You might remember the sun prints the girls and I did last year. We’ve done them a few times since then – first at a Girl Scout weekend camping trip where the girls made Mother’s Day gifts (I wasn’t there, I just sent the kits), and second, this week, for two end of the year teachers’ gifts. The process is simple to do – it’s just not easy to execute in the evenings after work, particularly when it’s been sort of overcast and windy each afternoon. As a result, we ended up with a real range of blues in the background. It was kind of interesting to see how the length of exposure time affected the final result. We even did some inside, through a window, when it started to rain a bit, and we tried a powerful shop light from the basement.
The kids brought in found objects that reminded them of their teachers and the experiences they had this year – most were related to their various outdoor adventures, like camping, stream testing and cleaning, nature hikes, etc. I also gave them transparency paper cut to size and sharpie markers and several wrote poetry, drew pictures and a few even did some math problems. I placed these sheets over the paper and rubbed them to create some static electricity so they laid flat against the sun print paper. I pinned them in four corners and left them out to expose. Every night this week I worked a little towards getting all of these artifacts printed (x2). Some of the drawings and writing were a little faint, but some white pen touch ups once the papers were dry helped immensely.
The “winning” object that looked the most frame-worthy was this delicate leaf that had decayed to the point where only the veining was intact. I’m so glad I managed to get this one printed during the limited amount of bright sunlight. It’s signed “Thrive” 2013 because that’s the name of E’s classroom.
In a stroke of good luck, I found this gorgeous paper at Dick Blick, and purchased it for the covers of two books that would hold the remaining sun prints. The paper was so beautiful it was sort of a shame to cut it into smaller rectangles. I held it up briefly against the gray walls in the living room and it looked amazing. If you are looking for a beautiful embossed print like this, it was very inexpensive, and would look amazing framed and hanging on a wall. Tucking that thought away for later.
Instead of hoarding the paper to myself, I cut it into two journals like this.
And then I stitched a fish hook print into the cover with some simple words written in white ink.
And the remaining images and writing went on the other side.
I loved these name poems by one student.
And I finally got to pull out the cards that I found in Brooklyn back in November and use them – I’ve been saving them for months and I was glad that late last night I could put my hands on them. I can’t say that for everything in my house right now.
Later today I’ll take a quick look back at previous teacher gift ideas. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with original ideas that involve the kids and are something that the teachers will really appreciate and use, but I hope they enjoy these prints and books as much as we enjoyed making them.