Friday, June 10, 2016

Monoprinting with Gelli Plates

Last month, 3rd grade artists explored monoprinting using Gelli plates. We learned that in monoprinting, you make a one of a kind print, unlike other forms of printmaking, where you can print the same image multiple times. We explored a few different monoprinting techniques, focusing on one technique per class.
On the first class, we learned about the subtractive method of monoprinting. Students connected this technique to subtraction in math, which means to take away. Students watched a demonstration before trying it themselves. First, we rolled acrylic paint on top of the Gelli plate in an even layer with a brayer. Using q-tips, we removed, or subtracted, some of the paint from the plate before placing a piece of paper on top and pulling the print. We used q-tips because we cannot use anything sharp on the Gelli plates, as they are made of a gelatin-like material.
Students experimented with different lines, shapes and symbols. We also noticed that everything we drew onto the plate came out backwards on the paper. The Gelli plates made monoprinting pretty easy! After each print, we used the brayers to roll more paint on top of the plate and start again. Each student made 3 subtractive monoprints, sharing a Gelli plate and brayer with a partner. At the end of class, one student washed the brayer and the other partner cleaned the Gelli plate. The Gelli plates are easy to clean with a little hand sanitizer and paper towel.
The following class, we learned about and experimented with the additive method of monoprinting. The opposite of the subtractive technique, we added the paint directly on top of the Gelli plate. Students used paintbrushes to paint lines, shapes and designs on top of the plate before placing a piece of paper on top and pulling the print. We used scrap newsprint paper to remove any remaining paint between prints. Each student made 3 additive monoprints and shared the clean up responsibilities at the end of class.
The third technique we learned about was masking. Masking is when you cover up part of the plate with a material so that it masks that area. We used paper shapes to cover up parts of the Gelli plate. 
We also experimented with layering as our fourth and final technique, printing on top of existing prints. For this technique, we also had to register, or line up our prints, with the one already on the paper. This was challenging, but we noticed that layering our prints together created some very interesting effects and new color combinations.
After all of our monoprinting explorations, we looked at our prints and selected our two favorites to sign and title, and we also shared them via a gallery walk.  
Students noticed that layering created new colors, that there were sometimes similar ideas among students that were not even sitting near each other, and that everyone came up with very creative names that added a lot to our understanding of the print. Below are some examples of our monoprints:
Joey, 3rd grade (Donato)
Versailles, 3rd grade (Fletcher)
Andrew P., 3rd grade (Donato)
Ava, 3rd grade (Donato)
Emma, 3rd grade (Fletcher)

Gustavo, 3rd grade (Fletcher)
Ronin, 3rd grade (Lutz)
Max, 3rd grade (Fletcher)
Bella, 3rd grade (Donato)
Cammy, 3rd grade (Stone)

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