What a lot of fun it has been teaching Moku Hanga to the 9th graders at Santa Cruz Waldorf High School. At SCWHS all the students have to take art so there is a broad range of skill and experience, but all have taken to the printmaking with a certain enthusiasm.
I have been given NO money for supplies because there simply isn't any and so been raiding my own stash and buying blocks, paper, and ink. We were given new lino cutting tools, which only just work, because of the less than adequate tools I have done some carving on the students blocks, clearing large areas with my big chisel and cleaning up blocks here and there. As for brushes I am letting them use mine and some simply have to make do with painting brushes from the school.
For printing we have 4 barens of varying degrees of quality which are shared about the tables. This can be a bit chaotic. I tried to introduce the use of a wooden spoon, but alas they would not accept this mode of printing despite my quite decent demonstration.
When the class is going going full steam ahead, snippets of ambient conversations heard can sound something like this:
Miss Moll Miss Moll I need help
this one's a keeper
I can't do this
where's the bamboo thingy?
it's called a baren
i know i like to call it the bamboo thingy
Miss Moll look at my print!
can I take this one home?
this looks crappy
you're pressing way too hard
you need to keep the baren flat
why can't i do this?
it takes some practice, like a sport
whoa, that's too much ink, it's not ketchup
this one looks pretty good
who has the brush for the black?
where's the baren?
You get the idea.
The hour and 50 minutes we have twice a week flashes by as I share in both the printing problems and the triumphs. The look on a teenagers face with when they pull their first print is priceless. And to hear at the end of the day the grouchiest of students saying that printing so much fun......I tell them, yes, you are right, printing is so much fun........ Did you clean up your table?
For me this is the best class that I have taught at the school, and the last since my position has been cut next year.