While out and about in Shropshire, I came across a shop selling plaster goodies which had been set and pulled from a number of moulds. Unfortunately one broke on the journey home – a kingfisher, which my daughter was going to paint.
My OH repaired the broken plaster bird, so hoping my daughter will still paint it later.
The rose survived and I wondered how it would work on the gelliplate.
I mixed using the plaster rose with leather scraps from a shoe and leaves from my garden. Pleased with the results 🙂
My son’s now settling in at uni. While he gets used to the new area, meets new people and feels the buzz and thrill of his course, I decided to create a little moving in card for him based on a family joke about cutlery (including the renaming of the hard drive in his computer, the documents folders and some other files to cutlery, washing machine and spoons!).
I hope he likes these enough to pin them to his notice board 🙂
This is one of the prints. I’ll share pictures of the others when he receives them, so he gets a surprise!
This has made my hand ache considerably. My uncle was a sign writer but I’ve found this painstakingly slow to do. I’m learning as I go and quite pleased with how this is turning out. Only taken five hours so far!
Please note, I did not write the poem, a great poem, merely used it to practise my calligraphy skills and have posted it here as it will be including some printing technique (watch for the illustrations) 🙂
Just for fun, I used some picture board card, drew out a basic outline of some woodland trees and a rabbit sitting on a swing at night.
If you’d like to try this yourself, simply score around the outline edge and peel off the top coloured layer of the picture board.
as you can see by this photograph, the creamy white layer is now showing as I peeled off the red.
I then rollered the block printing ink onto the surface and it caught some of the creamy backing. If you don’t want this texture to appear, you will need to peel more of the underneath away. I applied a wash of coffee to the trees and Beryl fibre tip pens for the other colours.
As this was the first print pull, I will adjust the background colours between the trees so that there is more blue showing.
Still experimenting with lino and the gelli-plate, plus interchanging between acrylic paints and block printing ink. This little cutting was inspired by an embossed bottle I found while on holiday. It’s amazing where you can get textures from and what works and doesn’t.
Later, I will share with you different materials which can be used to make your own prints for minimum cost, including corrugated cardboard and polystyrene (known as a polyprint!).
A bottle print …
And lino with bubblewrap…
At college we were provided with sheets of glass, black ink and a roller to create mono prints. The theme, Creation, was the brief and we explored these by drawing directly into the ink with ends of paintbrushes or our fingers. It was messy work, but fun.
Today, a Gelli plate arrived in the post. It’s thicker than I thought it would be and more versatile with acrylic paints. I found that the acrylic dried too rapidly on lino printing and sometimes the paper would stick where I didn’t want it to! I’ve invested in some block printing ink to continue with the lino when I’ve done some more cutting now that I have some more lino :-). In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you the cover I’ve created using the Gelli plate for my sketchbook and some postcards using leaves and grasses. What’s great about the plate is that there is no need to clean it each time and you can lay the card repeatedly onto the ink and gradually it becomes clean.
Also, in these photographs, you can see the result of my lino print for the ‘Wanderer in the Mists’ impression. I’m going to add another layer to this to present different distances on the top part of the picture where the man is standing.
So where did all this printing knowledge and experience come from? How did I know what I was looking for at the auction when sourcing a printing press?
I studied extended printing for A level. I had to submit a portfolio of different printing techniques using various printing equipment and inks or paints while at college. This included intaglio, mono printing, lino cutting, card prints, etching in copper and prints taken from scratching into plastic. We made rubber stamps and wood blocks. The smell of the oil paints and getting my hands dirty with black ink didn’t bother me.
After college, I was accepted onto a course to study art further. I had to submit some pre-course materials set to a brief in order to demonstrate my drawing skills. One of these tasks was an abstract self-portrait.
I moved on from this to work for a company, which involved a bus ride to work or my dad dropping me off on route to his firm. Occasionally, he would forget to pick me up on the way home and I would be frantically waving at him as he drove past!
The company sent me on a course in London and I studied printing science and made electrostatic plates for the lithographic printing presses. I was only 18 and going to London back then was one big adventure.
On return from London, I was promoted to work on a Rotaprint machine which prints up to A3. This was in contrast to the first press I was trained on: a. 1250 multilithographic press which could manage A4 or smaller. I was glad of the change, despite earning the nickname Queen of the Tyvek. For those who aren’t familiar with Tyvek – it is a waterproof paper which is notoriously difficult to print on because it slides. The paper is made up of cotton woven into it so it doesn’t tear. I mastered this quite successfully, hence the nickname. However, while I was learning this my boss draw a cartoon of me (I also liked wearing baggy trousers back then and desert boots). It was great having an artistic boss, but at 18 I wasn’t quite sure how to take the cartoon. I’m glad I kept it because it still makes me laugh now.
So, that was how I got into the printing industry …