I took the kids to the Singapore Tyler Print Institute 7th anniversary Open Day today. If you haven't visited the Singapore Tyler Print Institute yet, it is a beautiful space, where regular exhibitions are shown demonstrating printmaking and papermaking techniques. They also collaborate with artists from around the world to push the technical and aesthetic frontiers of printmaking and papermaking, creating edition prints and unique works on paper. Around 6 international artists are invited annually for residencies, where they can explore new ideas and experiment with different print and papermaking techniques.

The kids were shown how to roll the ink

The Open House today was a wonderful introduction to the printmaking process for us. There were some free workshops for children so after having a look around at the present exhibition, Pulp Stories, the kids were shown how to make their own print on paper. They were asked to think of something that makes them happy, and to practice drawing it on some paper. Then, with a sharp pencil, they etched their own design into a small piece of Styrofoam which they then rolled with ink and pressed onto a coloured scroll sized paper or card. This is such a simple and fun way to make an original piece of art, I am tempted to try it at home. The kids loved seeing their masterpieces reproduced with the ink, and it made for a lovely keepsake.

Maya rolls a lovely blue ink to put on her design

Ben's finished card

We then followed the red arrows downstairs to the workshops where all the serious screenprinting, papermaking, etching and lithography is done. It was very exciting to see the machinery in operation and for the kids to try the processes out. There was much activity as the helpful staff demonstrated the various techniques.

I have never seen printing done with a huge slab of limestone (lithography), onto which the image is drawn with a custom-made greasy pencil or crayon. This is an old technique, dating back to the 17th century, and the stone has mostly been replaced by a metal plate these days, so it was great to see the original concept.

The technician explained that, based on the fact that oil and water repel each other, he makes sure the stone is always damp so that the oily ink that is rolled over the slab is only absorbed by the greasy lines of the drawing. Otherwise the whole stone would be a black mass of ink. This thick limestone can be used over and over and another image can be drawn once you have filed away the old one.

Ben having a go at rolling the ink over the limestone


The kids especially enjoyed making their own paper. They were able to submerge the frame in the pulp, gently shake it to make the paper even , then lie it on a blanket to absorb any remaining water. They then let the wet, somewhat soggy paper fall out of the frame and left it be pressed.

Dipping the frame into the pulp to make paper

Singapore Tyler Print Institute have various workshops, talks and free Saturday tours during the year, so do pop in or check out their website here.

Singapore Tyler Print Institute

41 Robertson Quay,


ph: 65 63363663


Cathy West said... @ April 4, 2009 at 5:50 PM

YOu find the most amazing places to take the children Milly!! You ceratinly are an inspiration...

Cathy :O)

Post a Comment