Hatch Time!

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – History of Communication (Written), Inventions (Printing Press), Colonial Times

Language Arts – Literature, Onomatopoeia

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Leonardo da Vinci, Roy Lichtenstein

Commercial Art (Poster Art), Medium (Printmaking)


 Spring is fast approaching. The title, “Hatch Time!”, probably brings to mind warmer weather and baby birds, but in actuality I’m thinking Hatch Show Print.  Being an ex-printmaker on a trip to Nashville, I just had to check out this letterpress printing establishment. The Hatch family started printing in Nashville in 1879. Their first posters were created to advertise local events (the circus, vaudeville shows, etc) and were plastered on buildings and barns all over town. The first wanted posters were also created using this printing method. The original movable type printing press was invented way back in 1454 Germany by Johannes Gutenberg. Hatch printers use many different wooden letter fonts and hand carved images in a modernized version of Gutenberg’s press. To understand this printing process better, check out this  Sawtooth Printing Shop Field Trip video  recently produced by my favorite blogger, Cassie Stephens. Thanks Cassie, perfect timing! With less demand for flyer type posters in this modern age, Hatch Show Print has adapted and done things like produce posters for each Ryman Theater (“Home of the Grand Ole Opry”) performance. These posters are now bought as works of art and end up framed in people’s homes. If you happen to be studying Colonial times, you might use this video about colonial printing presses.

For literature time, you may like to read Achoo! Bang! Crash!: The Noisy Alphabet  by Ross McDonald to your class. All the letters for the book are printed on a press like Hatch Show Print uses. All the illustrations are set back in the late 1800s. Plus, all the words are onomatopoeia. Lots of “Bang!” for your buck. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.  A side note: Pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein, used onomatopoeia words in some of his paintings. He was emulating offset printing, which replaced letterpress printing. Jamestown Elementary Art Blog has a Lichtenstein powerpoint slide show and onomatopoeia lesson plan that can be found here

If you wish to print some phrases or sayings, I love this lesson on Thomas Elementary Art, The Blog! The only drawback for a classroom teacher is access to brayers and ink. If you really want to do this project and have some large stamp pads, you could tap the stamp pads over and over onto the block. Then, simply place a sheet of paper on top and gently massage the back of the paper. You can construct the letters out of oaktag paper using this letter cutting chart. For the backwards and reverse problem, simply arrange the letters normally. When you have them the way you want them, place dots of glue all over the surface of each letter. Then, gently place your piece of chip board on top, and massage the the back. When you lift the chip board, the letters will be backwards and reverse, or a mirror image. Speaking of mirror images, did you know that Leonardo da Vinci wrote all his journal entries in mirror image? He was a genius and knew a lot of things that people of the time did not. In one entry he wrote, “The sun does not move.”  The people of that time believed the sun and moon circled the earth. He knew otherwise. So, for his own protection, he wrote all his journal entries backward and reversed.

If the above lesson is just too much, you could also simply print phrases and sayings using letter and picture stamps you have around your house and classroom.  I know that I have quite a variety. You probably do also. Students could create a poster portrait or animal report with letters and images put together jigsaw style like Hatch Show Print does. Like this:


I’m so pleased that some traditional printmaking is alive and  well in our world. I hope you can find a way to share this rich history with your class. What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you. Simply click on the title of this post and scroll down to the comment section at the bottom.

Hope to see you again real soon!


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