Gelli prints – monoprinting with a jelly plate

arranging grasses on an inked up gelatine 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.

Gift Vouchers

MFP Gift VoucherGift vouchers make a lovely present when you would like to pay for someone to go on a course, but aren’t sure which one to choose.

Our vouchers are hand printed on a Gocco machine, with a design featuring the zigzags found on the front of the INTRA building.

You can buy them for any amount, and they can be spent on:

  • gift voucher with gocco machineCourses at Medway Fine Printmakers
  • Open access sessions
  • Materials such as paper and ink
  • Items in the on-site Printed Wonders shop, including printed artworks, textiles, stationery, cards and gifts.

Below are some popular voucher values, with examples of what they can be spent on and links to buy them online.

If you would like a voucher for any other amount – please contact us.

Vouchers are valid for one year from the end of the month that they are purchased in. They cannot be exchanged for cash, but if only part of the voucher is spent, the rest of the voucher can be held in credit for use by the recipient any time before it expires.

Wayzgoose Print Fair – Sat Dec 13th

Letterpressed poster for the Wayzgoose by Heather Haythornthwaite

Letterpressed poster for the Wayzgoose by Heather Haythornthwaite

Prints galore will be on show and for sale at the Christmas ‘Wayzgoose’ Print Fair at INTRA on Saturday 13th December (10am – 5pm), jointly hosted by Medway Fine Printmakers and Hazelnut Press.

INTRA’s lovely shop-front workspace will be filled with stalls selling fine art prints, hand printed clothes & bags, Christmas cards, tags, decorations and wrap from Medway and Kent-based printmakers. Prices to suit all pockets! You can meet the artists and chat about the techniques they use and see some of them in action. Many printmakers are happy to take commissions for custom works too, ideal for a special gift.

  • Win BREATHTAKING prizes on the tombola!
  • MARVEL and ASTOUND yourself with
    undiscovered printmaking skills!
  • Gasp at DAREDEVIL ink techniques!
  • Be DELIGHTED with the ephemera and original
    prints for sale!
  • Shout HUZZAH for no particular reason!
Typeset letters for wayzgoose poster

Letterpressed poster in the making…

A ‘Wayzgoose‘ is a traditional printers’ fair, a chance to swap and sell small amounts of equipment, type, and tools alongside printed artworks. In the print studio behind the stalls, we’ll be running demos of the etching press, albion press and screen printing, so you’ll get a close-up look at how prints are made.

Bag a course for 20p!

Because we’ll all be in a festive mood, and as it is a traditional fair, there will be a tombola with prizes both fantastic, and fantastically rubbish. Buy a 20p ticket or 6 for a pound and you could bag the most bargainous course booking, a gorgeous piece of art… or if less lucky, perhaps a knitted toilet roll cover, or bizarre-sounding exotic tinned food.

Tea or coffee with biscuits will be available for £1.

Money raised from the fair will go towards running the Medway Fine Printmakers and Hazelnut Press print studios.

Find us at INTRA, 337-341 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA (directions & map here).

xmas-lights-bunting

20:20 Print Exchange 2014

Faye Brown printing her 20:20 edition

Faye Brown printing her 20:20 edition

Fifteen artists working at Medway Fine Printmakers signed up for the 20:20 print exchange this year, and have produced a wonderful range of prints to represent the studio. Each participant in the project produces a 20cm x 20cm edition of 25 using any print technique. Ours included etching, drypoint, photopolymer, screen print and thermofax. We sent them all off to Hot Bed Press in Salford, who have the mammoth task of shuffling everything (14,625 prints from more that 40 workshops last year!) and sending them back out.

We’ll each receive a box set of prints from random 20:20 printmakers, and our studio will be paired with another one so that we get a full set of their prints. International studios are taking part this year, as well as those across the UK and Ireland. It’s a great thing to be involved in and we salute Hot Bed Press for organising it. There will be some prints on sale from the exchange – to raise money for our studio. We’re planning a print fair on December 13th at INTRA and will have our 20:20 prints on show and for sale.

Our artists this year are:
Fay Hardstaff, Faye Brown, Ian Shelley, Jane Furst, Jane Pitt, Jane Prangnell, Julie Turner, Julija Baranova, Kasia Parker, Kevin Younger, Marco Cali, Megan Seymour-Jones, Natalie Piper, Polly Alpin, and Xtina Lamb.

Prints for 20:20 by artists at Medway Fine Printmakers

Collagraph – experiments in texture

Last weekend’s collagraph course with Kristiina Sandoe was a big hit with the four people taking part. So much so that they were planning a third day together even before they finished. We thought we would share some photographs from the course to show what they got up to, experimenting with textural materials from kitchen cupboards, saved from the bin, gathered from the garden and diverted from DIY supplies!

