Heritage High students create reduction prints


Heritage High School junior Joseph Carter and teaching artist Nancy Campbell work together on a reduction print. Campbell worked three weeks with Rebecca Parker-Shiflett’s Art III class

Photo by Tom Sherlin

By Matthew Stewart |

Heritage High School art students have learned how to bring an idea to fruition. 

Nine students in Rebecca Parker-Shiflett’s Art III class produced reduction prints. A Tennessee Arts Commission grant covered material costs and paid for teaching artist Nancy Campbell to assist students.

Students completed pre-planning activities and made studies prior to Campbell’s arrival. The teaching artist examined the studies on her first day and helped students to minimize printing issues. 

The high-schoolers later carved blocks of synthetic rubber-like material and rolled ink across the surface. They printed between four and six colors, starting with the lightest color, for each image.

Students later sent letters to their state representatives and thanked them for Tennessee Arts Commission’s Student Ticket Subsidy program. The state agency provides funds to public schools to expose students to a broad variety of art disciplines, arts disciplines and cultural experiences.

Proud of work

The majority of students enjoyed the three-week project.

“Printmaking requires a great amount of precision,” said junior Kayla Lawson. “I like charcoal and drawing, because it gives me more freedom. I can turn a mistake into something unique. We don’t have the same freedom with printmaking, but it allows for greater expression.”

Lawson’s print featured Thor’s hammer with the National Guard symbol on the side of it, in addition to a white tiger. It’s a tribute to her friend, who enlisted in the National Guard.

“I’m proud of him, and he should be proud of himself,” she said. “He’s a fierce, unique person. I hope he sees the worth in this print.” 

“Art allows me to express myself, express what I’m feeling,” said junior Ana Jimenez, who created a print that featured a monarch butterfly on a daisy. “In this print, I expressed my culture. I was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and it’s an area with thousands of monarch butterflies. I’ve got pictures of them, and this print brings back images, maybe memories, that I don’t actually remember. I was 3 years old when I left, so they might not be real. However, they make me feel happy.”

“I can see connections between printmaking and what I want to do after school,” said junior Joseph Carter, who spoke through a sign language interpreter. “I’m interested in architecture and drafting, but art helps me to measure and train my eyes. I need skilled eyes to build a home.”

“It was something different, something interesting to push me as an artist,” said senior Josh Harper. “While I’m going to study marine biology in college, I’m passionate about art. I’ve always loved the creativity and expression. I figure it will be a lifelong hobby for me, and I’ve got one more tool in my toolbox now.”