It somehow always surprises me how many middle school students delight in making hand prints. Many absolutely revel in getting paint on their hands and making it a print.
It appears, from my vantage point, that middle school artists are as pleased with themselves as much younger children making this discovery for the first time. Could it be that these older kids never got to try this? Or is it that they never got to do it "over and over" until they were "done." I'm pretty much "done" with making my own hand prints - when did I "finish" I wonder?
This quite large collection of hand prints (above) was made on the day I "opened" the printmaking center for a 7th grade class this trimester. Most have been introduced to Styrofoam printmaking before, so my 5 minute demo was mostly a quick review.
The students who created this collection of hand prints tired of printing from their drawn images, and moved on to this, which captured their attention for two more classes (or until I put the printmaking center away temporarily, to make things easier on the sub when I was away).
How many days would this activity have held their interest?
When I unloaded the drying rack, upon my return from a 2-day absence, I pondered these questions, while also turning the expression "caught red-handed" over in my head. The students who made these prints ("the right hand is 'S,' the left hand is 'R,'" they told me) have been in a little hot water recently - getting caught "red-handed" on more than one occasion - is this art illustrating life? It has been observed that "all art is self-portrait"...
I posed the possibility of extending this idea to my classes in a little corner of the whiteboard reserved for possible "Art Challenges." A student made this suggestion one year ("you should give us challenges to do"). The challenge is optional, but can be used as a fall-back assignment if a student is at a loss for what to do.
Will the boys who made these prints use them as an idea starter?