Each person made several plates by gluing materials to a thick card base, trying out textures and building images. They learnt how to prepare plates, ink them up and run them through the etching press with dampened paper. The range of marks is astonishing, and the print studio rang with comments such as “ooo how lovely” and “wow look at that!”, because this is a printmaking method that really encourages you to play. Kristiina is a great tutor, very knowledgable and encouraging. We’re very happy to have her with us.

Half price Autumn workshops

Liz Miller – photopolymer etching

This Autumn, Medway Fine Printmakers have an exhibition ‘Beyond Boundaries‘ at Rochester Art Gallery, featuring the work of Xtina Lamb, Adam Piper and our first artist in residence – Liz Miller. To compliment the show we have a programme of printmaking workshops, and Medway Council are generously supporting us to offer a selection of them at half the normal price.

As well as regular all ages favourite ‘Print Your Own…’, a two-hour Autumn-themed relief printing workshop for children and our popular two day introduction to screen printing for adults, we’re excited to include a new course where you can learn how to create and print photopolymer etching plates with Liz Miller.

The full programme of Autumn 2014 workshops is featured on our courses page, but the following ones at half price can be booked with the links below.

Print Your Own…

Children printing cushions with thermofax screensTue 26 Aug 2014, noon – 5pm
Ages 7+ £2.50 – £4
Five sessions of mini screen printing with Xtina Lamb. Choose from over 50 designs including mermaids, ships, robots, flowers, spirals, hearts, birds etc. and print them on a flag or small bag (£2.50), or tote bag, t-shirt or cushion cover (£4.00). Each workshop takes 30-45 mins, sessions start on the hour.
Book online
Please choose a price and session time
(times without a link are sold out):
£2.50   Noon  / 1pm / 2pm / 3pm / 4pm
£4.00   Noon / 1pm / 2pm / 3pm / 4pm

Photo Stencil Screen Printing

Screen printing on a fabric table Sat 30 & Sun 31 Aug 2014, 11am – 5pm
Adults £55
Create silkscreen stencils using your own artwork in this two day course with Xtina Lamb. Reclaim a screen, coat it with photo-sensitive emulsion, prepare your artwork, create the stencil and print onto paper or textiles. Practice printing your screen and combine with further techniques, adding background colours, paper stencils, blending etc., to create layered prints.

SOLD OUT  – Please contact us if you would like to go on a reserve list.

Autumn Printing Workshop for Children

children printing with simple foam relief blocksSun 28th Sept 2014, 2pm – 4pm
Ages 7+ £5
Make Autumn themed prints from your own drawn designs using an easy relief printing method in this two-hour workshop with Xtina Lamb.

SOLD OUT – Please contact us if you would like to go on a reserve list.

Photopolymer Etching / Solar Plate

solar plate being washed out after exposureSat 6 & Sun 7th Sept 2014, 11am – 5pm
Adults £60
Create an etching plate from your own artwork using a non-toxic photographic process, then print it using a lovely vintage etching press. A two day course with Liz Miller, with the option to also try out polymer relief plates. Detailed instruction on preparing transparencies for the best results, exposing and washing out the plates, inking up and wiping your plate, and working with different papers.

SOLD OUT – Please contact us if you would like to go on a reserve list or hear about future dates for this course.

Etching & Drypoint Classes

We’ve lined up some new workshops around the intaglio techniques used at Medway Fine Printmakers. A five hour / two morning drypoint class with Liz Kelleher begins in June, and in July we have a two-day introduction to etching with Heather Haythornthwaite where you can use non-toxic metal salt solutions to bite metal plates (instead of more hazardous traditional acids), working with hard and soft grounds to etch and print zinc plates.

Jane Furst incising a drypoint plate

Jane Furst incising a drypoint plate

If you have experience of intaglio printing, but could use some help improving your technique, come along to Jane Furst’s sessions held on the last Wednesday of each month 1-4pm, and other Wednesdays by request. Jane can give one-to-one advice, demonstrate techniques, and will have her collection of etching tools on hand for use in these sessions. Price is £10 (£8 concessions) on top of the open access session fee.

In July we will be joined by artist in residence Liz Miller, who will be working on her ‘Classics on Vinyl’ series combining music and visual art in a photopolymer etching project investigating repetitive patterns in music. Liz will be running a special weekend photopolymer etching workshop for us in September, to accompany our group exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery. The course will be subsidised by Medway Arts Team and will cost £60 for the two days.