Tuesday, 29 January 2013

“To See Oursels As Ithers See Us”

In Scotland at this time of year our thoughts turn to Rabbie Burns. Its a great way to shake off the winter blues.  Haggis, whisky and poetry!

Recently I took one of the lines of a Burns poem to form an exhibition of dry point etchings called
“To see oursels as ithers see us” 

It's a line from "To A Louse" and describes how Burns witnesses with horror as a beastie has the audacity to crawl amongst the lace collar of a particularly upper crust lady as she sat infront of him in church.  He comes to the conclusion that we are all born equal, and it would perhaps be an advantage to view ourselves through someone else's eyes. 

 Nearly 300 children took part from 2 of my schools, all the 8 - 12 year olds.  were given a small piece of perspex and a photograph of themselves and scratched their own image, with a sharp point.

The children then inked the plates (and their hands and the tables and their faces!) and armed with a tiny portable borrowed printing press and a ton of beautiful hand made paper we set to printing 300 of the little faces, pinning them on to large sheets of polystyrene, for display 


Friends who have a photographic studio (Hamilton Kerr, Kirriemuir, check them out!) kindly lent us the space to hang the work for a week, and we sold  the pieces to delighted parents.  True to form we had the most dreadful snow storm in Kirriemuir on the opening night (Burns Birthday), but still children and parents braved the snow drifts and joined us for the evening.  

We even had our local poet,  Mark Thomson, drop in to see "Whit the craic wis"

So proud of my pupils, quite an achievement, and hopefully they will see themselves as others see them.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


It's that time of year in Scottish schools.  Heading towards Burn's Day, a lot of the children are learning Scots poems.  Once learned never forgotten.
These lessons are based on a Scots poem that I learned at school called "The Corbie".

A corbie sits at the tap o’ thon tree,
And he’s lookin  doon wi his black black ee,
And hes crying oot wi a “Caw Caw Caw”
“If you try to sclimb up, You are sure tae fa”

My father says it'll no be lang, 

Afore I’m  big an supple and strang 
An' i'll sclimb up an I'll no fall, 

An' we'll see if the Corbie cries Caw! Caw! Caw!

My mither says its a daft-like ploy
But my faither could dae it when he wis a boy! 

A Corbie is a crow!   

What a great excuse to get the messy charcoal out (to the horror of the class teachers). Can you believe the children are only 5!   

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

This Term We Will Be Mostly Printing

This term I am going to be printing with most of my schools.  A few years ago I bought a bundle of old wooden printing letter blocks from Ebay and they are just the job to reacquaint the children with the printing process.

The children learn to roll and apply the ink and get used to the finished texture.

Sometimes the pupils can become frustrated at the finished print quality and try to over print.  But eventually the overall effect will please them.

The patterns are endless.

Traditionally these should really look good with black ink on light paper but I like to use pastel coloured printing ink on black or coloured paper.  The contrast is good and more importantly it makes much less mess!