Having been awarded the Chapel Art Studios Educational Project Residency I knew I wanted to work with Kings School in Winchester. Earlier in the year, while still studying at the Winchester School of art I lead a workshop with the entirety of year 9, so suffice to say I knew the school by then!
During my first ever session working with the school I was given the brief of presenting an art workshop that gave the idea of some techniques used in the professional art world. In a series of 30 minute slots I had to deliver an interesting, informative (and hopefully fun) session to help the young people choose their options for GCSE. Now, having a degree in art it obviously doesn’t take much to sell art subjects to me, but I needed to think what exactly I could do in 30 minutes that would get everyone interested and involved!
Being a printmaker and participatory artist this wasn’t the easiest task being as, many of you I’m sure will know, printmaking is quite a laborious process. I certainly couldn’t give them all a piece of lino to crack on with. As such I thought back to some taster workshops I had run as a 3rd year student, to help the new students understand what printing might involve, and the idea of photocopy lithography came to me.
This speedy technique centres around oil and water’s tendency to repel from one another (much like some year 9 girls and the idea of getting their hands dirty apparently), some pre-printed high contrast vectors, and a pasta press of all things! By having prepared pictures for the young people to choose from, we reduced a lot of the time choosing what to do, so it was much more likely they’s all have a change to pull a print. Although saying this it was by far not the speediest part for me! Choosing what to print was most certainly the hardest part for me! What on earth do 13-14 year olds think is cool?! We went for the safe options of animals, music, food, and of course social media logos… Take a guess which was the most popular.
Fortunately I must have chosen something that was at least a bit interesting as the day turned out to be a success, with Head of Art Zoe Churcher suggesting it would be nice for me to come back and teach some techniques to their older pupils.
It all came together rather nicely when I mentioned this to David when I had secured my residency, and thus CAS at Kings was born. The three initial plans I submitted with my application were based around a printmaking crash course, the use of social media and art, and developing a publication all of which I had experience leading workshops in before. However once the three of us had met to iron out some more specific idea it seemed that an amalgam of all three would be the most beneficial! When I got home that evening my job became planning some kind of crazy, durational project to turn these 11 year 10 ladies into fully fledged printmakers in a just few months.
The long and short of it has become a plan of 15 hour long sessions across a number of weeks, to teach the lovely ladies an array to printmaking skills, culminating in an exhibition at the Winchester School of Art. This should teach them not only the art techniques, but curation, social media skills, installation and deinstallation of work, and most importantly what art is in a wider context.
A couple of weeks after our initial meet I popped by the lesson slot I would be teaching in to observe the class, and had a lovely surprise realising there were some familiar faces in the crowd. Some recognised me very well from the aforementioned photocopy lithography workshop! One I had even taught for the whole previous year, in the Winchester School of Art National Saturday Club. This was certainly relieving as remembering names isn’t exactly my strong suit. After a little adapting the lesson plan, and working out materials it was then time to get started!
Our first session involves a process printing game to get the ladies warmed up and understanding the techniques. This is inspired by the works of Sol LeWitt and Berenice Sydney, and releasing control of the outcome.
At the end of this project (sometime in March) we will have a private view and exhibition to celebrate their work, and hand out Arts Awards, which I will be assessing and advising for during my time there. This will add value to the process by giving the young ladies a tangible and qualification based outcome. Until then do follow our progress on our Instagram and Pinterest linked below.
Georgia de Buriatte
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