Thursday, May 29, 2014

Artist Residency- Printmaking with Randy Garber

The following is a guest post from BHS Art Teacher Christina Chang and her Residency experience with Guest Artist Randy Garber. 

A wonderful five (non-consecutive day) artist residency with master Printmaking Randy Garber just wrapped up. It was a wonderful and busy five days of learning and creating. Randy was a wonderful resource, inspiration and guest.
Here is what the students have to say about the experience:
I personally thought that it was really fun. It's someone new and interesting. Randy Garber did a really good job teaching all of us how to use the equipment. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. -Jesus Grade 11
I enjoyed it. It was different from what we usually did and having a guest artist who specialized in this helped greatly. Randy Garber was enthusiastic about teaching us about what to do and how to do it, and that influenced the class (or at least me) to work at a more enjoyable effort. Wilson, Grade 12
I loved the printmaking process and the ability to create overlays of prints on top of each other. The process itself is so much fun. I loved using the brayers and inks and applying them to what ever surface. The printing press is just too much fun to use. I loved our guest artist. Randy was amazing. She explained the processes to us in a clear understandable way and gave a lot of encouragement to be so shy with the materials and to experiment. I wish I could work with her and the printing press a bit more.  Gabe, Grade 12
It was good way to expand my horizon of artwork. The class was mainly drawing and painting. Adding an addition of etching and printmaking was great. It was good to learn that there is different ways you can do art other than just drawing and painting. I appreciate art more this way. Paul, Grade 12
It was so fun to work with something I never knew about. Randy Garber was so fun to work with as she took things nice and slowly. Working with an experienced artist who is specialized in something that I never knew of is what made discovering this kind of art fun. Sana, Grade 11

It was interesting to see and learn from a professional artist. She gave good examples, directions, as well as advice on are prints. I also got her opinion on my work which was motivating, as it came from a professional. I would highly suggest doing this again next year as it held many benefits to the students in learning how to print as well as getting a opinion from a professional master in the field of art. Kenneth, Grade 11
Here is a link to an great article that Burlington Union did on Randy and her artwork:
Here is the link to Randy's website and Mix it Studio where she is located:
Here is a summary of the 5 day artist residency:
Day 1- Students gathered in the Cambridge Street Gallery to meet with Randy and view her artwork on display. They had great lesson from Randy about the content and meaning of her work. Randy is hearing impaired and she discussed this with students and how it fuels the content of her art.
Students examining Randy's prints and titles of her art.
Randy is holding a cooper etching plate and explaining the process of intaglio to the students.
Day 2 Students created monotypes without a press. They used a plexiglass plate and Akua Inks
Day 3 Students created Monotypes and using our wonderful intaglio press.
Day 4 Students learned how to etch and wipe an etching plate.
Day 5- Students were confidently creating etchings, monotypes and some chose to combine the techniques.
I made it a goal this year to get the etching/intaglio press that was sitting in the back of the art department's storage area since my arrival at BHS in 2002 up and functioning. I researched local printmakers and shops. I contacted the Boston Printmakers who linked me to machinist who came and repaired the broken press.

I knew that I needed more supplies and help with setting up the press and a kickstart to the printmaking. So I I then contacted local artist and national recognized printmaker Catherine Kernan.  She literally wrote the book on Waterbased printmaking materials. (here is the link to her book:) Catherine referred me to her colleague and fellow artist at Mix-it Studio Randy Garber who was able to come to BHS and teach. I wrote a grant to the Burlington Education Foundation grant and was awarded a grant to fund Randy and the materials need for all of my students.

Supplies Ordered
Here is the list of general supplies and materials for anyone who would like to know how to jump start the ordering process.
  • Akua Inks-a broad range of colors plus release agent, transparent base, and metallics
  • High Quality Printing Paper ( I used Reeves)
  • Etching plates/ plexiglass
  • Brayers
  • Etching tools
  • Spray bottle for water
  • Towels
  • Trash bags or plastic ( for wet pack for paper)
  • palette knives
Information learned and notes for future printmaking lessons:
  • You don't need a large scale press ( although very helpful) you can use a table top press.
  • Akua inks are wonderful! Clean up is easiest with Dawn dish soap and you need lots of baby wipes for hands.
  • The Akua Release Agent is worth it. Many students were able to create additional prints from using it- you simple put it over your plate and let it sit for 3-5 minutes and run it through the press again and get a nice ghost image.
  • Metallic Inks- most students said they were subtle and only showed a small amount. The students might expect them to show more but the effects are subtle.
  • Printing plates- each student had a 12" x 12" plexiglass plate. Working in a square format was a huge benefit. Students could rotate their images worked well in the large format. But it did take longer to clean the plates so just make sure that your sinks are BIG and you can wash the plates.
The students loved printmaking. It was a great way for them to combine their drawing a painting skills and test some new techniques and boundaries. Randy was a wonderful resource and a great inspiration to the students. My curriculum is now enhanced from the the inclusion of printmaking and I am eager to continue to develop more lessons using the printing press.

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