Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rayna was Right

We are trying to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation (school starts this coming wednesday) so Caroline and I decided to have an art/play day. We broke out Rayna Gillman's book and went to work making gelatin prints. The picture above shows the pieces we made laid out on the patio table to dry.

Yep, this is the very technique that sounded too bizarre and icky to me to want to try, until I read Rayna's book. And it really did seem like the very tactile sort of art that Caroline loves. So last night I mixed up two pans of gelatin per Rayna's instructions (which took all of two minutes), and this morning we were good to go.

What fun this was! The picture above shows my very first print, with the fabric laying on the gelatin after I'd laid it on the painted and textured slab of gelatin. The front side came out darker but I really love the back side. I used a baby's bath cup and the lid from a can of shaving gel to make the texture.

Caroline did this rainbow one, blending colors and texturing with a flower-shaped hairclip and a plastic fork. I just love this one.

As Rayna explained would happen, the gelatin started developing cracks and softening (because of the heat, maybe -- it's HOT HOT HOT here today) but that just added to the texture. This print resulted after I rolled on black paint, stamped all over with a finger-print textured rubber stamp, pulled a print, then stamped the stamp AGAIN onto the gelatin.

And as we were tearing fabric squares, I had lots of thread ends that I dragged through green and yellow paint and then laid on the gelatin which had been painted with dark blue paint. I really got into these thread-mess prints and made a bunch of them. (Hint: do not try to roller paint on tOP of the thread -- as that leads to getting thread wound all around your brayer.)

It was pretty fascinating to work with the gelatin, I have to admit, and not as weird as I thought it would be. It was quite firm, but soft enough to take pressure in an interesting way. I was surprised at how easy it was to wipe it down with a damp paper towel to change colors, too. At the end of the process, Caroline gathered up her gelatin hunks and went outside to fling them on the driveway (I'm guessing that's what Rayna has her students do after her workshops, don't you think?) to watch them explode and then dissolve when it was all hosed down.

So, a good time was had by all and now I've got some very fun fabric to play with.

Thanks, Rayna!


  1. That looks like so much fun - I've got to try it!

  2. interesting technique. Its tempting...

  3. oooh - what a carload of beautiful fabric! I don't want to say "I told you so" LOL but I'm so happy you had fun with it. I especially love the blue fabric - - it is so cool! BTW - if something is too dark for your taste, wait till it dries and rinse it out. The extra paint will go away and you'll be left with a softer look.

    OK Diane - now the challenge: DO something with these and send me pix!

  4. I've been wanting to make gelatin prints -- I even have a book (tho not Rayna's). If my house wasn't in such disarray right now, I'd whip up a tray full. Your play day is very inspiring!