My kids gifted me a gelli plate for Mother’s Day so that I could rediscover and relearn monoprinting. However, I had not had time to even open the box until the summer break arrived. A couple of days ago, therefore, my youngest two children and I decided to mess around and have fun with the gelli plate. As we were just messing around and as my youngest children are just 5 and 7, I decided we would just use tempera paint. As long as we worked quickly, the tempera paint worked well. If we left the paint sitting too long on the surface, it would begin to pull away from the surface, creating little freckles of pigment-free space on the surface of the gelli plate. However, the upside of working at high speed is that we didn’t have time to overthink what we were doing or plan; we just had to go for it, be instinctive and decisive and just randomly experiment with ways of masking or mark making.
It was a great success. My boys absolutely loved it. The seven year old said it was the most fun art thing he had ever done. He might be exaggerating but certainly they had great fun printing and were very proud of their results. A lady at the Art Journalling MeetUp group I go along to kindly donated some stencils to me so the boys had a whale of a time playing with those. They also used some die cut shapes to create masks and eventually decided to create marks in the paint using their fingers. The seven year old was most proud of the poster he made of Caesar (from ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’) and an abstract landscape. The five year old was most proud of a print he did inspired by brains. Yes, brains. My most successful pieces were actually created by lifting the leftovers from the gelli plate and building up layers of these on one piece of paper and also the paper I used for cleaning the brayer. So happy accidents rather than intentional creations.
We definitely enjoyed using the gelli plate and will experiment with it again.