Tuesday, 24 November 2015

How to: Gelli Plate Printing

Some of today's prints drying, with added slipper on bottom left!
One of my favourite techniques at the moment is gelli-plate printing.  I’ve been teaching it a lot recently and whenever I have a spare hour, it is definitely my preferred way of experimenting creatively. 
Applying paint with foam stamper
A gelli plate is a soft surface to monoprint on.  You can make your own using gelatine, but I prefer to use one made from some kind of silicone made by Gelli Arts.  It’s disadvantage is that you don’t control the size, but it doesn’t go off, can be reused endlessly and doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.  Also it is vegetarian.  Are you sold yet?  They are not cheap, but I think having to keep buying packets of gelatine and other stuff to make one would end up more expensive in the long run.
Gelli plate ready to print, with paint and leaves on it
I really enjoy developing work using the gelli plate, using ‘what if’ principles.  Generally, the first couple of prints are poor in a session, then I get into it and change the paint colours or the objects I’m mark making with.  So far, my favourites are stencils, the plastic netting from orange bags, foam stampers and empty tape rolls.  Oh and of course, leaves.  You get fabulous prints from leaves.
First print on left and how the gelli plate looks after it on the right
Today I spent an hour playing with a foam stamper, five colours of paint and two sprigs of bamboo. 
Second print on left and how the gelli plate looks after it on the right
I mainly printed on hand dyed fabric and got lovely effects on scrim and woollen felt.  I wasn’t as convinced by the silk habutai, but I think it was partly due to the background colour rather than the fabric.  Of course, you get wonderful effects on cotton, which is what I usually use.
Printing from the inked up leaves
Generally, the second print is better than the first as it is more delicate.  I also was getting a third print from the bamboo leaves themselves, which were gorgeous.
Printing on scrim
Gelli plate printing also works really well on paper and on Friday 4 December, I have a one day workshop on gelli plate printing and making artists books.  
There is just one space left if you are interested.  The theme is up to you, but it could be a special way of making unique Christmas cards.
Printing on felt

Now I’ve just got to find time to make something with these fabric bamboo prints!

Unsuccessful printing on silk habutai


Margaret said...

Perfect timing, Gillian! I have to do a mono-print for my next piece in my art quilt group, so I've been gathering info/feedback about the different types of plates and results on fabric. I think that the silk habotai can be resurrected with stitch -- on the leaves themselves and then echo the leaf motif in background quilting? Just a thought...

Thanks again!

Gillian Cooper said...

Thanks Margaret. I definitely like the Gelli Arts plate - quite indestructible and long lasting. Though with a homemade one you will get interesting effects as it breaks down.
I'm intending to collage these pieces together to make a background, so the silk one may not be lost - it is just that some of the others were so much better.
Have fun mono-printing!

Maggi said...

I prefer using the ready made plate too. This is such a versatile way of mono printing.

Gillian Cooper said...

Thanks Maggi. I'm a real convert to the ready made plates. The variety and depth of marks is amazing and I love the quick results and that I can use inexpensive paint and fabric and still get fabulous prints.

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