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Mandinka style printing: middle/elementary.

Significant Problem:

Mandinka fabrics are sold worldwide. Although these geometric prints are exciting, they are limited to one color, usually black. To create more colorful prints, we decided to experiment with relief printing on cut-paper backgrounds.

Essential Concepts:

1. Exploring color variations and transformations.

2. Learning the steps involved in relief printing.

3. Repeating simple visual elements to create a grid pattern.

4. Understanding the artistic style of the Mandinka.


Blue insulation foam and white thin Styrofoam (in 7 x 7" [18 x 18 cm] squares), rubber cement, glue, assorted no-fade art paper, pencils, rulers, printing inks, brayers

Guiding Practice:

To create the printing paper, cut various color shapes from fadeless art paper. Arrange and glue these shapes in various configurations on a background color. Each student should create a bank of several papers to print on. To create the printing block, use rubber cement to adhere a thin sheet of Styrofoam on top of the thicker insulation foam. Use rulers and pencil to incise a nine-square grid into the Styrofoam. Then in each of the nine squares, incise or emboss various geometric patterns using a pencil or stylus. Ensure students properly apply ink to the blocks. Select paper from bank and place on top of the block. Pat to adhere. Using a clean brayer, work from the center out and roll over the paper. Carefully lift the print from the block. When dry, mount on a colored background.

Assessing Learning:

1. Have students plan a display of the artworks, grouping them in categories ranging from most colorful to least colorful, and from highly controlled to random design.

2. Ask students to explain the process in writing, or to research Mandinka fabric processes and write a short paper on how the classroom experiment is similar to and different from the way the Mandinka work.

ClipCard submitted by Maria L. Wheeler, an art teacher at John Hydock Elementary School in Columbus, New Jersey.

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Article Details
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Author:Wheeler, Maria L.
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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