Potato Stamping Technique (Adapted for home use)


Hey! I’m Danielle Linzer. I’m the Director of Learning
and Public Engagement at The Andy Warhol Museum, and we are making short videos
for families and makers of all ages to try out Warhol inspired
techniques at home. Today, we are going to be making
potato stamps. If you’ve never tried this before,
it’s a pretty simple process where you can cut forms
into a regular old potato and then use it to do
all kinds of pattern making, experimenting with color and repetition. A lot of people don’t know it,
but early in his career, when he was a commercial illustrator
in New York City, Andy Warhol cut his own stamps. He used materials
like rubber and linoleum to carve designs, and then he could actually
repeat that image over and over again in different combinations of colors. And it was a technique that he used
during his commercial career and as a fine artist in making paintings. So, we’re going to mess around
with this at home. All you need, you need a potato, you need a knife,
a sharp knife works well. If you are working with kids,
you can also try a butter knife. It will cut. If you’re using a butter knife,
you probably want to do a simpler design. But what we’re going to do
is cut a flat pane in that potato. I’ll cut a fresh one here, and going to take that side– it kind of helps to dry it off
just a little bit, suck up some of that moisture– and then, you can make a design. You know, Warhol worked with a lot
of natural forms in his stamp making, things like flowers and moons and stars. I made a couple of those,
but I also am enjoying just basic shapes. These are also easier
for young artists to cut by themselves. I’ll demonstrate
just with the butter knife, so you can see
how you might do it with kids. But you’re just going to follow
the outline of your design. Cut down about, I don’t know,
you can go a half inch or so. I’m going to cut each of the sides here. I’m going to do this one. And then, I put this here. You’re going to cut away
those outside pieces. And what’s left– this is also a way to talk about positive
and negative space right here– the pieces that you cut away,
of course, won’t hold any ink when you impress your design on the paper. So, we can have the shape– and here we go,
just a basic little square. I’ve also made a circle and a triangle. So, it’s a nice way to start looking
at the way shapes form or draw images. I’m actually going to take my pencil,
I want to decorate this a little more. I’m going to go ahead
and kind of put a little bit of texture, a kind of a little decoration
onto its surface, so it’s not going to be
just a plain old square, it’s going to be a square
with a little bit of a star on top of it. So, now that I’ve done that, I’m going to go ahead
and test out my stamp. Again, I’m going to dry a little bit. I’m going to go ahead
and press it in my ink pad. A little blue on there. And there we go. I think I made kind of a snowflake without really meaning to. But you can have fun
creating some patterns, mixing different colors. You can also use a brush
and just apply paint, or even food coloring directly
to the surface of the potato. And yeah, so I’m going to try this
now that I’ve made a few stamps– oops– and it’s okay if it’s not perfect. Warhol’s works were never perfect. We’re going to try this out
with my kids. Out more. Alright. Are you happy with this sharky? – Yeah.
– You want to put a little eye? – No.
– No? Okay. Pretty good. Pretty good.

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