First, I needed a gelatin surface. I rejected pie plates as too small and the sheet pan I wanted to buy from my local restaurant supply as too large (with the early spring, my "drive-in cooler" is way too warm to chill the gelatin) and settled on an old glass 8.5" by 13" dish. This dish can no longer be used for brownies now that it has found its way into the dye studio, but I really don't need those calories (and in a pinch, I can always purchase ready-made brownies).
I poured the gelatin into the glass dish, covered it with plastic wrap and let it refrigerate overnight. I didn't try to skim the bubbles or anything because I planned to use the other side for my prints.
The next morning it was set and and I inverted the dish on top of the plastic wrap so I could use the wrap to put it back into the dish when I was finished for the day. I did find that sometimes I had to help it out of the dish with a plastic fork, but generally it popped out easily -- especially after it had been used once or twice. When it started coming out of the dish in pieces, I just pushed them together and used it anyway, but replaced it soon after that.
|Blobby dyes -- ok, but not what I was after|
The measurements that I used were as follows: for one quart water, two teaspoons of thickener. Then add to that mixture one tablespoon dye powder for each cup of thickener.
I don't have a blender that I can donate to my studio right now (it's still needed for those pestos and certain summer drinks) so I found that if I sprinkle the thickener powder into the water while whisking, I can get a mostly lump-free liquid. Let it hang out in the fridge over night and it's perfect. Just stir it up before measuring it out for the dye.
After it's been used a bit, the gelatin takes on some nice color, but if it's wiped off, the color doesn't seem to transfer to subsequent prints.
After peeling the print off, I removed the resist "stuff," put down another piece of fabric and got some lovely negative prints. I laid the prints in a single layer on thin plastic garbage bags that I had cut open; then I folded them up and let them batch overnight.
Some of the negative prints were less interesting and I put them on a pile to "overprint" later. Below are more "finished" prints.
I plan to do more with this -- I'd like to experiment with warm colors. Also, I want to play around with acrylic paints and inks. But I'm really liking it so far...