Fantastic Frottage

Senior School
13 Mar 20

Year 4 have been waiting for a dry spell and this week the weather was kind to Year 4 as it was dry enough for them to venture outdoors, armed with paper and pencils, to gather some frottage. Frottage is the French word for rubbing and is a technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the basis of a work of art. The technique was developed by Max Ernst, in drawings made from 1925.  Ernst was inspired by an ancient wooden floor, where the grain of the planks had been accentuated by many years of scrubbing. He captured these by laying sheets of paper on the floor and then rubbing over them with a soft pencil.
Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed the frottage technique as they rubbed a variety of textured surfaces to create different patterns and effects. From guinea pig wire fences which were large, lovely geometric shapes, to sundial faces creating raised Roman numerals, to the pathways which led to wonderful rough tar squiggles and many more! It was amazing how creative Year 4 were, finding and ‘frottaging’ surfaces for specific textures.
Back in the Art room, they composed their Ernst inspired compositions, with a foreground, middle ground and background, then set to work using their frottage to collage! Their subject matter ranged from Ernst favourites: forests, nature and fantastical creatures. Their skills ranged from cutting accurately, glueing carefully and focusing on the surreal. Year 4’s frottage artworks are fantastic and imaginative; reflecting the reality, that inspiration can be found in the simple things around us.