Author: Sarah Clowe, Director of Art Programs

Materials: Washable markers, leaves, glue, and paper

Take inspiration from artist Allen Grindle and experiment with printmaking!

The original work from the museum's collections, House, was created using a hand carved wooden block relief printmaking technique. Relief printmaking refers to applying color like ink to something with raised edges in order to press against a surface like paper to create your art. We'll use the raised edges on the veins of leaves to create the lines of our prints in this project.

Once you've finished your art, feel free to email a picture to me at and I'll feature it in a Museum Makers gallery!

Leaf Printing

In House, artist Allen Grindle used woodcut relief printmaking to create an image of a house with roots underneath. The shapes in the roots of his work made me think of the patterning in the veins of leaves.  Leaf veins contain similar lines as roots, and I decided to use leaves in a less complex printing method to achieve similar designs to Grindle's roots.

1. Select leaves that have defined raised lines on them.

2. Use a washable marker to color on the side of the leaf with the raised lines.

3. Lightly dampen the paper with a sponge or wet paper towel.

4. Press leaf against the damp paper and rub the top of it.  Peel the leaf off to reveal your print.

5. Repeat with as many different leaves as you'd like to fill your page.

Paper House

Grindle's artwork includes powerful symbols that called out to me in reflection to the current times. Many of us have spent far more time than usual these past few months inside of our homes, and the prominent house in this print seemed to match that.  Feeling "rooted" or settled in your home is an important feeling. The image of a house and roots suggest representations of the person shown being sheltered, cared for, and connected with. If you would like you may keep your leaf prints as is or add on a simple house.

1. Cut simple shapes out of colored paper to assemble a house design.

2. Glue the house design to the top of your paper.

3. Cut out the leaf prints, and glue to appear as if they are growing out from the bottom of the house.

Collection Connection: House

Allen Grindle
2005, Woodcut on Paper
Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, Contemporary Art Fund, 2005.39




Published June 25, 2020