Gelli Printing

Gelli Printing

I’ve recently discovered another creative distraction…..the Gelli Plate and I’m finding myself wishing there were more hours in the day! I remember a friend purchasing one of these several years ago when they first came out and saying how great they were. Back then I couldn’t see what the fuss was and I suppose I was busy doing other things and so didn’t bother trying it out.

Fast forward to last month and Carole, one of the Waltham Textile ladies, brought her Gelli Plate (and what looked like half her garden!) to our monthly meeting. She spent the day printing with acrylic paint and foliage onto paper and fabric and got some very interesting, and some very beautiful results. I didn’t think to take photos of what she was doing that day but needless to say she inspired the rest of us to get straight online and order our plates. They are widely available but I found the best price at Buddly Crafts near Spalding.

Because acrylic paint dries far quicker than printing ink it’s advisable to add an extender to keep the paint workable. I didn’t have any Matt medium to hand so tried adding a little aloe vera to my paint and found that works really well for a fraction of the price!

Unfortunately Carole couldn’t make our meeting last week but Anita, Jacky and myself turned up to christen our gelli plates.

My first attempts at foliage weren’t really me but were quickly followed by an abstract piece which I did like. For this I printed a background onto fabric using the gelli plate and then stamped it with torn textured wallpaper. The torn paper was then stitched down and more texture and colour was added with free motion stitch to create the look of rusting metal with peeling paint… my head at least!

I soon settled back into my usual colour palette!
This turned out to be my favourite, using black acrylic on cream cotton velvet
Adding a mount to your print makes a huge difference to how they look!

So far we’ve created very simple prints by inking up (painting up?) our plate using a brayer and then laying on leaves, etc. The first pull produces a “negative” area where the objects on the plate have been used as a resist to the paint. When you then remove the leaves you are left with a beautiful, delicate pattern which can either be printed in the resulting space or onto a different piece of fabric/paper.

This really is the tip of the iceberg because there are so many possibilities once you start printing, including the “one pull” technique. This involves layering up several colours and on each layer using a different material to push into the paint. This is all allowed to dry thoroughly before a final coat of paint is added which lifts off all the previous layers in one pull to (hopefully) produce a fabulous print with lots of depth……I will be trying this out and reporting back but for now you can see it done here. Another interesting video is this one from American mixed media artist Kathy Leader who achieves beautiful painterly effects with her gelli plate

It’s funny how things happen…..Caroles timing, in introducing me to the Gelli Plate, couldn’t have been better. The reason being that two weeks ago I rented a space in the new Art Gallery which has just opened in Alford. Out of the twenty-odd artists stocking the gallery I was surprised to discover that I am one of only two textile artists in there, the other being my friend Evelyn who creates exquisite hand embroidered pieces on silk fabric.

I’ve left the majority of my felted pieces in the Craft Shop, next door but one, and have wall art and some larger 3D pieces on display in the gallery. Thanks to Caroles inspiration I was able to call in last weekend with sufficient work, in the form of unframed gelli prints, to also stock a browser. I just hope the visitors like them enough to purchase, otherwise our walls at home are going to be covered!

This is just some of the work currently in Alford Arts.

You might remember the hexagon samples I made for one of the challenges. I removed the glass from a pair of oval frames, sanded and painted them white and adapted the hexagons to fit.

I’m guessing a lot of you reading this will already be familiar with the gelli plate but for those who haven’t yet tried it, be warned…’s another of those wonderful distractions that make you wish there were more hours in your day!

21 thoughts on “Gelli Printing

  1. I had never heard of Gelli printing! It looks like fun! I’ve watched the video link and a couple of others and think that I may have to purchase one. Here I go! Off on another tangent! Isn’t creating fun!

  2. Looks like you have gotten some good prints Karen. I have been gelli printing for years. I have found that the various prints that you don’t like work well for collaged artwork. Just tear them up and use them in something else. Your work looks great in the gallery and I hope it sells well for you.

    1. Thanks Ruth. Its early days but Ive had two good sales already and some great feedback so fingers crossed! Yes, the prints Im not so keen on have been put to one side and Im sure will find their way into other work…..nothing much gets wasted!

  3. There are some lovely results of the gelli printing above – some are stunning – you should be able to sell all your prints at Alford Karen and fingers crossed for sales on the rest of your makes!

    1. Thanks Lyn. If I’m honest I’m hoping the hexagons don’t sell as I would like to keep those for myself! My walls are pretty bare since I stocked the gallery!

  4. I had never heard of gelli printing, looks like a tonne of fun (not that I need another distraction, haha)

    Your work is lovely as ever, Karen, I hope it sells well!

    1. PS – It’s Leonor. I’m having trouble logging in to my WP account to comment… again.

    2. Thanks Leonor. I was hoping a few folk reading the blog wouldn’t be familiar with it but did wonder if I was the last woman on earth to get one!

  5. I’ve never heard of it either. If it works on fabrics as well as paper, I assume that it will work on felt? Does it work on all fabrics – gauze or chiffon or organza for instance? You can see where I’m going with that idea can’t you?
    I wish I was near enough to visit the gallery, the pictures of your work and all the other exhibits make me dribble! I love the felted leaf – can’t put a name to the plant at the moment. Hope the sales go well.

    1. I can definitely see where your going with your thoughts Ann. I’m using acrylic paint so I can see it working on any of those fabrics. We only took paper and cotton fabric to our play day but I will be experimenting with other fabrics so will report back.
      The leaf is a monstera ( cheese plant).

  6. You’ve gone down the rabbit hole with the gelli plate. I have several and pretty much use them for making cards. I’ve written about it in my Arlene’s New Beginnings blog when I used to do a lot of painting. The possibilities are endless. You can use golden open paints if you don’t want the paint to dry quickly. There are lots of videos on youtube. I love printing with ferns. I love your display, particularly the hexagons that look like barnacles. The frames really set them off. Hope the show goes well.

    1. Oh, you are so right Arlene….so many possibilities and so little time! The hexagons were made in response to one of the challenges on here and I was really pleased with how they look in the white frames.

  7. Ok Karen, the first thing I did when I started reading your Blog was to check out where I can buy one of these plates! I love your results and best of luck with your new space. We all definitely need more time in the day to experiment.

    1. Thanks Helen. That’s one of the things I look forward to during the Winter….. less distractions and more time for creative experimentation!

  8. I brought my Gelli plates on vacation, to play with, and try different things I have seen on YouTube. Of course, there are things I left home without, so Amazon has been very helpful with deliveries. I am happy to see lace, and all sorts of mesh/trims used. I cut up a pizza box, and used the corrugated cardboard the pizza was sitting on, inside the box. I messed around with Q-tips, coffee stirrers, bottle tops and any other things we could find. What fun we had trying new things: some worked, others didn’t. We used the prints as backgrounds for Neurographic Art drawings. I want to try printing on felt pieces next…

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: