks children will witness the raising of our National flag across all schools in Ireland and they will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the 1916 Proclamation through responses of their own. My printing press being a little on the small side and time restricted my idea to circulate “Our Generation’s” New Proclamation for 2016, it would have been a little over ambitious!
We would still however explore traditional printmaking. Using an old school printing press, Italian Fabriano paper used by the old masters, high quality printing inks and lots of elbow grease. I find the immediacy of print across all it’s forms delivers beautiful works with in depth detail and solid mark making something that often painting or drawing does not deliver. As part of demonstrating the technique it is essential to allow the children to use a professional quality of materials. Printing ink pigment I’d far superior to that of paint and glides beautifully onto to the rollers. Our workstations ready, the production line began….. Pink, blue and black ink were applied to the plates and placed on the press. It is not until the paper is peel back and the print image is revealed that the process is fully understood. The girls worked efficiently and cleanly (printmaking can get a little messy!) Each pair produced a minimum of two prints before they experimented further with different combinations of colours that I am sure the old masters would have frowned at.
My aim was to give the class a taster session in a printmaking technique. The plates were prepared in pairs and now that they have an understanding of this process and what can be achieved they have an option to create further plates individually that would be more considered in their preparation and design.
Once cleaned up the class explained the process and content of their Ballot paper, the ballot box, the election, the count and outcomes. Their teacher and student teacher on placement had done a considerable amount of work in my absence and they delivered their proclamation for 2016.
To close this session we identified a number of different areas of interest that would help us to set the direction and content of what we would do next. One of our potential aims is to create a piece for the outdoor area and/or a piece for the school to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017.

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