Frost is a natural phenomenon that Canadians are quite familiar with. Air saturated with water vapour freezes into intricate patterns on contact with frigid surfaces. The scientific term for this is sublimation. The days of waking up in the morning to windows covered in Jack Frost’s ice paintings happen less and less owing to better insulation in modern windows.
I have fond memories of sharing a room with my big sister, and opening my eyes in the morning to contemplate frost patterns on the windows.
This window frame, with some wonderful coloured glass, came from my family homestead, framing the artwork in both time and space. The sight of the frosted windows, perhaps unreasonably, gives me a warm feeling of being held by my family.
In very little time we’ve moved from a world of Laura Ingles Wilder to the land of the Jetsons. But that is as it should be. I am more than happy to live where I do and when I do, somewhere between what’s old and what’s new.
Recently, I was asked by a nearby art gallery* to teach a printmaking workshop, since my BFA major is printmaking.
Mostly folks don’t really know what printmaking is. I didn’t until I took my first class. In a nutshell, printmaking is making a “plate” that can be used many times to print an image over and over. The simplest “plate” is a rubber stamp. In this workshop I showed participants how to carve an image into a rubber block, ink it, and print it. The stamps in the picture on the right were made by Grade 4 students. Stamps were printed several times each, including Artist Trading Cards, and a large poster of everyone’s stamp.
“A” printmaking workshop turned out to be 3 days of workshops. Students ranged in age from grade 1 to grade 12. Time varied from 1 – 2 hours, as well as an adult class that was all day. Time between classes was sometimes non-existent. Ahhhhhhh. The hardest thing for me, was preparing materials because it changed for each group, especially because the youngest group didn’t use sharp carving tools. To say the least it took considerable effort to prepare for!
The highlights of the workshops were seeing sparks of inspiration. It made the hard work worth it. I fanned those sparks into flames as often and as hard as I could. Mostly, I loved being asked repeatedly where to buy these materials, and I loved that they wanted to keep working even when it was time for them to go.
I thought I’d prepared for every possible scenario though, until I set out to teach my daughter’s grade 4 class. As I was leaving home, my daughter phoned to say she wouldn’t be meeting me at the school after all, since she was going into labour!
It made for a very interesting couple of classes! Her students were darlings who clamoured to know about their teacher and the baby that was coming soon.
My daughter made her own stamp on the world with a big beautiful baby boy who was healthy and perfect. And her students felt like they somehow shared the experience because their teacher’s mom was with them while she had the baby. Their excitement was fantastic!!
Besides the excitement of a new baby, and making stamps, our workshops were sponsored by PV Disposal who also gave each of the kids an apron to keep the ink off their good clothes. They were almost as happy with the aprons as they were with their new rubber stamps.
Even though we used brayers and printer’s ink in the workshop, at home they can use their stamps over and over again using a simple stamp pad. I’m pretty sure more than a few will go out and get supplies to make more stamps at home. My job here is done!
In my next blog entry I will describe how to make a rubber stamp in 6 easy steps.
Well, it’s April now. Your birth month. You’re nearly ready to make your grand entrance.
So, sweet grandchild, let me tell you what will happen when you get here. Prepare to be snuggled and cuddled and cooed to, and love, love, loved.
I gotta tell you, you are most welcome. You will have a big brother who’ll always be there for you. OK, so you’ll fight a little, but he’ll be your biggest supporter and your go-to-guy. Then, there’s mom and dad. How they’ve wanted you. I’ve watched you grow so big inside your mommy she can hardly walk. Your mom and dad have been working so hard to make sure you will have the very best life. And you’re not even here yet. Just wait til you see how they love and care for you in May, then more in June. Imagine this: it will be more and more every day for the rest of their lives! Really. I know it’s hard to believe, since they already love you unimaginably .
There’s more! Grandmas and grandpas and great-grandparents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins and great-aunts and great-uncles. And that’s just your family. Then there’s friends. Oh my gosh. You are surrounded by oodles ‘n oodles of people who already care for you.
There are so many people I wish you could have known, baby. Maybe you met them on your way here? What beautiful people there have been in your mom and dad’s lives. You wont get to meet them, but their inspiration is still felt by the people around you, so in a round-about way you will know them.
What will you be like? Who will you be? Borrow a little from mommy and a little from daddy. But most of all, I know, you will be you. I can say with some certainty you will be independent. I’m pretty sure you will be considerate and loving, intelligent and thoughtful, creative and articulate. I know these things because that’s what you live with.
Most of all, you will be you. My little unborn baby grandchild, your entire life is still ahead of you. A blank canvas for you to paint your life on. You are not limited to being mini-Tracy or mini-Dean. Amazing as they are, and as much as you will learn from them. You will be you, and I can’t wait to get to know the person you will become.
Love and hugs and kisses
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly it’s true
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Can happen to you.
On and on you will hike, And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s a great balancing act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
Will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
So sweet baby, today is the day! I’ll meet you within hours. Your mama and you are working together at this very moment. Soon. Love you.