Ephemerama #32

After 4 years in the academic teaching wilderness I’ve returned to college level teaching this spring. I’m teaching a printmaking course at Muhlenberg College, Print 1 to be specific. I thought I’d talk a little about what I’d like to cover in this class, and go through some of my fears in prepping the course.

First I have to say that it was thanks to Emily Orzech that I got this course. Emily is the regular printmaking professor at Muhlenberg. She normally covers the Print 1 course I’m teaching this semester, but she’s teaching a book arts course instead which freed up a teaching slot which she recommended I teach. I’m so thankful to Emily for the opportunity but must confess that it opened up huge stores of anxiety within me, anxiety I didn’t think I was able to produce.

My fears for the course centered mainly on my inexperience with teaching certain techniques in printmaking. I’m mostly a relief printer (linoleum and wood relief). There are dozens of highly technical print processes and the basic ones such as etching and silkscreen, are processes I haven’t done since grad school. I confided these concerns to Emily and she thankfully provided her syllabus and notes from her Print 1 course that she taught in the fall and with that I was able to put together a fairly decent course.

The course I put together is centered around drawing. I was told that Muhlenberg students could use more drawing experience and so I assigned a sketchbook assignment for the course where students have to fill their sketchbooks by the end of the course. I also gave them a toy to draw in their sketchbooks to give them something interesting to focus on.

As for course assignments I gave students 4 main projects and a final for the course. The class begins with what I’m strongest at teaching which is relief printing. The first project, which the students are working on now, is a linoleum relief print based on nature and patterns. For this project students are encouraged to recycle old linoleum blocks to make new prints. The second project is also a relief print, this time with wood blocks. For this project my students will use a dremel tool to carve their blocks and will be making prints that go into accordion style books.

For the third project I’m going to have my students make a couple portrait etchings. One of the etchings will be based primarily on interview answers each student made on the first day of class. The second portrait will be an etching of another classmate. And for the last project students will make comics using silkscreens. These last two projects are using processes that are new to me but I’m keeping the projects simple so students can get a taste of the basics.

While I’m only at the beginning of my course now I’m already feeling like the class will open up new opportunities for me. Here a pic of my classroom:

I discovered some songs on my email I meant to blog about a couple days ago and so here they are. A couple weeks ago I discovered this Earth Wind and Fire song “Can’t Hide Love” while getting my hair cut. I’m pairing this song with a selection from my friend Michelle Neifert. It’s Supertramps “Easy Does It-Sister Moonshine”. I hope you like them


Okay that’s it for this post. Next I’ll blog about the Compendium show I’m in at the Banana Factory. Until then do be well.

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