Friday, 16 July 2010

The Autobiographia Boxes

I've been working these last few weeks on these little boxes as a kind of autobiography - bits of old work combined with precious odds and sods that have travelled with me over the years, collected pieces and gifts.  The print is one of the little series of gelatin plates I did a while ago reflecting on the wild undergrowth in my garden and the ivory bird and bead came from an incense burner that was given to me over 40 years ago, by an uncle who had travelled to Australia in the 1920's via what was then Ceylon. He is long dead but the memories and wonderful tales he told of his life as a wandering musician linger on

I like the smallness of the work - 2inches square

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Re-Post Gelatin II - For Buried Treasure Collaborative

I've had a couple of entirely sensible questions about what do you do with the gel plates once you have them in your hot little hands!

Here was the subsequent post I made in October last year, which hopefully gives you an idea of how to print from them.  Many of the images on the blog have been taken from straight monoprints using gelatin plates or manipulating the image using Adobe or Gimp software. (e.g., Previous Posts - Meditations is a monoprint, Bye Bye Birdy is a digitally manipulated print using the same bird template and some textured wallpaper samples I got from the local hardware store).  Really interesting to experiment with paper shapes, leaves, string, paper bags etc., you do start to see possibilites all around you!  And to overprint and see what happens with the combined images and colours.
Final image
Gel plate with impressions left by placed objects

First print taken
Inked up gel plate with assorted items laid on top

Just figured out how to load multiple images! Not too sure why it has loaded in reverse order but here is some of the output from the day - the gel plate (bottom image)was first inked up using water based printing inks and a roller, then I laid a variety of stuff on top of the inked plate - ribbon, leaves, bit of lace, rubber bands. I placed a sheet of cartridge paper over the top and gently hand rubbed the back of the paper to obtain the first print. No need to go mad here just a smoothing over the back of the paper really.

Then I removed the items and placed a second sheet of cartridge paper over and gently rubbed the back of the paper to pick up the imprinted images left on the gel.

I have used 130g cartridge paper for this print.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Re-Post for Buried Treasure Collaborative - Making a Gelatin Plate

As part of a collaborative with New York Artist Seth Apter' and his blog The Altered Page, I am re-posting 'Making a Gelatin Plate'.  The idea is to air a previous post that you particularly liked. The participating artists can be found from July 15th over at The Altered Page blog under the title Buried Treasure.  A celebration of the work of  the many, many online artists we love to browse.

I think it's probably one of the most useful posts I made over the year for other artists and probably the one which sparked the most interest on my blog.  It was also a good point for my work, as it began to travel down many mixed media avenues and on all kinds of artistic journeys that I could not have imagined; say 2 years ago.

A week on holiday got me thinking about gelatin prints again. I really got into this last year and posted about it at the time but felt that there was more work to be done here and that I could also use the prints with my stock of digital images. There was very little information online at the time; there is a little bit more now I notice, but it was enough to get me started.

The drawback was the time it took to make the plates and the fact that the gel broke up quite quickly - you would just get to the point where you were making progress and it was getting interesting and the cracks would appear.

So for those interested in this here is the latest recipe for the gel plate shown above.

Makes a plate about 8x10 inches and 1/2 inch deep

1 Pack Dr
Oetker Gelatin (contains 6 sachets)
1 pint water at room temperature

plasticine or clay
Plexi-glass sheet or reinforced glass (not picture frame glass, far too fragile)

Newspaper torn into strips

Put water in pan and slowly add all 6 sachets one by one and stirring slowly with wooden spoon.  I mean slowly! When you have added all the gelatin powder heat slowly and stir constantly to dissolve the gelatin and then leave to cool down a little.

Whilst that is cooling make a dam with the
plasticine or clay on your plexi-glass. I previously used a tin tray but this is much better and you can make any size and shape you want. Just make sure it is pressed down onto the support and there are no areas that will leak.

Pour the gelatin slowly into the mould you have created and skim the surface with strips of newspaper to get rid of any scum and bubbles on the surface.

Leave for about an hour and a half in a cool place to set. ( I left it in the studio - it really does not need a fridge) Until it feels firm to touch.

Use sharp knife to cut right down onto the plexi-glass or glass and carefully remove the plasticine dam.

(This beats the previous recipe where you had do all kinds of stuff and then leave it in the fridge for 12 hours)

And the plate is ready to use...