This is the gelli-printing plate. I have used, and continue to use other plates such as perspex (or plexiglass if you`re North American). You certainly couldn`t put these under a press, but then there`s no need to, which I guess is the whole point. Apparently, you can make your own gelatine plates to print on, but I do enough cooking in the kitchen and everybody else in the house makes enough messes for me to clean up, without me making life any harder for myself!!
First, the prints, and then I`ll give you a lowdown on the gelli plate itself. These are eight of what I`m calling "altered monotypes," or simply monotype and mixed media. Size is approximately A4 paper. I printed about another 15 sheets in the same session, and although I wasn`t so happy with those I was able to use some as collage, and have kept the leftovers for future use. I paint like I cook: always reinvent your leftovers!
I started by printing several layers of different colours and textures and patterns, and then used my own handcut paper stencils. They have all been embellished with painting, collage, free machine embroidery, etc. to create unique one-off pieces, mostly centred around female figures.
The disadvantages are:
1.They are, I suppose, a little expensive: this one cost me £30, but I think in the long run it is worth it. It will pay itself back quickly.
2. Also, because they are soft, they could be easily scored or damaged, and that would leave a permanent mark on every future print you take.
3. You are limited to size. I think there are now 3 sizes: a square one, 6 x 6 inches, which for me was a little small, the one I purchased, 8 x 10 inches, and now a new larger one, 12 x 14 inches.
4. This is an American product, and there are few stockists in the UK. Here are the ones I could find:
If you are already familiar with my figurative/naive/folk art /renaissance style artwork (it`s been called all of those and everywhere inbetween), you`ll know that I love to use collage in some of my mixed media pieces. Often I use old magazines and catalogues, but lately I`ve been making my own, using my handcarved stamps, etc. So I thought the gelli plate would be great for making my own collage papers, and I wasn`t disappointed. It`s also very quick, and brilliant for using papers and fabrics, etc. with texture - I find this more difficult on perspex. On the gelli surface they adhere much better. It`s also really easy to clean up and best of all, you can easily make a whole stash of papers in one session, and since they recommend you use acrylics, they dry quickly for immediate use.
One thing I find strange is that they are mostly used by crafters. That in itself, isn`t strange. My question is, why don`t more artists/printmakers use them too? They have great potential for both disciplines, and are ideal for those creative types whose work is sometimes a hybrid between the 2. ( I think I might fit in here!?)
Hope you`ve been inspired to try out some gelli-printmaking for yourself. Check out the product`s website where they have several videos on different techniques and uses.