Monoprinting with Nature

It has emerged that my two youngest sons love to print.  As eager as they are to try block printing, at 5 and 7 they are too young to handle the tools plus those materials are expensive.  We have, however, been experimenting together with the gelli plate and making oodles of monoprints.  I love this because I thoroughly enjoy creating with them.  I like to think that I will inspire them to continue being creative throughout their lives, that they will derive pleasure and satisfaction and a sense of calm from the act of creating something, anything, as I do.  I also love creating with them because, frankly, it gives me a much-needed opportunity to do something creative myself.  Especially during this lengthy school break, time for myself is in very short supply so working with them, all taking turns, affords me the chance to invest in myself with a little bit of art.  Finally, I also love creating with them because they inspire me: they don’t worry about end results, technical hitches or over-think things; they just get stuck in and have a go.  I need to be more like that.  Definitely.

Recently, the three of us decided to get the gelli plate out and make some more monoprints and the two boys hit upon the idea of using leaves from the garden as masks.  I remembered seeing a post on Debbie Osborn’s blog where she used plant materials to create charming monoprints so I knew their idea was feasible.  Out into the garden we went, gathering our materials.  Despite it having been their idea, the boys soon gave up on using plants and used stencils and their fingers to create their prints instead.  I, however, persevered.  Initially, my prints were truly mediocre as I forgot entirely that the leaves would act as complete masks and leave white paper beneath and that, therefore, a bit of layering was required.  Ultimately, I think my post successful prints were actually the ghost prints made when I used paper to pull the marks that were left behind on the plate by the initial print.  None of my results were stellar but experimentation is part of the learning process and I certainly enjoyed myself.

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4 thoughts on “Monoprinting with Nature

  1. I think the skeletal ones are gorgeous :)) This is such a great idea. I use a sheet of plexiglass for my gelli plate since I don’t do animal products for the temporary gelatin kind, and I can’t seem to muster up the urge to splurge on an actual plate that I won’t use often enough. The plexi was super cheap and covers a giant area, so I can do packaging paper and newsprint prints too. I’m having more fun playing now too, and I’m going to add this project to my list before the fall hits and all the leaves die!

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