Paper Cuts Deep

Term: 2 Year: 2013

During 2011 our school was successful in the application for an “Artist in Schools” funding grant through Arts Victoria. This program allowed us to have a professional artist working with our students for 20 days.

Our school was extremely fortunate to be teamed up with artist Sonia Tomasiello. Sonia created a 9 week unit of work suitable for our year 7 and 8 students that was run throughout Term 2 and 3. This enabled Sonia to work with 4 classes over the 20 days she was working in our school.

Before Sonia arrived we took black and white photographs of the students both front-on and profile and had them blown up to A4 size ready for their first class. Sonia engaged our students in three different art techniques; mono-printing, stenciling and paper cutting, using these self portraits as a basis. The students were also introduced to a variety of Street Artists through video clips and discussion, whilst Sonia explained different techniques that these artists used, such as wheat paste.

We all enjoyed having Sonia working in our school; she influenced and inspired us with her teaching techniques. Although we were familiar with the mediums, through Sonia’s experience and expertise in the field of printmaking we learnt a lot of valuable tips and tricks. This included such simple things as attaching a piece of paper with masking tape to the back of your mono-print design so that the students could use the same image again, and better quality paper.

The students enjoyed the stenciling task (especially the spray painting) and paper cutting task, and although these tasks were quite challenging for them they all remained enthusiastic, engaged and experienced success.

Once the students had mastered the three techniques, by completing three designs using their self portraits, they were then each given an A4 or A3 sized piece of MDF board. (We had sourced pre-cut boards from Resource Rescue) On this board they were asked to create a composition using some or all of the techniques they had just experienced. Sonia also provided them with a selection of both coloured and patterned papers that they could incorporate into their designs.

Once completed these boards were used to create a mural in our arts garden. They were coated with an epoxy resin for waterproofing and attached to the outside wall with a fast setting liquid nails.

In Term 4 we held an exhibition to celebrate and showcase what the students had achieved while participating in the project. Sonia selected and framed a piece of art created by each and every student to exhibit and the mural was unveiled. During this exhibition we set up the art room for mono-printing and Sonia offered short workshop demonstrations to members of our community who attended our exhibition opening. This created an inviting environment at the exhibition, with family and friends getting hands on in the art room and creating their own art.

Samantha Pearsall & Fountain Gate Arts Staff
Fountain Gate Secondary School
Suitable for level 5