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.

Medway Open Studios 2014 at INTRA

Front of INTRA decorated with bunting during Medway Open Studios

We are very happy to be involved in the Medway Open Studios event again this July. We will be opening our doors over both of the event’s weekend dates plus late on the Friday evening for a bit of a social gathering. On show will be work made at Medway Fine Printmakers, free demos of the processes we work with, tours of the print studio and Unravel & Unwind (our craft drop-in neighbours), drop in activities for all ages including the ever popular ‘Print Your Own…’ bag, flag, cushion or t-shirt, plus a workshop where you can print on slabs of jelly!
Updates here and on our Facebook page as we have them.

Medway Open Studio times at INTRA for July 2014:
Sat 12 , Sun 13 11am – 6pm,
Fri 18 4pm – 9pm,
Sat 19 11am – 6pm, Sun 20 11am – 6pm
Directions to INTRA

Print Activities for All Ages:

During open studios we’ll be running some activities open to all ages. If you bring along children under 10 years old you will need to give them help and close supervision. Please make sure you choose an activity that they have the attention span for 🙂 Adults love these fun printing sessions as much as children, so don’t be shy – it’s for you to join in too.

Thermofax Screen Printing 

Making thermofax screensSat 12 July 2014, 1pm – 3pm (2 hour workshop), £15
A special speedy version of artist Xtina Lamb’s easy, lightweight thermofax screen printing workshop. Draw your own A6 (postcard sized) design or bring one along, expose it onto screen mesh, put it onto a frame, and away you go – printing onto paper or fabric with your own design. Even better – you get to take the screen home and carry on.
Book the 1pm workshop
(£15 + £1 online booking fee, call 01634 753299 to pay by phone or visit us to pay in cash)

Print Your Own… 

Children printing cushions with thermofax screensSun 13 or Sun 20 July 2014, Noon – 4pm (30mins – 1hour), £5 to £8 
Our ever-popular workshop where you can custom print an item of your choosing: flags or mini tote bags for £5, shopping bags, t-shirts or cushions for £8, and bunting for £1.50 per triangle. Over 50 thermofax screen designs plus the alphabet to choose from, with illustrations from mermaids, ships and compass roses, to swirls, stars and hearts, or robots, animals, lucky symbols and more.
No need to book – just drop in.

Jelly Printing

Printing with a slab of gelatineSat 19 July 2014, noon – 2pm and 3pm – 5pm (2 hour workshop), £10
Use a slab of firm gelatine and collected wild flowers, ferns and other materials to make wonderful prints on paper with artist Dianne Reeves.
Book the noon workshop
Book the 3pm workshop
(£10 + £1 online booking fee, call 01634 753299 to pay by phone or visit us to pay in cash)