For the October meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective, local artist and creativity coach Briana Goetzen came and gave a presentation on the Gelli Arts Printing plate. Let me just say, her demonstration was fantastic!
Briana brought along her Gelli plate and set it up right in the flexi space at MCBA. It is small (8x10) and portable, coming in a plastic shell type box that works for storage and transportation. It needs no special set-up, you simply take it out of the case and apply paint. The Gelli plate is really quite magic for making monoprints in the quickest possible fashion using any acrylic paint, texture tools , stencils, or stamps. Results are instant, dry really quickly, and it turns out you don't even need to wash the plate between prints (bonus).
Briana showed a number of different techniques for the printing plate highlighting it's versatility and ease of use. One of her first recommendations was to use multiple colors of paint in the same print, blobbing them on the plate, allowing them to blend with a brayer. Textures and shapes are then applied to the wet paint layer by simply pressing them into the paint on the plate. Prints are lifted from the plate by rubbing the back of the sheet and pulling it up. The process is seamless and enjoyable. Once the plate is set up and your paints are out it really is quite addictive.
She also showed how easy it was to layer prints on top of each other creating new interesting layered effects. Sheets that have been printed dry fast, and with no need to wipe or clean the late between images, a quick rhythm of making image after image, experimenting as you go becomes apparent.
Participants on hand got to try the plate themselves, we had two Gelli Plates on hand and plenty of paper and paints. Nearly everyone who tried was instantly in love with the plate and its potential. It was so easy to use and the options for different ways to create prints are nearly endless, allowing for each artist to put their own spin on how and what they create on the plate.
If you enjoy mono printing, pastepaper, or gelatin prints, you will love the Gelli plate. That it is durable (real gelatin is not) and easy to use makes it all the more enjoyable.