Monday, November 24, 2014

Gelli printing guest post #2 Juna Biagioni

Hi beautiful readers, 

I'm so excited to treat you to another guest post on gelli printing and it has lots of pictures!  Juna Biagioni makes beautiful art.  Check out her post.

My name is Juna Biagioni, I’m 42 years old, a mixed media artist & explorer, and I live with my husband in the beautiful heart of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

On my website you can find my blog about my art journey, and my shop with mixed media originals and prints. I’ve recently started a YouTube channel with my mixed media videos and am currently developing a gelli printing e-course. If you’re interested in any of these topics, you can find more information on my website. 

1. How did you get started with gelli printing and what did you use to do before you got into those?

I first learned about gelli printing (and monoprinting in general) last spring and was immediately hooked when I saw all the beautiful and fun things you can do with this technique. I have always loved being creative: as a little girl I loved to make music, draw and write stories, and in my early twenties I worked as a graphic designer. Later my focus shifted, but a few years ago I rediscovered my creative source and started a new exciting journey into art. First I worked with polymer clay and about a year and a half ago I dove into mixed media. And that’s still what I love doing today, including gelli printing.

2. Was it hard to learn how to make the prints? What is a good beginner's guide, if any?

No, the fun thing with gelli printing is that it isn’t hard at all to make prints! The possibilities are endless. It’s just a matter of trying out all the things that you can do with it, having a lot of fun, and finding out what you like best. I watched lots and lots of videos on YouTube and I can also recommend the book Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess.

3. How have your prints evolved?

Color! I am using more and more color in my prints and I love it! I am also lately using the gelli plate to create intricate backgrounds that I then use as a starting point for mixed media paintings.

4. What tools do you use to make a variety of prints?

I try not to pull out too many tools at the time, just to help me focus and not get lost in all the possibilities that the gelli plate offers. I use various stencils and masks (many of which I make myself), a few texture plates, and my favorite stamp that I made out of a plastic placemat. I also use household items such as bubble wrap and packaging materials. I find that the simplest tools and materials often create the most interesting and original effects.

5. How do you use the prints? What do you suggest to beginners, as far as using the prints in other media?

I often add extra layers to my prints, using media such as markers, oil paint and inks. My prints are either artworks on their own, or a background for mixed media paintings. I haven’t yet used my prints to create other products such as journals, but I might explore those possibilities in the future as well. 

6. Tips and tricks in general. Anything special to know about gelli plates? Anything you wished you had known when you started?

An important thing that I’ve learned is that I usually have to make a pile of just ‘nice’, mediocre or even plain ugly prints in order to get one that I really, really like. I first found this frustrating, I thought that each and every print I pulled had to be ‘good’ otherwise it would be a waste of paper and paint, but now I know that this is just the way it works for me. When I start gelli printing I make sure I have lots of work space to lay down all the prints I am making, and at the end of the printing
session I’ll just pick out a few prints that really stand out to me, the ones that I want to use to work on further. And the rest? The rest just forms a growing pile of new… ‘possibilities’! ;-)

7.  What kind of paper do you use for your prints?

I use Bristol paper, 250 gsm. It's a very smooth paper.  It depends on what kind of effect you are looking for. I like the smooth paper because it shows many details. 
But many other artists like watercolor paper too. That usually has some texture of its own, which can be nice for prints as well. Just a matter of preference and trying what works best.

I love Juna's art.  It has a mystical quality and so many layers.  Make sure to check out her website.
Thank you, Juna, for taking part in this series.  :)

I sent out a newsletter last week with more links about gelli printing.  There is a YouTube link for making your own very inexpensive gelli plate.  The link to the newsletter is on my Facebook page.   Scroll down to the third post from the top. 
More guest posts coming soon.  Have you tried Gelli printing yet? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gelli printing series #1 guest post by Tami Sturm Howse

Hi all, I have been slacking here, but I got this great idea to do a series of guest posts with artists who are great at Gelli printing. This new-ish technique has taken the mixed media art world by storm. If you don't know what gelatin printing is, check out this link.  There are many tutorials on YouTube as well, for beginners and experts.  Gelli plates can be purchased on Amazon and other art supply online shops.  You can also make your own plate.  There are many tutorials on how to make one on YouTube.

