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…..in my head at least!
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.
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…..it’s another of those wonderful distractions that make you wish there were more hours in your day!