Friday, August 21, 2009

Fun monoprinting

Thursday I used everything I learned on Tuesday and incorporated it into a fun day of monoprinting. I began by removing the gelatin from the pan. You can see the little flecks of paint that are in the bottom of the pan, and how the clear gelatin (YES, it's the same Knox gelatin I used the other day) has turned red from the reinkers I used on Tuesday that I didn't remove, so they stained the gelatin.

I got out some glazes, and since they dry slower, I decided to use them on this latest set of monoprints. I also got out my reinkers and Lumiere, which is a fabric dye, but didn't use them.

By the time I had everything set up, it was about 5:30 am, as shows on the clock. It was still quite dark when I started this project, but I was so excited to get started, I couldn't sleep.

I began by placing a mask I cut from cardboard onto the gel block, then brayerd on some Bisque colored glaze.

I laid a piece of white cloth on top and pressed. You can barely see the image from the back after I pressed the sheet to the block with my hands. Some paint will bleed through certain porous materials, some will simply show that the print has been successful, other fabrics and papers won't show any hint that the print has been successful. After you do this awhile, you get a feel for what has printed and what hasn't.

This is what the block looked like after my first printing and placing the bird stencil back on the gel block.

This is the print I got using some of the same red fabric I had on Tuesday. It isn't any prettier in person, so I decided to rethink the paint and the fabric I was using.

I had all this Bisque glaze on my palette, so I added some Dark Blue glaze and cleaned my gel print with a paper towel and water. Even though it was probably not necessary, I cleaned the gel block after every few prints, having learned what happens when you don't clean your gel block, then try to clean it with baby wipes. I truly recommend paper towels and water to get a good, clean gel block.

As you can see, I have done a few monoprints, then cleaned the gel block to get a negative print.

I worked for several more hours, printing both paper and fabric. I used three colors total: Bisque, Dark Blue, and Dark Green. I didn't have a chance to use any reinkers or my copper Lumiere.

I wasn't out of room, but I was fast approaching the limit of my living room rug.

By the time I quit, I had worked my way into the dining area.

I mostly concentrated on leaves, because the bird stencil didn't last too long.

My favorites were the green leaves shown on the far left of the photo.

Here are all three prints using Lily of the Valley leaves. I hope to make a wall hanging using them. The one on the left was the first printing, then the one on the bottom right was the second printing. The print above it was the fourth print (third print was on paper, see below) where I placed the leaves back on the gel block (as I did the bird above).

I could have gone about two more hours, but

I broke the mold when I stamped the ginkgo leaves on the print. Although this broken mold would still make some lovely prints incorporating leaves or birds, I know I don't have to work with a broken gel block. I cleaned the block again, then chunked it up and threw it in the microwave.

In the meantime, I cleaned my work surface, put the paints and inks back in their place, but gathered all the other supplies and placed them in a container for quick access.

It was now almost 1:45 and that was the first time I have even looked at the clock in over eight hours!

This time I got smart and strained the old paint chips out of the liquid as I poured it in the pan. Yes, I learn something new each time I try this technique.

Since the gel has a short "shelf life," I will probably make more of these tomorrow or Saturday. The instructions said the gel block would last "several weeks" in the fridge, but I'm not sure that will be the case when I use it every day or so. However, the ironic thing about this pan is, the gelatin was nearly set by the time I had the craft room cleaned, just from sitting on my kitchen table.

Click on any image below for a better view of some of the papers and fabrics I made during my day of monoprinting.

Blue and Bisque glazes, hand made dove mask on white cotton. First print.

Second print from above inking.

Mostly Blue and some Bisque glazes using leaves from my yard on white cotton fabric. First print.

Second printing of Blue and Bisque glazes with doilies used as masks on white cotton. First printing was on red fabric.

Green glaze and Ginkgo foam stamp on white cotton. First print.

Single leaf on book page. First print.

Three leaves (third printing) on dictionary page. Prints one and two were on white cotton (see above).

These were all fun, although some came out better than others.

Lessons learned:
1. You need lots of room when monoprinting.
2. Clean your brayer when changing colors using a bucket of water, rather than baby wipes.
3. Clean your gel block often and it will last much longer.
4. The more you reheat your gelatin, the faster it sets up.
5. If there are paint chips in your gelatin, an old window screen will capture them as the gelatin is being poured into the mold.

1 thoughtful remarks:

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

WOW Elizabeth! What a fascinating process and your results are wonderful! Great use of book text and Mother Nature. You sure know how to play!!! I have heard of this, great seeing your photos and how the process actually works and doesn't work. Many Thanks!!!