Gelatine plate printing

blue gelli plate print

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!

Decluttering the printing surface

mess, lots of it
messy studio with pens and inks all over the table
A bit messy, hmmm…

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.

mess, lots of it
Too much, too much!

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.

studio with clear printing table
Nice and clear on top, just don’t look underneath!!

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!

studio
A diagonal view

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.

table with dropcloth for ink stains
The dropcloth is a heavy twill fabric

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.