Gelli Plate Printing
Mixed-media Monoprinting Without a Press
Published by North Light Books
Joan Bess is the creator of Gelli Plates and this book brings together many different techniques and approaches to using your Gelli Plate that many readers will find an invaluable companion to their printing tool.
Simply structured into two parts, Getting Started with Gelli and Gelli Techniques, this book launches straight into all you need to know. The housekeeping dos and don’ts are dealt with quickly and efficiently and then the fun begins. The book takes you through technique after technique with subtle variations, use of different substrates and paints, and pretty much covers all bases. Each technique builds on the previous one, and so you start with basic printing, moving onto adding or taking away paint from the Gelli before printing to create patterns and textures. You see how masks, stencils, stamps, natural objects and embossing plates can be used, and how pattern is introduced Texture in many forms is explored, different painting approaches are listed and the use of other elements, such as die-cut shapes, moldable foam or packing tape are all introduced in an effort to cover all bases.
And for a book on Gelli printing, it does this exactly. I cannot think of anything that could have been left out, or a technique that I wished had been included, as it all seems to be in there. Once you have your print, it looks at further ways of making it more interesting. Overdyeing, using the back of a print, using digital manipulation to enrich a print, all of these are also covered. And variations for each technique are given at the end of each illustrated instruction, so you are looking at multiple different prints with endless possibilities before you.
The book ends with a gallery of mixed-media artists who have created their own Gelli prints and talk us through their process of doing so. All these prints are wildly different and show the artists’ personal style off well. Artists such as Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Lesley Riley, Dina Wakley and Alisa Burke all contribute here and it is fascinating to hear how their complex prints were created.
For those readers who have been inspired by our Gelli Plate articles, this is a good book to have nearby. All the techniques that are included have easy to follow instructions and are likely to cause an inordinate amount of time trying out new skills.