Marciac: Discover engravings.

according to a publication by Virginie Houga, a fine arts teacher at Aretha Franklin College in Marciac, Monday, June 20, 2022.

The students create their own exhibition in a gallery in Marciac.

This exhibition, theirs, was the culmination of a year-long project. In several stages, with their teacher Virginie Houga, this work was carried out as part of the Grav’en Scène project. A project initiated by Christophe Bassetto, president of the ADPL association and founder of the Gondrin art library. The students of CM1 and CM2 of primary school also took part in the “engraving” part of this artistic project.

Engravings exhibited at L’Âne Bleu.

Sixth graders first visited the Blue Donkey, the Saty Gallery, near Aretha Franklin College last December.

There the students discovered an exhibition devoted to prints, with works by Christine Gendre Bergere and Dominique Medard. Indeed, the Marciac gallery owner presents an exhibition each December devoted to two engravers.

Art Education. Virginie Houga introduces her students to the world of engraving.

An exhibition space. Most students did not know this place, yet so characteristic of Marciac. Almost everyone also discovered real engravings for the first time. A very different experience than showing a photo of a work of art in the classroom!

The presentation and hanging of the works, neat and well thought out, the arrangement of the formats in the exhibition space, the unity and balance given to the whole, the quality of the paper, the colours, the relief and the finishes … This everything can only really be approached when one is in front of the works!

In the words of Virginie Houga, “It is our duty as educators to facilitate direct encounters for students with works and art in general, helping to educate their eyes, develop their sensitive intelligence and building up their representations to the world.

Engraving and the Grav’en Scene Project. Collaboration with the Gondrin art library.

Engraving is a very specific theoretical vocabulary. Virginie Houga began to discuss this in class using specific educational documents. From small videos on the subject to additional explanations by Saty and then by Christophe Bassetto, engraving would soon hold no secrets for these teens.

Christophe Bassetto met sixth-grade students in February during Virginie Houga’s plastic arts classes. He handed the students engravings from the loan/rental fund of the Gondrin Art Library. He illustrated his words on the basis of these works and taught them certain techniques, with concrete examples: the different supports, different working instruments,…

The students learned that the word “Matrix”denoting the engraved plate comes from Latin watch which means “mother”, for it is she who gives birth to all the prints printed from this plate! When things make sense, it’s always easier to remember…

They were reminded of the existence of different engraving techniques such as wood engraving, etching (engraving on a lacquered metal plate, with immersion in an acid bath to hollow out the design, etc.), chine-collé (litter truss paper pasted on the support for the printing), etc.

Admire the prints of the engravers Iris Miranda and Charlotte Massip up close they were impressed by the beauty of the works, their originality, their delicacy and their very different but certainly imaginative worlds. In the classroom they could work for several weeks in the presence of an engraving entitled Fly† This is an etching by artist Elke Daemmrich. They were able to appreciate the smallest details, thanks to the principle of rental and loan of real works of the Gondrin art library.

In exchange for a membership and annual dues, it is the same principle as in a library. But instead of books, works of art (paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, ceramics, etc.) are borrowed. The project thus facilitates access to art, in places that may be far from museums or art centers. It promotes the discovery and sometimes the meeting of artists in a simple way, for everyone.

From theory to practice: a learning experience.

Engraving is an art whose technique is motivating but delicate and demanding

After these sessions devoted to discovery, the students were able to take up the challenge of creating their own engravings. They made their drawings. The theme: imagine a fantastic creature and try to “bring it to life” on the support.

First they worked on a transparent plastic support, the rhodoid, with a traditional tool, the dry tip, where you have to adapt your gesture because the surface resists… This was an opportunity to take the idea of textureby working the hair, scales, feathers, fur, breastplates and varied coats of their creatures, by enriching their graphic “tools”.

During the final phase of the project, they were finally able to print their engravings on various papers, always under the direction of Christophe Bassetto, who brought a professional press to the college to continue printing proofs (printing on paper from the matrix). Each budding artist made three prints on inked, blank paper, pencil backgrounds, or discarded book pages. The students were able to operate the wheel of the press themselves, to drive their engraved plate covered with the moistened paper backing under the roller that pressed them very strongly together.

They often discovered the printed “results” with amazement and happiness. The prints would soon be ready for the exhibition. To complete this work, they were personalized, with frames simply cut out of paper for marking. The hour of the collision arrived.

The engravings of sixth grade students and those of CM1/CM2 students were presented around engravings by artists Iris Miranda and Charlotte Massip. the opening took place on Thursday 16 June after class: a nice reward for their investment in this project.

Grow the seeds of creation that enrich our lives!

Virginia Houga.

Thanks to the children for their sincere involvement, to the parents who were able to attend, to Aurélie Duffau, CM1/CM2 teacher, to Christophe Bassetto for his educational proposal, to Mr Nurisso, director of the college and to Ms Schmidt, director of primary school, all of whom have facilitated the implementation and completion of this Cycle 3 Education Continuity Project.

A special thank you to Saty, a privileged partner of the college for many years, for his generosity and opening his gallery to children during the project and his exhibition of the children’s prints at the same time as those of the two artists Charlotte Massip and Iris Miranda. Without his generosity and his passion for art sharing, such an event would not have been possible…

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