Today I am going to describe how I print my fabrics. I use a gelatin plate. Right now I am using a commercially purchased plate as it is durable and easy to clean. I have a few different sizes. I use the 8”x11” and the circular plate the most often.
The first step is to gather things to press into the plate to leave an impression. I walk in the Fells near my house almost daily so most of my printing material comes from there. I also have a stash of bubble wrap and various food packaging items I use as well as a variety of combs. A stack of scrap paper to test images and aid in clean up is helpful. (Those papers are good for collage.)
I either use fat quarters or cut down fabric to use for printing. I put a stack of fabric near the printing table. Then I am ready to begin. First I squeeze a dollop of paint onto my plate. I spread it out with my brayer. (I have been experimenting with adding fabric medium.) Next I arrange the leaves or whatever I am printing on the plate. I pull two prints. The first one is a negative image with the leaves dropped out. For second print I remove the leaves and print the impressions they left on the plate. This is the basic process.
I continue to print on my fabrics, layering the impressions. I try not to make them too pretty or too much like a print. I don’t want the thinking and creating to stop at the printing process. Usually, it takes me a few sessions to create a pile of fabrics. Sometimes I print into a piece even after I have started cutting. This process grew out of collage making. I use the leftover bits to make other pieces on paper. My aim is to make the quilting process as spontaneous as possible.