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Gelatine Monoprinting

This week the weather has taken a turn for the worst and we have had high winds and rain in Adelaide. This has meant that indoor pursuits have been very attractive so as well as developing my image making I had a session making some gelatine prints. When I say gelatine prints I mean prints made on a print plate made of gelatine, the type you eat! Apologies to any can buy vegetarian gelatine but I have not tried it yet.

Gelatine print making is a great image making process as the image is uncontrollable to a certain degree and you get some wonderful texture and marks that you can't get any other way. Each print is a one off and totally unique monoprint.

I have shared the process here just in case anybody would like to have a go at making some too.

If you are going to make some prints you will need;

gelatine powder  (which you can buy in the supermarket. I have never tried the vegetarian substitute for gelatine.)
a tray to put the gelatine mix in, like a swiss roll tin
acrylic paint, or ink
something to roll the paint out on, I usually just use a tile or sheet of glass.
Gatherings of items you can put on your gelatine plate to  make images, leaves, pieces of paper, either abstract or cut-out, lace, thread, anything you can think of that you could place under a piece of paper!

To make  the gelatine plate mix 6 tablespoons of powdered gelatine with 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water and put it on the stove to dissolve slowly over a low heat, just enough heat to melt the gelatine.
Keep stirring it with a whisk to stop it becoming lumpy.
After the gelatine has dissolved pour into a tray. This amount made enough to fill a swiss roll tray which was about the size of an A4 piece of paper. Put in the fridge to cool and harden. This does not take very long, maybe half an hour for this anount. Take care not to spill it over the edges as it is very difficult to remove from the floor, well more messy than difficult and also do not put it down the sink as it will mess your pipes up.

When the plate is ready tip it out gently onto the bench. I usually place it on a piece of foil to keep any mess contained. Use your brayer to roll some paint over the plate. It should look like this:.

Place some items on the gelatine print that you would like to make your print from.

Place a sheet of paper over the plate and the material you are printing, in this case my leaves and rub the paper all over with your hand. When you lift the paper your image will be revealed! As you can see the material on the plate has left a negative image. You can use fabric instead of paper if you like.

You can now lift the material off your plate, and put another sheet of paper over the plate to create a ghost image which in this case is a positive image of the leaves.

 The images can be addded to in photoshop or by using them as a basis for mixed media like I did here where I added my watercolour butterflies in Photoshop.

The gelatine plate will last for a week or so in the fridge but eventually gets a bit yucky! I find that it gets more and more interesting as it gets older as there are more cracks and marks on it which add texture.

Here are some more of my images from this week.

There are many techniques which you can use to increase interest in your simple gelatine print. You can draw on the plate before you pull your image. Just remember to do it backwards.You can draw after you have made your plate. You can make marks with random objects you may have just lying around begging to be used either by pressing directly onto the plate before making your print or by stamping onto the image afterwards. You can create stencils and place them over the paint and then make your image or place cut outs which you have painted on top of your painted plate and then create your print.  You can  include your prints as part of a collage or collage onto your print.
For something really unique how about binding your prints into a book.
 The sky is the limit! just have fun.

I hope you have a go at this image making process and I would love to hear how you get on and see your images.

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