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The First Day

Nervous. Never had to ‘teach’ kids before; talked to them about my work, just haven’t spent that much time in a classroom out the front before ‘in charge.’

I am embarking on my first ever Artist in Schools Residency. Thanks to Arts Victoria, I’ve been give a Grant to create a book project at Beeac Primary School. My students – grades 3 to 6 – which in this school is 14 children – will write a book with the help of a template I’ve created, the title of which will be; If I could Build a Bridge from Beeac to…. From there, they decide where their imaginary bridge will go to and will then write their stories which will be illustrated with their linocuts.

Some of them might go back in time to the early days of white settlement in Beeac or before, when Aboriginals looked for eel in the lake. Some will go to other countries. The kids will write about what they see, eat, wear and how they will greet others in their imaginary destination.

When we’ve created the work and put the books together, we’ll have an exhibition during Book Week in the nearby town of Colac, at the Performing Arts and Cultural Centre. But that’s a bit of a way to go yet. Got to get through this day first, introduce the project and teach them how to do linocuts, without spilling any blood – linocut tools are sharp.

After a bit of, ‘how do I..’ and ‘what’s this…’ and much queuing up to ink up plates, it’s all done. They’re excited about the idea and had fun producing linocuts. Each time they took their piece out of the press, there was that surprise intake of breath that comes with seeing your plate turn into a print. And there was no blood.

I think it’s going to be fine.