Sunday, 23 June 2013

First Forays into Gelli Plate Monoprinting

I had been hearing lots of people raving about Gelli Arts mono printing plates (, but they seemed a lot of money - £30 for a large plate. I had a great day at the West Midlands Embroiderers' Guild Regional Day yesterday, and having spoken to the lovely lady at Art Van Go, I treated myself to a plate.

I couldn't wait to get going, so set myself up with some acrylic paint, various texture things and my Gelli plate, ready to have a play.

My first few prints were not amazingly successful, but that isn't surprising, with anything new there will always be a bit of a learning curve. Thankfully, with the Gelli plate, it wasn't too steep. I also realised that I didn't have any paint colours I really liked, so I popped out to West Bromwich in the rain (complete with odd experience of The Corrs piped into the car park!), and picked up lots of lovely shiny metallic paint, and other supplies.

I don't really have any textured paint scrapers, but the pound shop provided me with a four pack of flexible silicone spatulas for £1, as well as a tray to put my plate onto. A few snips later and the spatulas were ready for their new purpose.

The Gelliarts videos were very helpful, and watching them step by step allowed me to see how to easily build up some good prints.

Here are some of my favourite ones from today, all on fabric:

I loved how direct and gestural the printing plate is. Previous experiences of monoprinting on acetate sheets had been rather unsatisfying, with the acrylic feeling like it dried quickly and didn't allow much build up of texture.

It also gave me an opportunity to make a real mess!

(that's my actual hair comb, hope I won't have gold hair on Monday!)

I made a few prints that I wasn't happy with, until when tidying up I dropped my bottle of pearlescent acrylic ink and it splashed all over the 'failed' prints. Thinking quickly, I pressed them against it, "mono a mono", and smooshed the ink around. These random splotches seem to have rescued the prints, lifting them and adding a spontaneity:

I also used plain copier paper to pull most of the ghost prints, which I have a project in mind for:

Next, I'm planning to stitch into the fabric prints, and then make 4 of them into mini canvases which I picked up at the same time as the paints, and I might make some of them into book covers.

All in all, a great day. I know my mum, nieces and nephews will love this printing method, and I'm really looking forward to getting together with my friend Margaret for a Gelli play day next weekend.

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