Thursday, October 27, 2011

Inspiration, Experimentation, & Networking

Last weekend I attended a 2 day art conference held every fall in our state.  This was my 5th conference I have attended (I attended 3 as a student and this was my 2nd as a teacher) and although this one was a little bit more chaotic, disorganized, and dysfunctional than I can usually handle, I survived.  And despite the chaos, I learned a lot from our great presenters!

I attended many great workshops over the 2 days and got a wide range of lesson plan ideas, tips/tricks, and was totally inspired to try some new things!  I love attending this conference because all of the attendees are art teachers.  Some teach in big districts with multiple art teachers and others, like me, are the only art teacher in their district(like me!).  Some teach one or two subjects within art, others teach it all.  Some teach elementary, some teach junior high, some teach high school, and a few (like me!) teach it all!  I enjoy seeing us all come together and to create a great network of communication through sharing various ideas.

One workshop I attended was entitled CD Printmaking.  I was intrigued from the beginning.  Our presenter had an old CD for each of us to try it out.  She had these fancy tools she made herself using the plastic part of an old pen and added a darning needle to the end...quite dangerous as she showed us her hands!  I was immediately worried because I know some of my students would use these tools to "shank" (my students' word) each other, no doubt about it.  They worked so well though.  On the back of the CD, you scratch your design after drawing in sharpie.  The best way is to use hatching and crosshatching.  The parts you leave alone will become white.  This process is similar to an etching and took me back to the days of printmaking with my undergrad professor.  Surprisingly, the CD surface scratched easily and was very exciting! 

The presenter also had materials for us to print our CDs, however I wanted to attend another workshop so I left early and experimented at school a few days later.  It could use some more work, but as a first time attempt I think it looks fun!  Here is a photo of my experiment:

I will definitely be doing some more experimenting and will be using this in my classroom either with JH or HS some time this year.  I need to brainstorm a little though to see what kind of tools will scratch like those needles without being so scary/dangerous looking.  I'm considering trying paperclips, push pins, and a few clay tools that I have laying around.  When my students do this project sometime in the future, I will post some results.


  1. I have a bunch of CD's so I'll be interested in seeing what works for you. Did you use typical printing ink? Oil or water base? I'm assuming that, like a typical engraving, you applied ink and then rubbed it off the surface. And did you have to run it through a press to get such a good print? (I don't have a press)

  2. The lady who led the workshop said you could use either oil or water based ink. I used water based ink, just because that is all I have in my elementary classroom. It worked just fine!
    It is like a typical engraving where you add the ink and rub it off the surface. There was no printing press at our workshop so the other attendees just printed by hand. I have a small press at my elementary school, so I used that. I used watercolor paper that I soaked for about 5 minutes or so. I think the whole process seems pretty forgiving and open to experimentation! I'll share my findings when I have some time to figure out more. Let me know if you try it and find out anything interesting! :)