As I have continued to practice printmaking on my own and develop ways to bring those skills into the teaching studio, I have been reflecting one what this specific art form has to offer the student. I have noticed that printmaking seems more accessible to those who do not think of themselves as artistic. Beyond this I have noted that printmaking also does the following:
1. It teaches the student about both the artistic and technical process. Teaching the importance of planning and flexibility to reshaping that plan as the project develops.
2. It teaches "plastic" or 3-D modeling thinking. Student must develop the ability to flip and turn objects within their imagination.
3. Using familiar materials in new ways, students gain hand, mind, eye coordination as well as comfort and confidence in using tools.
4. Teaches openness to the possibilities of "play" and experimentation becomes it is possible to easily reproduce the image in a variety of ways. The student can let go of the idea of the work having to be perfect the first time.
5. Both the process and the product provide tangible, simply measurable demonstration of tangible skills and authentic achievement.
6. Promotes original thinking and clearer understanding of the elements of art.
Last, but not least is the real engagement with history. Here are my students at an exhibit of Albrecht Durer prints at the local Mitchell Gallery on the St. John's College Campus: