Saturday, February 3, 2007

Printer's Block

No pictures today....instead, an afternoon of disappointing printing. Over the past week, Elliot and I made several printing blocks out of white Sculpey. I had a feeling that Elliot's wouldn't make great prints because they were pretty bumpy, but I had high hopes for mine---I was planning to take the best of the bunch and use them on some little t-shirts for my niece, Imogen. As it turned out, neither Elliot's nor my blocks worked much at all; even though I had rolled lightly over the surface of mine before baking them, they were apparently still too uneven to make all the detail show up when I test-printed them on paper. Even worse, when we mixed the fabric paint we were going to use on the t-shirts, it was way gunkier than the Speedball block printing ink had been, and we couldn't get the brayer to load properly. Inexplicably, I decided to go ahead and print on the t-shirts, and they came out pretty bad.

After Elliot (cheerfully) gave up, Astrid joined me and asked if she could paint on the remaining t-shirt. I couldn't think of a reason to say no, so I gave her the bottles of paint, a mixing surface, and a plastic knife. She ended up mixing an almost fluorescent orange and applying it every way she could think of to the lime green shirt. She started with a chunky brush and made hearts, x-es, a ladder, and a mountain. Then she switched to rubber stamps (seashell, three different fish, a crab, Saturn....probably something else, too). Finally, she put handprints in several places. It's actually a very cool shirt. She concentrated so hard while she was working, and when she was done (right when I was ready to start cooking dinner), she was wiped out and wanted me to hold her (her usual response to exhaustion, even now that she's almost four).

When I'm working with the kids, I usually have to help at least one of them work through disappointment when his or her work doesn't come out the way the child had envisioned. Today I was the one who had to deal with that kind of disappointment. Elliot had so amiably walked away from an obviously lost cause, and Astrid was oblivious to my own dissatisfaction--her work went great.

I'm going to see if some embellishment can make the t-shirts look a little better. I also thought of trying to wash out the paint, but I'm pretty sure I've waited too long now.


Anonymous said...

I understand, that happened to me,too. I used everything from potatos to rubbery things. I just can't do it!

Anonymous said...

My friend Gracie and Maya and Astrid.