Community Projects

SICCDA Over-55 Womens and Mens Groups based in the Liberties, Dublin 8

Working over a series of 5 cumulative sessions, artists explored printmaking processes with an Over-55 Women and Mens group in the Liberties Dublin.

The project encompassed ideas of community and place, with a particular focus on the built environment that surrounds the group. Artists were encouraged to share contemporary art practice with participants and work with a collaborative focus, generating ideas with the group to form a collaborative artwork for the building.

Artists Maureen Burke and Siobhán Cox and education curator Jean Mann, worked with the Liberties Over 55s group, as part of Black Church Print Studio ‘s Action Research Project supported by the Arts Council’s Capacity Building Support Scheme.


If you are interested in working with the Black Church Print Studio on a Community based project please get in contact.
Session 1:
Maureen and Siobhan explored themes central to the group’s idea of place. Discussions developed that included notions of belonging, deep community roots and links with key buildings and architecture, both past and present in the Liberties. Maureen introduced print as a distinct method of art making and inquiry and demonstrated the monoprinting technique.
Session 2: 
Participants experimented with printmaking techniques – Monoprint and Monotype, based on photographs the group had taken of areas that had particular resonance or importance to them in the Liberties. 
Session 3:
Participants worked on building up plates for collographs. Using card, found and natural materials, participants further developed on initial photographs taken, to create representational and abstract collagraph plates from the images.
Session 4:
Following on from the previous week, participants inked up their collagraph plates to finished prints in monotone and colour.
Session 5:
The group arranged and selected finished collagraph tile prints into a collaborative artwork for the community building.

The Outdoor Classroom, Stanhope Street Primary School, Dublin 7

Black Church Print Studios artists Caroline Byrne, Siobhan Cox and Education Curator Jean Mann,  worked on an Outdoor Classroom project with 4th Class pupils from Stanhope Primary School in Stoneybatter Dublin 7.

The Outdoor Classroom Project used the outdoor environment for research purposes, gathering natural materials and artmaking.

Project Artists shared contemporary art practice with pupils and worked with a collaborative focus, generating ideas with the group to form a collaborative artwork, process and intervention in the school building.

The artists made handmade paper with the children, incorporating natural elements and pressing plants into this handmade paper, which they then printed on together.


If you are interested in working with the Black Church Print Studio on a Community based project please get in contact.
Outdoor classroom finished artwork

Session 1: Laying foundations for the project.
After looking at examples of handmade paper prints from Caroline’s artwork, children from 4th class foraged for organic materials, leaves, flowers and plants in their schoolyard to use in creating their own handmade paper. These precious samples were then carefully carried back to the classroom where the natural materials were pressed onto blotting paper for use later in the project. Pupils then made natural dye in jars using onion skins, beetroot and marigold petals they had collected. Our final fun task for the day was to tear up school recycling paper which was put to soak to make paper pulp for stretching out next week..

Session 2 – paper making.
Today children learned the process of making handmade paper. Using recycled school paper the girls shredded last week, we further blended this soaked shredded paper into pulp. Then using a mould and deckle, children worked together in groups sieving the pulp onto the frame, while adding their pressed flowers and organic material. They then peeled this new paper onto a cotton sheet and hung up to dry on a clothesline.

Session 3 – exploring printmaking.
Pupils began the session by carefully peeling their handmade paper off the cotton sheet used to make the paper. This revealed beautiful white paper, with natural plant elements contained within the fabric of the paper itself, and rough, organic edges. They then began experimenting with the Gelli-plate Monoprinting technique on old used classroom handouts. Using plant leaves, petals, blades of grass, feathers and cut-out shapes, the children created both negative and positive images from the gelli plates. Pupils also experimented with dripping paint or stamp printing onto the surface.
Session 4 – fine printing on handmade paper
After experimenting last week with the gelli plate, this week the children focused on refining their skills and getting final finished prints on their handmade paper. Using the natural variations in the handmade paper, children identified areas they wished to enhance and worked with the gelli-plate to produce fine art prints. Plants were used as a barrier to the ink, to create prints that had shapes and curves of natural elements, while also containing these elements in the actual paper itself.
Session 5 – bringing it all together
Children worked in groups throughout the making of their prints in this project, and today they curated which prints to place beside each other for the final collaborative artwork. The pupils then hand sewed the paper together into long strips, which were tied to a piece of wood. This was then hung as a large ‘wall hanging’ in front of two large windows, in the atrium space of the school building. The light from the windows peeking through the handmade paper, not only illuminated the colourful prints, but also the plant matter deep within the beautiful handmade paper.