Gelli Plates, monoprinting, principles, and a critique

I absolutely could not wait to try my new Gelli Plates with my Art 3 students. I not only wanted them to experiment with the plates, but I wanted them to apply knowledge of the art principles. Earlier that semester I had given a pre-test on the principles of art and the results who poor… to say the least… Art 3 is a precursor to AP Studio Art and they must understand the principles and learn to identify them. 
Voila, a lesson is born. Monoprinting, principles, and a critique
Students were reintroduced to the principles of art using many visual examples. Then, in groups, they had to decide what principle(s) the image on the screen was displaying. This promoted discussion within the group and competition amongst all groups because I said winning table would be cleaned up by me :). Not only did they have a tell me what principle was used, but had to explain how it was used. Sometimes they would even point out a principle I missed and had to explain their reasoning for that. 

Next, came the demonstration of the mono printing process. First, I showed two youtube videos on mono printing which you can find on my Printmaking Pinterest page. Then, I demoed where the materials were and how to use them. What I love most about Gelli Plates is that you could use any kind of acrylic paint and other material to "block" the paint. This excited the students more then anything because the whole process is very experimental. 
gelli arts plates
paint pallets 
pallet knives
7"x7" printing papers
scrap paper
bubble wrap
found objects
I allowed them one day of "play" so they could experiment and make some random pieces. Also, because the plates of 6"x6" I cut plenty of 7"x7" papers for them to use. 

At the end of the "play" day I introduced the project. 
They were to choose 4 principles and create a print for each. They used their sketchbooks to draw out some ideas, but many of them kept experimenting and would decide on the principle after the print was made. This was fine with me because they still had to identify the principle. So either way they were applying that knowledge. 

Finally, after the projects were complete we broke into our critique groups. Students placed a post-it next to each print to identify the principle they used and how that principle is being used. Peer critiqers were to write whether the principle was successful or not, why, and what could they have done differently. 

Overall, it was a successful project. Students learned their principles, argued their ideas, and learned mono printing. Though, I do think you need that day of play because students will want to use their own ideas more then the principles. Also, some of the "play" ones can even be used in their project because they realized they were using a principle of art. 


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