North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

If you are interested in more info or joining, please email to

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gelatin Plate Printmaking Workshop

Note measurement change below, in red.

Michele O. will be teaching a Gelatin Plate Printmaking workshop for our January 2010 meeting. This is a process that requires no press and uses quick-drying water-based inks. We will use plates made from gelatin and explore design, color, texture, value, and imagery using stencils, direct painting on the gelatin, and transfer techniques. The finished product is considered a monoprint, but it is possible to print a second or even third image. Small gelatin plates will be provided (2.5 by 3.5 inches), but participants are strongly encouraged to make their own larger plate to bring to the workshop. 

Bring the following (two people can share items 1 and 2):
1. At least one tube of Speedball block printing ink, water soluble, in whatever color you would like to use. These can be purchased individually at The Art Center (Eureka/Arcata) or Ellis Engineering Eureka and NORBAG members get a 10% discount).

2. Brayer: soft black rubber sponge roller or soft beige rubber roller (Ellis Engineering, The Art Center, Michaels). No hard black rubber rollers or inexpensive sponge rollers.

3. Surface for rolling ink:  glass plate, small cookie sheet, small plastic chopping mat or plastic placemat.   
4. Surface on which to place gelatin mold: piece of glass, cookie sheet, plastic chopping mat or plastic placemat.  

5. Clean rags or paper towels

6. Spray bottle (for water).

7. Assortment of paper pre-cut of 4 x 5": drawing paper, printmaking paper, old phonebook or book pages, coffee filters…whatever you want to try printing on. Be generous—we’ll probably be making quite a few prints. For those bringing your own gelatin plate from home, which we strongly encourage you to do—you’ll get more out of the workshop that way—you should also bring an assortment of some bigger papers, slightly larger than your plate .

You’ll need these supplies for the accordion sample book:

1. One 5.5 x 22" sheet heavy-weight paper, grain short for accordion book.

2. glue stick
3. bonefolder. 

You are encouraged to 
bring any of the following:
1. Cheesecloth, string, leaves, flowers, feathers, bubble wrap, lace, paper doily, fun foam, and anything else that can withstand getting paint and gelatin on it for purposes of creating images on the printing plates.

2. Small, soft paintbrush suitable for water based paints.

3. Metal or plastic palette knife

You’re also encouraged to make and bring your own gelatin plate. This is easier than you might think. It shouldn’t require too much kitchen prep time. The longest part of the process is spent waiting for the gelatin to solidify. You should do this the night before in order to allow enough time for it to set up properly.

Making a Gelatin Plate:
1. Use a glass or metal pan with a smooth bottom. A Pyrex pan 7 x 5" inches is a good size. You don’t want this to be too large.

2. Place the pan on a level surface and fill with cold water to the depth of ¾ to 1 inch. Pour the water into a measuring cup to determine the amount of water to be used.

3. Determine the amount of gelatin. For each cup of water you measured you will need 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin or 2 TBS of quality bulk gelatin.

4. Pour half the water into the pan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let the gelatin granules swell until the mix looks like applesauce. Gently stir.

5. Boil the rest of the water and add to the gelatin applesauce. Stir gently until the gelatin is dissolved.

6. Gently drag a paper towel or piece of paper across the top of the gelatin to remove bubbles.

7. Leave the gelatin pan on the table until it begins to set. Then move it to the refrigerator, where it should stay until it is solid.

8. Cover and bring to class!

Michele also has a post about making these gelatin plate monoprints, with links to additional resources, at her blog.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Annual Holiday Card Exchange

North Coast Book Arts Guild
Annual Holiday Card Exchange
Handmade Card by Andrea Penn,

This event is a favorite with our book artists. Members sign up to make cards and then make enough cards for everyone who signed up. It is the only exchange where we meet at someone's home and have food! It's a very joyful occasion where we get to appreciate the creativity of a large number of members from all over the United States as well as some of our international members. So, for those who attended this exchange and for those who could not, the following photos may help you enjoy some of the activities.

After collecting one of each set of cards members relaxed in Sandy's living room with its beautiful holiday decorations and listened as each colophon was read. If you have never participated in an exchange this is really one you should consider. 

Two of our members drove all the way from Sacramento with their sets of cards. 
You might notice that no one is eating yet. Food plays second fiddle to books. However, offerings of food were almost as exciting as the cards.

Many of us will never forget this exchange because we were missing a set of cards from a member in Portland. She mailed them FedEx but they had not arrived the morning of the exchange.  When we found out that they had finally arrived and were going to be delivered by a member's husband, the results were an exciting end to this year's exchange.

Thank you Jerome!

And here they are, over thirty handmade casebound books.

For photos and colophons of all of the exchange cards, visit our website!
Happy Holidays to you all!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Our December Meeting

It's time again for our winter gathering. We will not be having a meeting/workshop in our usual space. We'll be meeting at Sandy V.'s house Saturday December 12 at noon. Everyone is invited. It is a finger food potluck, so, if you are able to, please bring a dish to share (dessert, chips, cheese and that sort of thing). Some of our out-of-town members are even planning on joining us! We look forward to meeting you.

This is also when we have our winter card exchange. Thirty people signed up by deadline, and the variety of cards to see is sure to be impressive. It’s always great to be inspired by what our members are doing.

This is our one meeting of the year that is held in a private home and does not involve a workshop. It’s our time to relax, talk shop about books and enjoy the fellowship and card-making creativity of our fellow artisans and book lovers. It will help fortify you for the holidays. We hope you can join us.

Directions to Sandy's house are in the newsletter on page 2, or you can contact Michele O., our helpful president, if you need clarification.