Tag Archives | printing

Gelatine plate printing

I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I treated myself to one of those permanent gelatine plates at Christmas.   I have done gelatine plate printing before, but my sessions were few and far between because of the need to plan it carefully: to buy the gelatine, wait for it to set and then make sure I did lots of printing before it went mouldy.  Now I have finally bought one, I love it!  I have it out all the time so I can take a few prints whenever I feel the need to get messy, make backgrounds on the train tickets etc and I love the fact that there are so many tutorials and blog posts about it online.

You’ve probably seen evidence of its use cropping up on various photos of train ticket art, but here are a few of the prints I’ve made from it.  They’re not very polished yet but I’m still playing!    Since buying the plate, it has been interesting to see how it has affected my work and especially the train ticket art because I have been making that regularly.  I have noticed that I am most inspired by light and shade and the results of light such as reflections and shadows.  Also  that most of my best art is almost accidental: I make the background on the plate and then observe what emerges once the print has dried and draw it out by highlighting it or adding outlines or details.  Monoprinting, especially printing small things as part of a larger print surface is quite unpredictable and this lends itself well to this style.  I pick a colour scheme or colours which I feel most drawn to at the time I’m playing with it (it feels like playing when I don’t plan anything!) and then just go with the flow.  And using acrylics means that I have to work quickly, there’s no time to stop and ponder or the paint is dry before I know it!  It’s unpredictability that excites me about art, the excitement of not knowing what will emerge or what that paper will look like when I peel it off the plate.

red printed paper with circles

I used a cardboard tube to make shapes in this one

I scanned this into Photoshop and changed the colour (quite drastically!) and uploaded the design to my Redbubble shop – you can see on products here.

another gelli print, orange this time

Can’t remember exactly what I did for this orange one!

gelli print with stamped bunting and beach hut shapes

Bunting and beach huts

blue gelli plate print

I used a home made comb (cut from a credit card) to make these markings

yellow and red gelli plate print

another monoprint

The yellow and red print above came about in an unusual way.  I hit on the idea of rolling gesso on to the plate and then printing it on to the train tickets instead of painting it on.  It works well, allows more of the original ticket to show through and is a lot quicker.  But what I also discovered is that some of the words printed on the ticket were being transferred to the plate – this print is actually on paper and it has picked up the shape of the train tickets and some of what is printed on them!  I think it makes a very interesting print.

black and red printed train ticket

One of the train tickets which have been gesso printed – the red is acrylic paint and the black is Indian ink.

blue and orange printed train ticket with distressed effect

Another train ticket – I do like this colour combination!

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Arty Snippets

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Here is some more of my #trainticketart… I’ve kept it up pretty conscientiously so far, though there was a bit of an Instagram hiatus last week when my phone broke.

I’m having a go at blogging on my mobile so let’s see if WordPress cooperates.

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I’ve got even more incentive to keep going now because the arts group I belong to locally, Diverse Manners, has an exhibition in the Riverfront arts centre next Easter so I’m planning to show them in some fashion there.  More details to follow!

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Apart from that, there’s not much to report. I’ve been busy clearing out our boxroom of over 20 years of accumulated clutter : it’s looking much tidier now though I did wonder sometimes whether a search party would be required to dig me out!  I’ve also been working on my website behind the scenes… Eventually that will be ready for the big reveal.

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That’s all for now, let’s hope this post doesn’t freak out when I hit publish…

Still on track (get it? – sorry!)

I’ve been keeping up with my #trainticketart challenge so far, although Virginmedia did its best to disrupt progress last night and this morning by making so-called ‘improvements’ to the local cable network which resulted in no internet connection for a while…
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Early in the week I did a bit of preparation by stamping randomly on some of the cards.  Sometimes it takes a while for the paint to dry and then I forget to finish it or upload it to Instagram and it was also nice to have a few half made ones when I was lacking inspiration. (The allan key is unconnected – I’ve been decluttering the boxroom and had been tightening up some joints in a chair which I was putting on Freecycle.  Though I daresay I could use it for stamping too!).
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I’ve been doing a mixture of paintings based on sketches, doodles, patterns and some printing, like the one above which I did using a quick stamp that I made from sticky-backed fun foam (great for making stamps as you can see).
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This one was based on a stylized sketch of my peace lily plant.  Do you like the negative shapes coloured blue? I think they are my favourite aspect of this design.
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This one is a bit more delicate …
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And I got out the pens and the bling for this one!!
I went to Cardiff in the middle of the week and was glad to see that they are starting to adorn some of the buildings with street art.  Here is one in the process of being actually painted:
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And another one nearby:
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Finally, I’ve started a Pinterest board so if you want to join me, let me know!
If you noticed anything strange happening with this blog last week, I have been doing various WordPress manipulations on it.  I’m working on a new website (all linked together with the blog) with a new opening page but I’ll try to keep any disruption to a minimum until it’s ready for all to be revealed.

Decluttering the printing surface

the piles of junk on my worktable - before pic

Ick! What a mess!

I thought I’d share a few pics of my workroom.  This is what my printing table normally looks like.   As though an art supply shop had vomited all over it.  With some haberdashery chucked in for good measure.

messy worktable

Hmm, a bit messy, eh?

Every so often I have to have a good clear out or it gets too much to create anything there, it seems to mess up my head as well.

stripped back to the bare bones

One afternoon I decided to clear everything off and put the dropcloth in the washing machine.  This is what the print table looks like underneath all that clutter.  Wow, wish it looked like this all the time!

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I have a large piece of MDF laid on top of the table, and a piece of carpet underlay over that, which creates the soft surface for printing.

