Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kitchen Surface Design: Printing with the Gelatin Plate

Yesterday, we made the gelatin printing plate. Today we learn how to print with it.

First you will need to gather some supplies. You will need opaque and/or transparent fabric paints (I use Setacolor), plastic spoons and containers to mix paints, a Rollrite foam brayer, a glass palette (or a smooth surface) to roll out your paints, a plant mister with water to occasionally clean the surface of the gelatin plate, paper towels, and fabric (I use Prepared for Dyeing cotton) cut into 10" x 10" squares.

You will also want to have lots of textured materials such as: screening, net bags, needlepoint canvas, burlap, yarn, string, etc. I often use print blocks or stamps. You can also use cut or torn paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil. Look around your kitchen or workspace and gather up interesting textures.

Since I want to print with my weed friends, I stepped out into the not-yet-weeded garden and had an ample supply.

Mix up some paint colors. You can either use the transparent paint right out of the bottle, or slightly diluted or you can use the opaque paint or you can even mix both together. I would suggest starting with a light or bright paint color so you can add more than one layer to your fabric.

Spoon a small amount of the paint onto the gelatin plate.

Use your Rollrite brayer to roll out an even coat of paint.

You can now do a number of different things. In this case, I am laying a piece of needlepoint canvas on the wet paint and pulling it off. It will leave a design on the paint's surface.

Next,  put a piece of fabric on the gelatin plate. Smooth the fabric with your hands (a sensuous sensation!).

Pull off the fabric. The textured paint has now transferred to the fabric. This will make a great first layer.

Take a look at all your textures and just image what you can do!

You can create beautiful nature prints with the gelatin plate. See the March 19 post, Back in the Weeds.

Roll some paint out on the gelatin. Lay down some of the weeds you've gathered. Be sure that the more textured side of the leaves and flowers are facing down in the gelatin.

The silhouette of the violets were printed over another silhouette  

Lay a piece of fabric on the plate and smooth out. Try not to move the weeds as you are doing this. Pull off the fabric. You will see the silhouettes of the weeds.

Take another piece of fabric and lay it  down on the gelatin to pick up the remaining paint that has been textured by the plants. Pull off the fabric. This is the ghost print. It is usually quite beautiful, like a botanical illustration.

Silhouette of dandelions and yarn

If you set aside the time and have an ample supply of textured materials and fabric, you can get happily and completely lost in the process of experimenting and layering with the gelatin plate. My Exploring Surface Design students tell me that playing with the gelatin printing plate is their favorite class session. Have fun!

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