31 July 2008

Rayna and the Gelatin Printing adventure

Our shop hosted a workshop by Rayna Gillman on Thursday and I decided to play and take the class as well. Although I've done a lot of printmaking techniques over the years, I've never done gelatin plate printing. What fun!

Rayna demonstrated a few things and gave us a bunch of pointers and then set us lose. She provided enough instruction to make you feel comfortable and then encouraged you to try and experiment on your own. This really ensures that everyone makes fabric unique to themselves and you don't end up with a classroom's worth of Rayna-lookalike fabric. In my opinion this is the hallmark of a good teacher.

I decided to experiment with visual texture in monotones and low color contrasts (quel surprise!)

I used leaves from the gardens around the shop, stamps I had made and a multitude of found objects for adding and removing paint from the plates. Yeah, I need to do more of this.

Later Rayna showed us some of her "going back in" techniques of paintstik rubbings, writing and mark-making with paint in a syringe and a few other tips and tricks to bring cohesiveness to a piece of art cloth.

Vivien sat behind me in class and we had a great time comparing and contrasting our work areas and processes. In fact, we were having such a great time I made her laugh so hard she snorted. She's pretty genteel, so it really cracked both of us up. It was a good day and I would recommend a workshop with Rayna (or the purchase of her book, or both) - I know I'm going to keep experimenting with gelatin plate printing on my own as soon as I have time.

Sometimes as an artist it's easy to fall into a rut, working the way you've always worked, because it works for you. Trying something new can really shake things up and give you new directions to explore in your art. I think we can all benefit from exposure to new methods and a general shaking out of the dust from our ways of thinking and doing on occasion.


Gerrie said...

Beautiful prints. Isn't it fun hanging and playing with Rayna?

Rayna said...

LOL - it's fun hanging around and playing with Gerrie and Jane, too.
Imagine if we were all together in one classroom!

I brought my gelatin plate home and it is in the fridge with the rest of the food.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll get to play...

Vivien Zepf said...

Oh Jane, your fabrics are beautiful! I can't wait to see how you use them.

Rayna's class was great fun and it was made all the better having you to chortle with.

Anonymous said...

This looks like so much fun. I'll try this out someday.


Françoise said...

Your prints look terrific! I made a real mess when I tried this technique a few months ago...