Gelli plate printing - using Vaseline as a resist

I watch the Gelli Plate company's videos on YouTube. They did one recently using Vaseline as a resist. Now, I've used lots of resist techniques before but never Vaseline, so thought it was worth a try.

The plus point for me was the "noise" you get on the print - if you look at the leaf above you'll see that it's got traces of darker paint from the top layer of print, overlying the orangey paint I printed first.  If I had used paper as a resist, I would have got a clean and clear print of a leaf with that underlying colour coming through completely - no noise. I like this!

It might be easier to explain if I post photos of the process.

The equipment: Gelli plate of a size that suits your paper, brayer, paint (I've used Open Acrylics), stencils, Vaseline, sketchbooks, baby wipes, scrap paper to roll your brayer on to get rid of excess paint.

Put a few spots of your chosen colours onto the gelli plate and use the brayer to roller the colour over the surface. Blend the colour as much as you wish. If you want to keep the colours more separate, then roller the brayer on your scrap paper to clean it.

Print the paint onto paper, labels, or your sketchbook.

Leave to dry.

Choose a stencil that you like - it can be anything, and be quite detailed.

Use your finger to gently rub the vaseline into the shapes on the stencil. Take care that the stencil doesn't move and you get a good covering. The vaseline shouldn't be thick.

Use a paper towel to gently wipe the excess Vaseline from the stencil.

Vaseline doesn't dry so you can start the next bit straight away! Roller more colour onto your gelli plate. I've gone darker with my colours so that it makes a good contrast.

Print the plate on top of your stenciled paper, and leave the paint to dry. This is important or the next step won't work properly.

When the paint is dry, use a baby wipe to gently rub the print and remove the excess paint and Vaseline. This bit is great fun as the print comes to life as the colours shine through.

Festival of Quilts - new, the Fine Art Textiles Award

Things have got away with me this year, and I've been uber busy with my mum. Sadly she died a couple of weeks ago, and I've been slow to get in the creative mood. However, if this hadn't have happened I would definitely be giving the above a go! Work has to have been made in the last 2 years, but even so, I don't think I have anything suitable.

The closing date for entries is 3rd May, so if you fancy giving it a go yourself, time to get cracking!!

Festival of Quilts have extended their usual Fine Art Quilts award to cover a more general textile practice, and have renamed the competition the Fine Art Textiles Award. Here's what they say about it:

"We are delighted to announce the launch of the Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award, an international juried exhibition open to both amateur and professional artists using textiles as their medium.  Our ultimate aim is to elevate and support the recognition and profile textile artists receive within the UK and throughout the world.   The new award will replace the former Fine Art Quilt Masters that has been presented annually at Festival of Quilts and will endeavor to break down some of the boundaries that currently exist between the various practices within textile art.

The new award will come with a £5,000 prize value, along with an additional prize of £500 for the most innovative use of textiles. You can see the full details about the award here, along with the application form for entry:

Our plan is to exhibit all finalists at both Festival of Quilts and The Knitting & Stitching Shows, where we will extend the private view activity launched this year. 

To ensure the credibility of the award we are working with a high profile panel of judges who are all experts within their field.  The full panel will be announced within the next two weeks.

The final winner will be selected on site at the Festival of Quilts and will be announced during an awards ceremony on the opening day of the event at the NEC Birmingham on 1st August 2019. 

The closing date for the competition is 3rd May 2019. 

I do hope you will consider entering and also ask that you share this email with any other artists or groups who you think may be interested.

We hope this will be the start of a really special award and exhibition that we can use to really shine a spotlight on the phenomenal practicing today."


OK a little celebration on my part

I know that sometimes the Life Quilt series upsets people. They're are a reflection of how I feel and respond to the things going on around me and are sometimes blistering. They certainly do not fit in the category of nice homely domestic wares and have shocked and yes, disgusted, some people.

Although the series has ended, I would never say never. I'm dealing with my mother's last days of life at the moment, and gosh I'm angry and upset and definitely feel "blistering" again.

I'm sharing my most "popular" (notorious!) quilt today as the views on the page above have just hit over 1/2 million and that's worthy of celebration in my book. That's a lot of people who've read what I thought on that day in waaay back in 2015, so thank you even if you didn't agree and didn't get beyond a first look.

You can read the words here:

I guess this quilt was the highlight of my quilting career - can't see it getting much better! It was exhibited alongside work by Tracey Emin and others and led me to being hugged by Cherie Blair who confessed she had the same slippers!!

" Life 4 has been selected by
Roxane Zand, Sotheby’s, Amy Mechowski, currently Sotheby’s Institute, previously Curator at V&A, Andrew Gwilliams, White Cube, and Len Massey, RCA, to be part of the Spirit of Womanhood Exhibition at the Oxo Tower, South Bank, London in March
If you’d like to see it if you’re in London, the Exhibition will open to the public 20th – 30th March 11.00-18.00 at galleries@OXO, South Bank, London. Other work on show will include pieces by Tracy Emin
The Exhibition Private View is 18.30 on Tuesday 25th March, Opened by Melvin Bragg and Cherie Blair."

Merchant & Mills, The Trapezette (little girl pattern)

I had seen this pattern before but dismissed it as not being very exciting. The cover photo on the pattern doesn't look quite the same as the finished article, but I saw it made up in a local shop, and it is in fact deliciously swishy and swingy, and my granddaughters definitely love a good swish!

I had some left over baby blue cord, and some lovely turquoisy cotton printed with parrots which made a nice lining (the interfacing pattern pieces fit the inside of the bodice. I didn't have enough blue cord and also thought it would be a bit thick doubled up under the arms for a little one).

Like all Merchant and Mills patterns it's printed on white paper which is much more durable than the usual tissue paper. It says a beginner can tackle it and I'd agree! It has 4 pieces - front, back, and 2 interfacing/lining.

The trickiest bit for me was making and turning the rouleau loop which you fasten to the back as the very first thing. It's very small and I had to abandon the cord and go for the lining fabric which was a little easier.

The instructions were very clear, and was easy to line, and was done by sewing all the fabrics wrong sides together, at the neck edges and armhole edges, then turning inside out. Very neat finish. I also followed the instructions carefully for the hem which is circular and there were lots of tips to get it right.

I will definitely make again, though to be honest, my little GD's would prefer a lighter fabric, preferable pink and definitely with unicorns on it. I go in search!!

Photos: finished dress, the rouleau loop and button, pulling the dress to one side to show fullness.