Thursday, July 30, 2009

imprinting--I'm printing

When DeAnn Singh came for a calligraphy workshop a few weeks ago, we did leaf printing with Speedball water soluble block printing ink. We had so much fun, and everyone's projects were spectacular. In fact, this is nearly a no-fail activity for all ages and stages. Here are some of the tips I learned:
  • Less is more concerning paint. I liked the images better when they were skeleton-y.
  • Use a tweezer to carefully remove the leaves. The paint was a bit sticky and many of the the leaves were very thin and papery.
  • It takes a long time to dry, so if you want to overprint, let it sit for several hours or overnight--even in the dry Utah desert.
  • It works better on a padded surface. I used 4-5 layers of paper towels.
  • If you goof (you wouldn't know that the above print was a goof, would you?), since the paint is soluble, you can spritz it with water and let it bleed on purpose. Also, (note above) that I spritzed too much water and it got runny, so I dabbed it with a patterned paper towel and VOILA! No fail.
I also tried it on various surfaces, and I liked the results on colored and textured prints.You can see I was enamored by the sweet potato vines.
Next, I made a gelatin base for monoprinting. This was my first adventure with that technique. I'm not sure I captured anything more than some basic trial and error beginner's stuff, but here are some of the results.
The top one was the very first monoprint, with the leaves covering the top. The second photo was the one lifted off immediately after the top one. Same image, two prints.

The one above is one of my favorites. It's a grape leaf.
Then we have an old kid's type rubber stamp-foamy with the negative/positive monoprint.
The good thing I've learned from many associates is that even if the entire piece of paper isn't usable, there's always a section that can be cut or "windowed", so I can have fun with these. They're probably 9x12, so you get a sense of a big stamp.

This leaf is a 4 inch long viburnum, which is leathery and hairy, as well as having strong veins.
When I printed the leaves, I always made a "leaf sandwich" so I got both sides of the leaf at the same time. On the gelatin monoprint, I lifted the print from the leaf, then brayered gold ink onto the leaf and imprinted it onto the gelatin, then pulled it off with the paper. By then the gelatin was getting a bit ragged. The good news is that I only used one side of the gelatin block, so today I can try new things on the other side of it.
So, I'll "LEAVE" you with a few more images. Try it on your own or with your kids.
Here on the orange one, I used a children's rolling pin with many sizes of rubber bands tied around it. I'll have fun with that one.
This last one was a grape leaf print on an envelope, with a gelatin textured print behind it, using a mesh-like fabric. If you want to make gelatin molds for monoprinting, use 2 envelopes of Knox with each cup of water. My pan held 4 cups, so I used 8 envelopes of gelatin. It set up pretty fast--a few hours. I think I'll try different paint today. The water soluble works well because it washes right off of the gelatin. We'll see. Stay tuned.


kasscho said...

Marie -Your Leaf Prints Are Absolutely Incredible - I'd buy one.

Baodad said...

Neat stuff, Mom!