Friday, December 14, 2012

Making Paper

The artists really had their hands full up until the last minute this week, with no time to blog - so I'll fill you in!
This week we made beautiful, unique sheets of paper by recycling old scraps of paper, breaking them down in a blender with lots of water, pouring the pulp into a plastic bin, and using a mold and deckle to lift a rectangular blob of pulp out of the water. Then we used screens, sponges, "couch sheets," and an iron to get all of the water out. Artists got creative not only with combinations of paper for multicolored/textured papers, but also with "negative space" - some kids were inspired by the "holes" they kept encountering in their sheets, and actually made designs with the pulp - including a handprint and a smiley face!
My favorite part of this week was seeing the artists really feel confident experimenting and problem solving - papermaking can be tricky, and in the end I basically stepped away from the process and said "use what you have their to get the water out of the paper without ruining the paper. If it does get messed up, just start over!" And they DID! They shared their solutions with each other and with me. I also saw many artists dump their pulp back into the bin to start over, without groans or aggravation, while others brought their fragile, holey, or fragmented papers to me, with cheerful smiles, excited to "try again".
To me, that's exactly what success looks like. A room of kids feeling empowered, capable, flexible, proud, comfortable acting as unique individuals (with ideas different from their friends'), and happy.

Next week is our last week of the afterschool program. We're ready to celebrate!

can you see the dog face?

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