n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.
In my efforts to create “perfect” Gelli Plate prints (no such thing, actually), I’d accumulated many, many duds. Or perhaps I should say they did not turn out quite as expected, but I still kept them for the record, and also because they were actually quite beautiful in their own way.
When I first started out on my Gelli Plate adventures, a couple of months ago, I was meticulous in washing my brayer, brushes, stamps, stencils and the Gelli Plate itself after every change of colour. This meant a lot of time was spent at the sink washing and drying. Handy that my so-called “Studio” is in the kitchen-dining room itself. (My other “Studio” is in the
junk spare room, which is currently occupied by a brooding box of baby Japanese Quails).
Nowadays, I don’t clean my tools and implements quite so often. Instead, I employ a technique I’ve seen many Gelli artists use, of “inking off” or “rolling off” i.e the act of removing excess paint from the brayer/dabber/stamp/stencil/Gelli Plate etc by rolling/dabbing/stamping onto another substrate. Some use copy paper or newspaper, which they then throw away. Others use art journal pages, to keep as a record of what colours they’ve used.
I use the same paper as the one I’m printing on. I lay out a sheet to be printed on, onto my work surface, and I also at the same time lay several other sheets of the same quality and size, somewhere close by, to receive the “inking off” or “rolling off”. It keeps the brayer clean by pulling off excess paint, so I can then load up a different colour without getting mud. It cuts down on the time I spend washing things at the kitchen sink, and gives me more time to spend on printing.
After several practice sessions with Gelli Plate printing, it dawned on me that I sometimes liked the results of the “inked off” sheets better than my actual planned prints.
Hmmm…I may be onto something here.
Recently I’ve started to turn my Gelli Plate monoprints into handmade mini Art Journals. You can read about that here. When I found myself short of a page or two, I used one of my “inked off” sheets, and found to my surprise that the results were very, very interesting and exciting.
So, as Serendipity would have it, I now find myself Gelli printing more and more papers, and at the same time having fun “inking off” more papers. I “ink off” both sides of my paper, because I know they’ll be used to make more mini Art Journals, so both sides have to be painted. I’ve also stopped overthinking my designs and I don’t even plan what stencils I’m using next, or where I’m placing them, or even if they’re crooked. I just “go for it”!
I’ve always been fascinated by handmade books, and in the past I’ve dabbled in bookbinding, so making up these mini Art Journals marries my love for 3 things now – Gelli Plate printing, mixed media and bookbinding.
Oh, and add to that Serendipity (I just love happy accidents and randomness) and I’m a very happy bunny! :-)
Here are some of my Serendipity prints: