Friday, 22 March 2013

Out of the Egg - Woodblock Printing

 Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews
Since first reading to my daughter as a little baby, this book has been a favourite of hers.  She was most likely drawn to it when she was young by the beautiful high contrasting white and black lines and the use of splashes of red and green throughout, as these sorts of images are meant to be stimulating.
Out of the Egg is beautifully illustrated with woodblock prints and has a wonderful story carrying a poignant message in both the words and illustrations.

Throughout the book you have the story of a little red hen and her efforts to help a small green seed become a beautiful tree.  The graphics show a world devoid of green, filled with sloth, waste, smoke and greed.
As the hard working little red hen looks ahead to what can become of the little seed, the dirty rat, the greedy pig and the fat cat are far happier to shop, kick back, drive and watch tv rather than expend any effort helping, so the little red hen does it her self.
There is a very sweet little twist of hope, forgiveness and the potential of a new generation at the end.

There is also some beautiful language in this book and some very memorable lines.

"Through wild days and mild months and slow-turning years, the tree grew bigger.  And one warm spring day the Red Hen found a safe place and laid a perfect white egg."

Reading Out of the Egg over and over again kicked off a really nice day with my daughter who today told me this was her favourite book.  So, having some polystyrene blocks from the packaging of her new big bed we made some block prints inspired by the beautiful works of Tina Matthews and the story of the little red hen. 

Painting the image on the Styrofoam blocks seems to have given the lines more integrity and they do not flake off as easily as the rest of the polystyrene.  Water down some paint to do the prints by first using a paint brush to apply the thinned paint.  Try and get your little person to only paint on the green or coloured lines.

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