It was Christmas in July at the Museware Pottery studio yesterday! Just before lunch, my order of Deli Paper arrived. Soon after, my order of Gelli Plates, soft rubber brayers, stencil paper and fabric medium showed up. Two Fed-Ex deliveries in one day is something of a miracle. Our studio is located in a historic mill and is a literal maze of corridors and staircases. None of the unit numbers are marked and tenants come and go like the wind. If our regular guy is off, his replacement won't even bother to look for us. As a result, we've dismissed Fed-Ex as unreliable and avoid dealing with them whenever possible. Today however, we were all like Yay Fed-Ex!
Gelli Printing Plates are smooth, clear slabs of monoprinting loveliness. They are durable and permanent and put my home-made plate to shame. I just took my 8x10 plate for a test drive and have found great happiness. The paint rolls on smoothly, the rounded corners leave a nice detail on the print and they clean up easily. I'm using baby wipes - water and paper towel works as well. Their literature suggests hand sanitizer gel, but with the proliferation of super bugs out there, I prefer something less apocalyptic.
My shipment also contained the book "Gelli Plate Printing - Mixed Media Monoprinting Without a Press" by Joan Bess. What an awesome resource! Not only is it full of techniques - it includes ideas for organizing the chaos inherent to printing. Her use of plastic in-out office boxes and acrylic box frames as storage containers is brilliant. She also recommended the use of a sketchbook for rolling excess paint off of the brayer. Mine is filled with bad sketches and is greatly improved by a few strokes of color. I've never kept an actual art journal and can see myself decoupaging antique dictionary pages and other paper elements to the painted pages. So. Much. Fun.
This happy collection of prints was done on 8x10 Deli paper and a few sheets of copy paper. Deli Paper is the dry wax paper used by the food industry. I see why artists love and recommend it - it's thin and translucent and strong enough to pull without tearing. It also has both matte and shiny sides and dries with a texture that adds yet another dimension to the print. I bought three boxes of 500 sheets and have enough paper to last for years.
While printing can be done in a small area, staging drying prints takes up some real estate. My first session ended with dozens of wet, curling pages scattered across my wood floors. Last night I rigged up this make shift drying table using a TV tray and a scrap of 1/2" plywood. It's lightweight and can be broken down and stored in the closet. It worked well enough to warrant creating another.
After some shopping around, I found the best pricing at Dick Blick. Here is a link to my Monoprinting wishlist. One of the items on the list is Golden Acrylic Retarder. I haven't purchased it yet, but it's designed to increase the drying time of acrylic paint. Since I'm still working with quick dry craft paint - I look forward to seeing how this works with them. Additional drying time means less rushing and more creative options. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year. I'll spend the second half of it in my sweet little air conditioned home studio. Making really cool stuff.