We All Scream for Silk Screen!

This March, a small group of 4-H-ers participated in a cozy and engaging “Introduction to Silk Screen Printing” class.  Over the course of two classes and one extended excursion to two professional screen printing facilities, we explored the many different styles and techniques of this intricate art. 

The silk screening printing technique uses mesh to transfer ink onto a material. Stencils are used to strategically block the transfer of ink to create desired patterns on the material. We learned the basics by using 9 square inch fabrics and papers to make small designs. Next, we moved to printing designs on larger objects, like drawstring bags. Soon, cats, pears, and stars decorated satchels and postcards in black, red, and blue. It didn’t get too messy and everyone had fun. 

During the last class, we traveled to The Grease Diner, a screen printing studio in Oakland. We observed a professional design being light printed by a large, bulky machine that uses UV light to transfer ink to paper. After a quick lunch at a nearby park, we travelled to All Gold Print. There, the group created a design that we got to print by hand. Each person took a turn at flooding the screen with ink and pressing it onto the paper. This project was very informative. Creating the art was as relaxing as eating ice cream on a summer day.  

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Presentation Day (Statewide)

Presentation Day is a 4-H statewide event that helps people improve and become comfortable with presenting and talking about projects in front of audiences. At Presentation Day, people have a wide selection of categories and projects to choose from. For example, if a person wanted to talk about how skills used in camping are useful in climbing a mountain, they would sign up to present under the category “Informative Speech.” If a person wanted to explain why a certain piece of writing is considered influential to modern culture, they would sign up under the category “Interpretative Reading.” Even if one does not want to present on anything, Presentation Day has many other fun activities, and all presentations are open to the public. Presentation Day does not only offer an opportunity to practice public speaking skills, but it also promises a fun and educational 4-H experience!

If you are interested in this opportunity, the first step is to participate in Alameda County’s Presentation Day.  To find out more information, check out this website.

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Beginners Arduino Circuitry Coding Class!

Contrary to its sound, Arduino is not a fancy pasta, but an open-source (available to review, edit, and share) electronic prototyping platform. It enables users to create interactive electronic objects based on easy to use software and hardware. The Arduino language was originally developed for students who did not have a background in programming or electronics. Arduino boards read Arduino language inputs such as a finger touching a button and translate them into outputs, such as a motor turn or a light lighting. Due to its accessibility, Arduino has been used in a broad range of applications from hobby arts and crafts to professional industrial designs.

In mid-Spring, 2018, students learned the basics of Arduino programming with a variety of tools; from computer based coding, to physical Arduino Uno boards. Over the course of five classes, students were taught simple coding commands to enter into Arduino programs that enabled changes in objects such as: flickering lights, sound emissions, and even the moving of a robotic arm. One of the projects was a light theremin – an instrument that makes a sound, the pitch of which changes based on varying light levels falling on a sensor.The more light exposed to the photoresistor, the higher pitched the sound produced. Light exposure was controlled by blocking the sensor with our hands. Many spooky movies use light theremins to create mysterious alien sounds, but ours was more similar to that of an incessant fly.

Arduino projects were demonstrated at the monthly Club meeting. The 4-H values that we practiced included: teamwork (Heart), tinkering with wires and the Arduino board (Hands), and coding the programs (Head). We had fun learning about this cool tool!

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