Let me introduce mixed media artist Tami Sturm Howse.  I met her on the Gelatin Printing Enthusiasts on Facebook.  I asked her a few questions and this is her guest post.  Also, please check out her blog and etsy shop for more pictures.  Links are at the end of the post.

1. How did you get started with Gelli printing and what did you use to do before you got into those?

“Tami, this looks like a craft store exploded”, said a friend when she saw my craft room.

I started out as a scrapbooker years ago, but realized that nobody in my family ever really looked at my scrapbooks. I then became interested in mixed media. I loved that I could use all of my “stuff”, which was becoming quite plentiful.

Being a true crafter, when I first saw the Gelli Plate, I wanted it, whether I needed it or not. However, I wasn’t willing to spend the money until I knew I’d like it. So, I went online and found a way to make my own. After I played with the homemade one, I decided I didn’t want to have to run to the refrigerator every time I wanted to use it (I wasn’t aware of the “permanent” homemade version yet). So I bought the 8x10 plate.

2.  Was it hard to learn how to make the prints?  What is a good beginner's guide, if any?  It wasn’t hard at all to learn. I watched several YouTube videos (Carolyn Dube was a favorite) and just got started. The cool thing about Gelli printing is that if you don’t like the print, you can just paint over it. For the beginner, I would say that if you make a print that you absolutely love, don’t change it. Also, ALWAYS scan your prints if you have a scanner. That way, you can digitally immortalize them, and you don’t have to be timid about cutting them up and using them.

3.  How have the prints evolved?  Since I’m a mixed media nut, I’ve been incorporating my stencil designs, hand-carved stamp images, embossing, molding paste, and hand-painting. I love that they can be changed up.

4.  What tools do you use to make a variety of prints?  Bottoms of shoes and flip flops. I once saw the bottom of my adult daughter’s shoes and exclaimed, “Don’t throw those out when you’re done with them. I want to use the pattern on the bottom.” She rolled her eyes. I also love to use bubble wrap (of course), stamps, my stencil masks, leaves, the bottoms of fruit trays (don’t blame me if you start eyeing them up in the produce section), and on and on. I’m always seeing texture tools throughout my house.

5.  How do you use the prints?  What do you suggest to beginners (as far as using the prints in other media?)  I love using the prints as a collage base for my mixed media canvases. They’re great to use on journals, candles (see my blog), cards, envelopes, and decoupage (think “funky”). Anywhere you use paper, you can use your Gelli prints. Sometimes I like to use a “theme” of color, depending on the project I’m doing. I’ve been known to decoupage onto furniture, cigar boxes, old cabinet doors as a base for an assemblage piece, and my husband.

Well, I’m joking about the husband, but I think sometimes he’s afraid if he stands still, he’ll be “Gellied”.

6.  Tips and tricks in general.  Anything special to know about Gelli plates?  Anything you wished you had known when you started? Make sure to store your Gelli Plate in a climate controlled environment e.g. NOT in a hot car and NOT in a freezer. Also, don’t use a glossy paper on the plate (like photo paper or glossy magazine pages) Other than that, they’re pretty sturdy little buggers. When looking through magazines, keep your eye out for images that you can cut out to use as masks, which can be really fun. When using texture tools, make sure you’re not using anything sharp, or you’ll have a permanent “texture dent” or “texture rip” on the rest of your prints. Remember that often “mistakes” are just new techniques. At least that’s what I always say.

And, if you’re anything like me, your crafting area is a disaster. All. The. Time. So, when you sit down to do Gelli printing, make sure you’ve cleared enough space for drying prints, or else you will end up having to use all of your bathrooms and your bedroom floor, which I’ve never done.

If you’re interested in some of my original stencil and mask designs, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop at

And, if you’d like to see some Gelli techniques as well as my other craft adventures, please visit

Thanks for reading! Fondly, Tami

I LOVE what she has made with the Gelli prints!  I wish these give you some inspiration to expand your own prints.  There is no end to the versatility of the Gelli printing plate.  Thank you, Tami. :)