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A Beautiful Mess

Above, left and right: our printed papers and fabrics Above, center: a sketchbook page that I printed over

Last week, I went over to my friend Maria's studio. I sort of invited myself--I knew that she had been feeling a little stuck recently, and I thought it would be fun to work on a project together. I had recently bought large and small Gelli plates (thanks to my friends' generosity in birthday gift certificates to the local art store) and found them really fun and intuitive to use. So, I packed up the acrylic paints and Gelli plates, and headed to her place, about 40 minutes away. I brought along some plain paper to print on, and Maria had lots of fabric that we could use as well. Once we got set up, which was as easy as setting the plates and paints, brayers and paper towels out on a table, we printed away. Basically, you take the paint, put a squirt of however many colors you'd like on the plate, push it around with the brayer, and then put a piece of paper or fabric on top of it to print the design. It creates monoprints, or one unique print from each paint-y creation. The plate's surface is rubbery, so it picks up textures really easily. We put lace and rough fabric on the plates and it created very satisfying patterns. As much fun as the printing was, I realized how much I had missed the camaraderie of working with another artist on a hands-on project. The icing on the cake was that Maria invited me for lunch. Her husband made us a cauliflower crust pizza and corn on the cob, fresh from the farm. It was a special day. Maria and Jon made me feel welcomed and cared for, and I feel so grateful to call them friends. As a bonus, I left with a pile of beautiful papers that will soon be finding their homes in collages.

You can watch a video of us printing and talking to Jon here.

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