2D Design, Printmaking classes modify curriculum for online

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The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many daily activities into something difficult to recognize. It has forced Delta College to modify the majority of its classes to be online-only, which has presented interesting challenges to programs such as 2D Design and Printmaking.

Ruth Santee is the instructor for Delta’s 2D Design and Printmaking classes.

“The 2D Design class was easier to move to online than the Printmaking class,” said Santee.

The 2D design class is an introduction to the concepts, applications, and historical references related to theory and two-dimensional design. The four levels of printmaking courses utilize the basic materials, equipment, and processes of printmaking, including monotype, relief (linocut and woodcut), intaglio (dryout, etching, and collagraph). The 2D Design course is mostly theory, while the four printmaking courses are hands-on.

“The transition between in person and online art classes was not easy,” said Santee. “In person-classes make the active learning of art possible. Teaching printmaking without a printing press was particularly challenging.”

Instead of using the printing press, Santee had to come up with ways to adjust the curriculum.

Something that is not normally in the budget are gel plates. This is a soft plate that looks and feels like gelatin, but isare durable, reusable, can be stored at room temperature, and isare easy to clean. Gel plates can be used to make a variety of different prints using techniques such as rubbings or hand pressure instead of using a printing press. The brand of gel plates used in the kits are Gelli Plates.

“The Gelli plate allows artists to make monotype prints using hand pressure. This eliminates the need for a printing press,” said Santee. “Gelli plates are a relatively new technology. I had not introduced students to them until Covid19. They were not cost effective for in- class, but became essential for online printmaking.”

In making the kits, Santee said she, “included the Gelli Plate, a piece of linoleum, a linoleum cutting tool, a brayer for spreading ink, and paper.”

She also included a starter kit of water-based block ink that they could use to develop their own colors.

Starter kits include the primary colors of red, yellow and blue, as well as black, white, and gold inks. From these six basic colors, a great variety of colors can be made.