Enough of frost quakes, ice sheets and layers of snow, I’m going Hot.
No, I’m not going anywhere tropical, I won’t be taking a cruise, I’m simply changing my color palette. Time to bring out the oranges, reds and yellows to warm my heart while I ignore what’s happening outside the studio window.
Here’s a start to my warm wanderings, appropriately titled “Hot”! It’s a 6” x 6” monoprint created using a Gelli plate, Rives BFK paper and Golden Open Acrylics.
With monoprints, I rely on serendipity to guide me to a final image. Seldom do I know where I’m going before I begin. And that means, often, a great many layers of color before I can say “finished”.
To help ensure that each layer is printed on top of the previous layer, I built this simple registration system that I wanted to share. It’s my Home Depot art jig – a piece of Melamine board; lattice strips and angle brackets. For the six inch and 8 x 10 inch Gelli Plates, I used a 12 x 14 inch piece of Melamine and attached lattice strips. Then I attached angle brackets to the lattice strips. The Gelli plate will butt up to the lattice strips. To ensure a white border around the print, I decided on the width of the border then measured that border distance from the Gelli plate and marked the spot several times along the top and side lattice pieces. I attached the brackets so that the inside edge of the bracket lined up with the marks on the lattice.
To use the registration jig, position your Gelli plate then tape off the lattice strips so you don’t get paint on them. Apply paint to the plate. Remove tape. Position the upper left corner of your paper into the angle bracket, making sure the paper edges also line up with the straight brackets. Print the paper. Remove the paper without jostling the plate. Then repeat for every new color layer. The print layers should line up each time. To help with paper placement, place a pencil mark on the back of your print to indicate which corner of the paper fits into the angle bracket.
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Let’s combine an exercise in wood carving with some DecoArt Ink Effects, a type of transfer paint used for designs on fabric.
Printmaking, particularly block printing, is something I’ve enjoyed for decades. Using the hand tools to carve into the wood, linoleum…or potato is a great way to pass a relaxing hour or so. In fact, I often carve a design with no intention of printing the image. And that’s how these trees came about.
Months ago I cut these trees into a piece of Masonite. When I wanted to try printmaking using the Ink Effects paint, the trees were the perfect size – the design fit the only white fabric scrap I had!
The concept of Ink Effects is simple. Use the Ink Effects to paint your design onto a piece of paper. Let the design dry then transfer to a non-cotton fabric using an iron. I wanted to see if printmaking techniques would also work. I love the texture you get with a hand-printed image.
I taped off the edges of my carving to be able to print a clean image then used a stiff-bristled brush to drag the Ink Effects over the carved image. My intention was to create some streaks and white spaces in the design – a mono print effect. You can probably see the texture better in the picture below.
I placed a piece of white printer paper over the wet ink and pressed firmly with a brayer. When I lifted the paper this was the result:
Some of the paper stuck to the Masonite when I lifted the sheet, as you can see in the picture below…but hey, that’s just more texture. The bottom picture is the carved Masonite after I printed the image on the paper. I let the paper dry for an hour or so then used a hot iron and transfered the image to the fabric…twice. You can see the pillow has six trees but the carving only has three. I thought I’d get a ghost image with the second transfer, but the image came out almost as intense as the first.
A joint effort between my wife and I resulted in this pillow cover. If you’d like to see more about Ink Effects check out this website.
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