Making books with children provides the unique opportunity of combining different art forms with storytelling. Handmade books are pieces of art that you can hold in your hand and share with your friends. Books can incorporate the child’s own words, the words of others, or be completely free of text. They can be traditional in nature and composed of pages to leaf through, or untraditional and composed of sculptural forms such as origami. Printmaking, painting, drawing, paper making and the art of decorative papers, including marbled and paste papers, are just of few of the techniques that can be employed in this art form.
“Spring” and “Printmaking” were the themes of our first book project in the after school STARS ART class. The children were given a variety of textures including bubble wrap, corduroy paper, plastic doilies and sheets of craft foam with decorative cut-outs. These materials were glued to sheets of cardboard to form printing blocks. Four bright colors of printing ink were made available. The children applied the ink to the textures with brayers and then printed the designs on white drawing paper. They were responsible for trading and sharing the colors and printing blocks.
Overlapping textures to create new shapes and printing on the entire sheet of paper were two of the focuses of the lesson. After the prints dried, they were cut onto smaller sheets so that each child would have six pages for their book. Holes were punched along one end of the smaller prints and the children bound the pages with ribbons and beads. The older children added words, that they associate with spring, to the inside pages of their book.
At home, making books is a fun activity that can accompany a family vacation, pictures from a favorite sport or plaything, or can be a creative story made by your child or collaborated on by the whole family.
Contributed by Westmont’s Art teacher, Vicki Smith.