Starting points for print

Clay as a base material for creating prints

Clay is a very useful material to print from, since it can take an impression and be cut into very easily. The children can create designs and compositions by pressing objects into a slab of clay about 12 cm by 16 cm, rolling printing ink over it and taking a print. The children can also draw into the clay with the back of a paint brush and cut away, leaving their drawn shapes standing, and these become the positive image.

Clay shapes can also be cut out and attached to a clay base for printing. A rolling-pin is used very gently to smooth the surface before inking up. The clay should be of a firmer consistency than is normally used by the children for pottery or sculpture. A sheet of paper is placed on top of the inked surface and very gently rubbed over with the soft part of the palm of the hand.

Children should be alerted to the danger of squashing their work.Besides printing onto clean sheets of paper, old print-making experiments or rubbings can be used to print on for a variety of interesting effects using a different colour. Areas of the original can be masked by temporarily placing strips of paper or shapes of paper cut to the child’s design over it during the second printing.