Beware, it’s true, Gelli plate printing is addictive…

Since I decided to write and make work for my  artist book book last week, I’ve been painting, printing, dyeing, and generally doing stuff to fabric and paper, and of course photographing it all as I go along. The camera has suffered, it was looking a little decorated at one point, due to the nature of the hands/paint/camera interface; I’m not a tidy worker. One of the techniques I have used for some time is mono printing, and I naturally wanted to include this in the course. I’ve always used glass, perspex or laminated paper as the plate in the past, but thought as I’m writing this course I better get up to date with some of the equipment available. This of course was a great excuse to buy a Gelli plate, which I had wanted for ages. They are certainly great to use, as they have a certain bounce and give, and they are rather amazing jelly like objects too, which sort of amuses me for some reason. I have taken lots of images in a step by step sort of way, but actually you just have to get in there and do it. If something looks dodgy, well, just print over it. Paper supports stronger and denser prints, with fabric producing lighter images; or perhaps I need to press harder with fabric, and it is more absorbent of course. I liked the prints I made on black fabric, they were wonderfully dramatic. There is much more experimenting to do and more to learn, but I produced a good amount of materials for my Summer Gardens book, some of which will undoubtedly form the  basis for a number of pages, as they are  too interesting to cut up. DSC_0143A selection of some of the tools, stencils and blocks I used with the Gelli plate. I used leaves too, as you will see below. DSC_0225The plate spread with acrylic paint. It is there, under the paint, it’s quite difficult to spot. I bought the largest size, about A3. And below, a few of the prints I made. DSC_0090Above, a group of prints on watercolour paper. The two images below show a selection of prints on mostly fabric, with one or two on paper. DSC_0102 DSC_0103 DSC_0072Above, a multi layered print, which has something photographic about it. DSC_0025Using leaves for a garden project seems apt. DSC_0091This is one of my favourites. It may not be in the book though, possibly due to the fact it has an attitude that suggests it’s not a team player. DSC_0068Look at these, the pieces of cut and torn paper I used as stencils, gorgeous. They’ll be used in a piece of work too. Clive Hicks Jenkins has been working very hard, putting the puppet exhibition on his blog. If you have a minute, or perhaps longer, wiz over to have a look. There is a lot, so keep on scrollin’. My e mail

9 thoughts on “Beware, it’s true, Gelli plate printing is addictive…

  1. Steph – I’ve been so bogged down with work and stuff lately you have reminded me here that I have permission to play and make stuff. Thanks for that.

    I’ve got a plate. I’ve used it but not found it addictive – yet!!

    Hilary G

    1. Ah Hilary, I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do, but I didn’t want to put it away. Perhaps it’s the wobbly jelly thing that gets me! I like the prints too, of course; I just wanted to keep on experimenting.
      Too much work can make one very grim, I’m very pleased my meanderings have reminded you that you must get on with and enjoy your art. When I have a couple of days not making, the feeling when I get back to it is wonderful.

  2. I have all the stuff to make a so called ‘permanent’ gelatin plate from a video I saw on you tube but have just not got round to it. I could monoprint with the press I suppose but tend , like you to use a sheet of acetate or a laminated paper carrier. My only observation about all the gelli printing I’ve seen posted on line is that people rarely seem to go on and use the prints in something, yet already in this post you’re thinking ahead and imagining their inclusion in work whilst also having a vision for the stencils too. That enthusiasm for the process is infectious and if it part of your course I shall be prepared to become a convert to gelatin printing. Another great post from Clive about the puppets. They have all been wonderful but I have a soft spot for the 2D paper versions. I love what Phil does with collage. He is an inventive as you!

    1. I am much too lazy to make a plate, and fear it would fail to set, or something else would go wrong, so the course has given me a reason [ excuse? ] to buy one. I have been known to make jellies that wouldn’t set, a good reason again to give up that culinary exercise up, [ once again, excuse? ]
      I mainly make prints to use in my work, and all these will be used at some point. Some are not the most exciting chaps so they will be cut up, and others are quite nice as themselves, so may form the basis of a piece of work. It is wonderful to have a pile of painted and printed materials to look through and hopefully be inspired by, which is my happy task tomorrow, as I hope to start the first book.

    1. Yes, I remember ‘S for Staffa’ well. He comes to Pembrokeshire to climb at Stackpole sometimes. Must have an affinity for rocks and islands!

      1. I admire anybody who can climb anything, Lesley, let alone Stackpole. Don’t tell me you’ve done it too! More than 4 rungs up a ladder and my left leg starts shaking alarmingly. His work and blog are inspiring, enthusiastic and honest.
        I’ve added him to my blog list.

  3. Hi Stephanie – found your blog thanks to GelliArts linking to you on their FB page. I have just recently started printing on fabric and have found the results less than what I wanted based on my prior experience with paper. What fabric are you printing on? I think that might be my problem.

    1. Hi Amy, paper is lovely to work with, it takes the prints easily. Fabric is a little more resistant, but I use calico, white cotton and black cotton. They are all ok. I don’t wash new fabric first but wonder if that would help, as it would remove any dressing which may be resisting the paint. After a couple of coatings though the fabric seems to behave more like paper.

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