Originally I typed “you can print anything,” but that can be misinterpreted. I want to talk about the use of unconventional objects in gel printing. Of course, there are screens, stencils, stamps, etc., sold for printing. However, I like found objects that are free.
Instagram offers lots of ideas for such objects. Margaret Molinari (@margarts) prints on fabric with all sorts of items – pressed glass, reed baskets, fruits, vegetables, etc. Another artist, @giogiocraft, uses leaves in a fast way to get a ghost print from a gel plate.
I couldn’t resist (ha!) gathering and pressing leaves, and then printing with them on drawing paper and tissue. Some of my papers had been through one printing already, so I had a head start.
Another Instagram inspired printing object was blue jeans. My husband handed over an old pair of his, which has found its way into a quilt (“Damask and Denim”) and now prints on paper.
I think we’ve gotten our money’s worth out of that pair.
If you have printed with interesting found objects, I’d love to hear about it.
Do you have old pressed glass pieces hanging around your abode? I inherited plates, bowls, small pitchers, and cups done up in pressed glass that were meant to pass for crystal or cut glass. Because it was machine molded it was much more affordable than crystal, which explains why my family, with modest means but a desire to emulate the more well to do, owned pressed glass. I use my inherited pieces on occasion, but didn’t think much about them until I discovered margarts.com.
Actually, I discovered her videos on Instagram which show her printing a wide variety of fruits, veggies, scissors, and pressed glass onto fabric with printing ink. The technique is like the old potato printing you may have done in school, but done more imaginatively. I was eager to try artichoke printing, but I had pressed glass, printing ink, and fabric on hand, so off I went.
First, here are a few of Margaret’s efforts with pressed glass. She makes up her prints into pouches and needle cases.
Then, here are my initial efforts. You can see I’m still working on the correct amount of ink.
It turns out I used that pressed glass pattern some years ago.
Since I had my table set up for printing I dusted off my Gelli plate and printed weed leaves and stencils on old napkins used as mop cloths and silk scraps. For these I used Jacquard textile paints.
My final experiments were on crinoline that I had stitched pleats into and painted. For some reason my textile paint was quite watery and so it didn’t stick evenly to the plate when I rolled it out.
Maybe I’ll cut up the plate prints into quarters and do a drunkards path type pattern. For now they sit on the top of my pile of experiments.