As I grew, printmaking became more a meditation and a narrative to me. At the impetus, the process – carving wood, rolling up stones or blocks, scraping and burnishing plates, grinding stones, pulling screens physically and fully absorbs me in the present. The repetition of the multiple is also a part of this.
Printmaking engages my narrative content – the subject matter becomes intertwined with the story of the processes engaged, so much that I am often unable to say which was the original inspiration for how the piece came about.
At times, students and administrators ask me why printmaking should continue to be included in curricula. Unlike more commonly recognized art forms such as painting or drawing, printmaking engages a student in a directed process. By engaging in this process, a student observes how they think and learn. By its very nature, printmaking engages metacognition.
As printmaking often takes place in a community setting, i.e., the shared space of a printshop, social interaction is a natural part of the learning process. Often, as educators, we forget that humans are social animals, and that communal engagement enhances learning. In my experience, I have witnessed numerous students make great conceptual leaps due to peer interaction in the printshop.
Since movable type was invented in China, printmaking has an interrelationship with history of communication and the exchange of ideas. When this inheritance is united with metacognition, the study of printmaking reveals insights into the human condition.