My First Art Camp Experience.

Week One:

We (Artist Lazaro Amaral and Myself, Assistant Art Teacher/Writer) strive to creatively liberate our young art students and educate them using the oldest form of print used to create art work, Mono Print. Dating back to 1589, Holland this medieval machine requires you turn a large lever in a rotational motion which sends the steel roller rolling and pulls in the printing board that flattens the blanket covering the image to press the ink against a flat material and produce a unique print every time.

I stood in the print room, the vast silence almost echoed in anticipation. I was nervous. Very nervous. The room was cold, big and divided by three huge steel mono printing machines. The back painted with chalk board paint and I felt hesitation clench my being before picking up the chalk to write out the first task of the first day. My nerves roused only because this was my first experience working with children, I waited for them to arrive pouring in a mass of energy and antics.

I was thankful to have artist and friend, Lazaro Amaral to learn from and watch. His dynamic approach and energy match any child and I feel I’m in safe hands. Sure enough the first few enter wide-eyed and silenced as they look at the high topped printing tables, edges lined with printing clamps I can only imagine look daunting, least the medieval looking print machines. Three huge metal mono printing machines split the room. Each machine up to 60 years old and crafted solid steel, each look the weight of a small Dinosaur.

As you can imagine, our youngest students are most surprised, everything giant and new, even the more confident ones rushed in and silenced by the vastness of the room, looming metal and wood. All ages hushed and eager. One by one, we watch as each familiarize with tools and process to create little masterpieces. As the days pass, so the rhythm is found. The characters defined and names learned.

I introduce myself and instruct they sit in the side room altered to resemble that of a classroom as opposed to a store-room for printing equipment. Lazaro explains that before we create we must have a portfolio to keep work organized and protected. The long chalk board wall explains step by step instructions of how we are to execute our creative visions.

I watch Lazaro, an established working artist, teaching up to our ears in paint using a revolutionary machine and essential sharing art history, keeping the medium alive and in the process producing extraordinary work.


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