Maui Families Join Together for a Day of Printmaking
By Morgan Y. Lapp
Families from all around the island came together on Saturday, Feb. 27, for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Observe and Play Family Day. The event consisted of a walkthrough led by Schaefer International Gallery Director Neida Bangerter and the chance to make a small piece of art to take home.
The focus of the event was to educate children and their families on the art of printmaking. Guests were guided through a printmaking exhibit called “Statements on Nature,” which featured the works of eight different artists from around the country who are all professors at the college level. The artist’s works displayed both traditional and nontraditional forms of printmaking, all with underlying representations of the environment both in its natural state and also influenced by science and politics.
After the guided walkthrough of the gallery was complete, the families were taken outside and taught how to make prints of their own. Participants were given Styrofoam squares to carve an image into with pointed wooden tools. Once the image was ready, there was a station set up with rollers and a thick ink that was rolled on to the Styrofoam image. Then paper was readily available to transfer the image. The Styrofoam was pressed ink side down onto the paper and pressure was applied with a spoon-like tool. Once the whole piece had been applied, the paper was slowly peeled off to reveal the images the families had created.
As the tour was given, children were encouraged to ask questions and engage in the presentation. Questions differed between children and adults, with one child questioning: “Is he a professional?” He had just learned about one of the artists; laughter ensued.
The art of printmaking has been around since the 1300s, according to Bangerter. Printmaking is a very precise art that was first noted in the German Renaissance. There are many techniques practiced in printmaking, but all share the same idea of printing an image onto a base.
Artist Koichi Yamamoto, whose art work was displayed in the gallery, uses copper etching plates and small metal tools to carve out his works before printing the images onto paper. “You can’t make mistakes when doing this art!” Bangerter exclaimed.
All of the artists took very different approaches to their printmaking. Each piece was printed on a different base. Artist Jenene Nagy printed her pieces onto sheets of silk that were then draped over geometric shapes. “This piece represents the fragility of icebergs, which are melting away” Bangerter said.
One piece consisted of prints of 72 different invasive species that are invading our planet. Each piece was carefully printed and cut out by artist April Flanders. The whole installation was 22 feet long and each piece was carefully placed by the artist to create her finished work.
The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Maui’s artistic needs for 20 years. It is a place for learning, performing and displaying many art forms. “We bring our children to as many MACC events as we can,” said one Observe and Play Family Day participant. “They learn new skills and have a great time doing it. I love to see my kids having fun and creating new things.”
For more information about the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and to find out about upcoming events and activities, visit www.mauiarts.org