Gelli prints – monoprinting with a jelly plate

Dianne Reeves arranging grasses on an inked up gelatine plateLast year during Medway Open Studios & Arts Festival​ we ran a jelly printing workshop at INTRA with Dianne Reeves using monoprinting plates made from gelatine. It was loads of fun and we made some beautiful prints. The plates worked brilliantly and had some wonderful qualities that are difficult to achieve with regular monoprinting and hard plates. You can press objects into the jelly and print the impression that they leave behind. But in the summer heat the plates kind of melted after a while and they had to be stored in the fridge beforehand and thrown away afterwards, which is all a bit of a faff, so now we’re looking at alternatives to get the best of this process with less hassle.

Gelli Arts plateThere are two reusable options that don’t have to be refrigerated: homemade gelatine plates mixed with glycerine, and an American product called Gelli Arts Printing Plate made of mineral oil that is very durable. It’s nice to have an option that doesn’t use animal products. We’re going to be selling the Gelli Arts plates this year and will be running workshops with them, as well as trying out the homemade version. There will be some available at the print studio for use during open access sessions too.

Gelli print made using a fernThis is pretty exciting as the effects you can get span everything from bright and bold to incredibly delicate and detailed. There are quite a lot of people printing with gelli plates and a popular style has developed to layer up patterns and shapes to create very pretty papers that can be used as backgrounds or for decorative use as book coverings etc. We’re hoping to use them as a fine art tool and experiment with many different techniques to open up new possibilities for our printmaking. They can be combined with other kinds of monoprinting or stencil techniques to very strong effect.

Here are some pics of last year’s jelly printing, please let us know if this is something you’d be interested in.

UPDATE: Our Gelli printing class is now listed – first class July 18th 2015.

gelli prints leaves

gelli workshop Dianne Reeves

gelli print lace lucky clovers - by Xtina Lamb

Gelli print by Xtina Lamb

Prints by Xtina Lamb made at Medway Fine Printmakers using a jelly plate. Textured items such as lace, embroidered handkerchiefs and clover were pressed into the plate, a paper stencil was used with the plate for the shoe detail and a thermofax print added for the sixpences.

3 thoughts on “Gelli prints – monoprinting with a jelly plate

    • Yes it’s wonderful the detail it keeps in the leaves and grasses etc. A very versatile tool. I’m really looking forward to exploring what we can do with it some more.

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