Yesterday I decided to have a little fun with my newly-acquired 8x10 Gelli Printing Plate. This may come as a surprise to some of my creative friends, but I'm a bit of a doofus around new tools. I've watched other people magically creating amazing stuff with ease, then I've rushed out enthusiastically to buy whatever miracle toy they were playing with ... only to find the stuff I create is ... a hopeless muddle.
I'm very happy to report that my experience with the Gelli Plate is *not* one of those times. As near as I can tell it may well be idiot proof (Exhibit A: the collage above). With a minimum of tools, a variety of acrylic paints (some new and luscious, some old and cranky), some leftover divider tab sheets and about an hour, I created a generous stack of deliberate experiments and gorgeous happy accidents.
So ... what did I love? Each print doesn't need much paint, so it's very economical. Think that "clean up" is a drag? Don't clean up till the end! Yes, you can change colours as you go. See that collage above? I only cleaned up at putting away time. Don't like the first print you pull? That's okay, set it aside and print over it a second, third or fourth time till it can't take it anymore and decides to be gorgeous for you. Think you hate the final result? Not so fast. See that mottled green on the bottom row? I really hated it when I pulled it, but looking closely at it later I decided it was very nice indeed. And did I mention the no clean up till the end thing? Oh yeah ...
So ... paints ... I used whatever I had on hand. Mostly random acrylics, although my friend Rose recently gave me some super sparkly Dick Blick Glitter Watercolours, and while their pigment wasn't strong, the sparkle is very cool (and that's from a person who usually shuns glitter). The more liquid your paint the more prints you'll get from each inking and the easier it is to spread it around, but even my less liquid paints were fine, just took a bit more time to brayer them on evenly. Whatever the paint is, the first pull is usually fine, and if the paint seems too dry for a second pull, just lightly mist the plate. The green dots on the middle square in the collage were from a misted pull, and I love how they turned out.
Tools I used: stencils, foam stamps, a little graining tool, the core from a roll of skotch tape, a rubber brayer and a spritzy water bottle. I also taped a length of freezer paper to my table before I started - the Gelli Plate contains mineral oil, so it needs to be on something so you don't mark your table. Some people use a piece of glass or a teflon sheet. This also helps you if you want to rotate the plate while you're using it.
My other essential item (gleaned from watching various gelli vids on the net) is something to roll your brayer on after you've inked the plate. My choice of was an outdated copy of Leonard Maltin's movie guide. Let's face it, there's nothing more out of a date than a 20-year-old book of movie reviews. I suppose I could have torn out the pages and rolled on them, but I decided to just roll and turn the page. I figure I can throw it in my bag and take it to collage parties.
|The table (post clean up). Poor Leonard! His reviews were never this colourful.|