Saturday, September 22, 2012

Focal Point Fruit Print Tote

Fall is in the air! And for those of us in New England it's apple picking time! I took the kiddos out and we picked a HUGE bag of Cortlands, Macouns and (my favorite) Honey Crisp apples. YUM! This is also a wonderful time to do an art project that is a lesson in basic printmaking techniques, using fruit to make prints.

One of these things is not like the other...

Variations of this lesson abound, but with this one, you can use apples or pears to make a fall-inspired tote bag to carry all of those library books around! If you don't want to go through the expense of printing on canvas totes, just use tempera paints on heavy-weight paper.

In her book "Teaching Art With Books Kids Love," author Darcie Clark Frohardt has a similar lesson. She uses fruit prints to illustrate the concepts of focal point and dominance to students. She suggests using the book "Saint George and the Dragon" by Margaret Hodges--which has gorgeous illustrations, by the way, to show the concept of focal point and then stamp the fruit onto the surface with one of them being a different color. That different colored fruit becomes the focal point of the piece.

No matter how you choose to do this project, it is fun way to explore printmaking!

Focal Point Fruit Print Tote

Supplies Needed:
  • Canvas tote (or heavyweight paper)
  • Fabric Paints in two colors for the fruit (red and green or green and yellow, etc.)
  • Brown or black fabric paint for seeds and stems (or you could use a Sharpie marker if you are doing this on paper)
  • Fruit such as a pear or apple (or experiment with whatever fruits and veggies you have on hand)
  • Knife (to cut fruit, a grown-up's job)
  • Paper plate palette
  • Newspaper to cover work surfaces

1. Cut your fruit in half using a sharp knife (a grown-up's job).

2. Place some fabric paint on a paper plate. Dip the fruit into the fabric paint and try a test print (or two) on paper. Once you've got the technique down, you can stamp the fruit in rows across the tote. To make the focal point, use an alternate color of paint to stamp one of your fruit a different color than the rest.

3. Use brown or black fabric paint with a fine tip to add details like seeds and stems to the fruit. I didn't add seeds to the focal point fruit because I thought that made it look like it wasn't cut open but the rest were.

4. Let dry for at least 24 hours (or whatever the fabric paint manufacturer suggests).

A variation of this would be to use any of the books by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers such as "How Are You Peeling: Foods With Moods" and after your initial fruit prints are dry, add faces to them expressing different feelings and moods. FUN!

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