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Here is the table with a clean dropcloth on top, bearing the dyeing marks from a previous printing session or ten!

Wish I could say it still looks like that now, but unfortunately it is more like the top photo again… that clean table top lasted less than a day.  But it definitely unleashed some creativity…

More 12 things

For the last days of 2012, here are the remaining 12 things that I photographed the other day.

12 buttons on card

12 buttons on card

12 altered train tickets

12 altered train tickets

12 buckles

12 buckles

12 scissors

12 scissors

12 rolls of tape

12 rolls of tape

12 fat woody stabilo crayons

12 fat stabilo crayons

12 train tickets

12 unaltered train tickets

Wishing all my readers a wonderful and productive 2013 in case I don’t manage another blog post before New Year’s Day!

12 things x 12… a bit late!

I got so inspired seeing all the Facebook pictures of 12 things to celebrate the 12th of the 12th 2012 yesterday that I decided to do my own … pity I was a day late but never mind!  I had so much fun finding groups of 12s in my studio and rediscovering a lot of nice arty things I’d almost forgotten I had, that I went mad and did more than 12 so you’ll be seeing some of them here in the future… 

12 black pens

1.  12 black pens for making gocco/thermofax masters for screens with.

12 inks

2.  12 inks.

12 beads

3.  12 round beads.

12 handmade beads

4.  12 hand made beads.

12 buttons

5.  12 brown buttons.

12 reels of vintage thread

6.  12 reels of vintage Sylko thread.

12 thread labels

7.  12 thread labels.

12 glass pins

8.  12 glass headed pins.

12 stamps made from fun foam

9.  12 stamps made from fun foam stuck on card.

12 carved stamps from erasers 

10.  12 stamps carved from erasers or that pink rubbery stuff.

12 print gocco ink tubes

11.  12 Print Gocco ink tubes.

12 wooden printing blocks.

12.  12 wooden printing blocks.

Birth of a City

… and other stuff.  Birth of a City is the title of my latest artwork.  I first started printing this cloth over a year ago and it has grown and developed until, finally, I am satisfied with it!  As you may know, one of my other interests is genealogy – tracing my family history down the generations – and many of my ancestors lived and worked in the city where I grew up, Stoke on Trent.    A lot of them were engaged in the trade that it is best known for – pottery.

I had already printed the background in various shades and values of blue (with two different thermofax screens), overprinted it in orange/gold using soy wax as a resist and then discharged some of it.  I then decided to take a (VERY) rough sketch of the streets around where my Nan grew up in Longton, altering the two main ones to vaguely echo the shape of the old bottle kilns that pervaded the city and gave it its unique character.  I used masking tape as a resist and overprinted the ‘buildings’ using the larger scale thermofax screen in black ink to make it look like the old street maps from the 19th century.

'birth of a city', my latest quilt

When I looked at it, I then saw that the two main ‘streets’ didn’t look so much like a bottle kiln as a pregnant woman, so I decided to call it ‘Birth of a City’, thinking of the haphhazard, unplanned way the city grew up as hordes of people flocked into it from the countryside to work in the potbanks, leading to overcrowding, poverty and rampant disease.  People lived crammed into houses too small for them; houses sprang up next to factories.

Here is a detail of the hanging:

detail of 'birth of a city'

I wanted to emphasize the rough and ready, homespun nature of the theme, so I decided just to hand quilt it with horizontal running stitches to an old blanket, patched and worn and ragged in places. I left the raw edges of the fabric and just had the original blanket stitches as binding.

detail of 'birth of a city'

Due to the Easter holidays and the fact that my two teenage sons are in the throes of revising for GCSEs and A levels, I am late completing the latest challenge for the International Quilt Challenge, which is Time.   Rather ironic really, due to lack of time…  But I thought I’d put down my thoughts for it so far.

The way I wanted to approach this theme was something around the idea of ‘the past is another country’.  I tried to brainstorm this and wrote down what came into my head….

… time past … we think it will be familiar going back, but actually we have changed and moved on, so what we were, who we were, the old familiar landmarks, look strange to us… strange and foreign…

We have forgotten …

We have a kind of nostalgia but we can never go back, we can only revisit old haunts, some of which will have remained the same, some will have changed forever;

we look at them differently, through different eyes; we are probably taller: things there look smaller, older; strangely familiar yet also foreign to the self that is our present.

And if we could go back to our grandparents’ childhood, into an old photograph, we would experience total culture shock

– the sights

– the sounds

– the smells

– the familiar-yet-unfamiliar ; kin yet unknown people

Anyway, that is as far as I got, and it was taking too long and I got stuck with how to move from there to fabric.  I thought I’d put my thoughts down here in case I use them for another project; but then I got another idea for the theme.

Last night I decided to update my Dreaming Spirals Facebook Page – I had not changed it since the new timeline was adopted and it needed a new photograph as the header.  I decided to make a collage in Picasa of my five Reeds wallhangings.  This is the result:

Facebook Page new banner

Today I was thinking about the theme of the challenge again and I decided to change tack completely.  I thought of the various seasons the reeds go through in the course of a year (recorded in this blog in 2010) when I visited them each month for a year to see how they change, and I thought of those timelapse videos where a camera is set to take photos at regular intervals of, say, a plant growing, and then they are put together into a video as if the plant was moving.  All my reeds pieces record a different season of the year so I thought I would try and blend them together using scraps from these pieces as a starting point to show the movement of time.  (If you would like to see the reeds photos again, here is a collage of them that I made at the end of that year).

So that is my plan at the moment!  Watch this space…. Meanwhile, do go and explore my Facebook Page – it looks quite different now.

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