More printing with the gelli plate.
For this batch of monoprint mark-making samples I explored different paints: watercolours and acrylics as well as using a number of different yarns and fabric offcuts to create the marks on both a paper and fabric surface.
Below right was a blue wash on the gelliplate then a scrunched plastic bag was padded onto the plate to lift of some of the paint. I like the wrinkled effect and the lighter tone as well as the bubbling where the watercolour has pooled on the surface of the plate.
On the left I applied 3 strips of watercolour from a tube, then draped some hem ribbon onto the plate surface and took the left-hand side negative print, then lifted the ribbon and immediately took the right-hand side positive image. The heavy paint of the left hand side seems very ‘print-like’ but predictable and flat. There is a significant contrast between negative shape and colour but I am more taken with the intricacies and marks that the ghost or positive print in the middle has delivered. I think for me watercolour works to create the hints and patterns in the marks left from both the ribbon and the effect of the paint on the gelliplate surface. I am drawn to the translucency on not-quite-formed effect. Almost like the traces left behind on a window covered in condensation.
Then on to acrylic paints:
The effect of this is a much sharper image and far more definition in the marks. There is an early photocopying feel to the yarn imprint on the rhs. The lhs sample shows far more definition in the yarns detail. I then wanted to explore how these effects could be layered into one image.
Here I used a knit sample reverse and front side and two shades of green, plus a blue layer to create the first stencil layer. These recalled images in poetry books and early printed books. I worked between two sheets of paper alternating print layers. I used no guidelines or marking up lines because I was not after a pure fit, I wanted to see what happened when layers overlapped. The knit sample created a great texture and here I appreciated the sharp divide. The colours worked well together and made this piece feel quite energetic.
But, it felt accurate and I didn’t like that feeling. It felt like a print ‘should’ and I don’t want to be making ‘should’ work, I want to be making ‘could’ work!
I experimented with layering further onto both paper and fabric, layering mark-making too on the one plate to see what happened as I peeled element off, printed, peeled further details off, took a print, then took final ghost print.
The orange and red are very close, the feather printed clearly on the fabric and the texture of the crumpled dry kitchen paper (top right) was more interesting than I had anticipated. this is worth keeping in mind for future samples.
I then wondered what would happen if I crumpled paper over a crumpled wire onto the gelliplate and then took prints peeling away a layer at a time:
This root like print has much that talks to me – the colour is not flat and the ink has formed different depths depending on how closely I could meet the paper surface to the printing plate. The crumpled paper as a print surface itself hold future potential. I wondered what this same process would turn out like on fabric:
The acrylic paint saturated the fabric heavily so the third print has significantly less interest than the paper. However the middle sample seems to hold background interest that I may work into again.
To finish I wanted to print fabric, using acrylic and 2 colour layers:
I really like the faded edge of the bottom sample that contrasts with the sharpness of the right-hand side. There is an ecclesiastical feel to this work that I’ve only noticed after distancing myself from the print by photographing it – even though it is from a tablecloth! It looks like it should be the background to support works on the murder of Thomas a Beckett. I think the red negative print layer delivers this impression.
I love the speed and flexibility of the gelli plate. A clever resource for sampling.
Finally, I wanted to move the paints around on the plate without leaving a stencil so I swept paint aside with a piece of cardboard in a swirling motion. Using the camera as viewfinder I have been able to pick out the areas that talk to me the most.
The middle image conveys a real sense of loneliness to me, how that state makes you feel incomplete and partways invisible and shredded and ‘not quite here not quite there’ and certainly faceless.