Surface Design.

I really do enjoy surface design work and having read somewhere that gelli plates are not supposed to work very successfully with MX dyes so, of course, I had to have a go to find out just why not. Well it turns out that thickened dyes do work with gelli plates although it is impossible to get a sharp crisp image if that is what you are looking for as the dye separates on the plate and creates a sort of blobby textured background. The other thing that is almost impossible to achieve is a ghost print. However for one-off textures I think it works pretty well. All  the prints were made with a 6″ x 6″ gelli plate as I didn’t want to risk ruining my larger one, just in case. You should be able to see the marks more clearly by clicking on the image and then clicking again for a real close up.

Printed onto plain white cotton.


Printed onto previously dyed and printed silk/cotton mix


Printed onto a dyed and printed cotton.


Printed onto a piece of cotton that had been dyed and then used as practice for mark making.



All this printing activity motivated me to get back into some dyeing again so I did some small samples of fabric manipulation. I really should be one of those organised people who make a note of the colours they use as some of these are worth trying out on larger pieces.

Heavy habotai silk. Love that purple and lime green together!

heavy-habotai-silkSilk/cotton mix.



Silk organza


Silk Noil




Cotton Broadcloth. Love the way that the lettering seems to be embossed.


The result of all this  is  plenty of ideas to play around with. Not sure how much time I’ll have for that over the next few weeks though as I’m starting Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class tomorrow and if it’s anything like the Abstraction class, it will be pretty intense but highly rewarding.  At least I will have things to post about!


Thanks for dropping by. Have a good creative week.







  1. Well, your fabrics are fabulous. Wish you would come and play with me! You are giving me so much inspiration! AND, I’m so glad that you tried out the Gelli Print Plate with dye…..I seriously thought that the dye would ruin the plate. Your pieces are really super!

  2. Beautiful dyed fabrics, Maggi. I must do something with the fabrics I dyed at a workshop last year – I have several metres to work with.

  3. Lots of lovely inspiration here Maggi…..I especially like the close-ups; those little pattern details are fab!

  4. I love it when you do all the printing and dying I often think I should be doing. Saves me hours. 😉

  5. Some gorgeous samples there Maggi, my mouth is watering!

  6. I love the fabric you did. looking forward to the summer time so I can play with dye again.

  7. Lovely soft monoprinting, good to experiment – do you stiffen your fabric for printing? I find mine flops in a heap onto the plate or maybe there’s a skill to holding it properly & laying it down for a clear print! Your beautiful collection of hand dyes makes me desperate for a course, I’m going to look around – to own all that & say ‘I did it’ what an achievement, even if you’ve been doing it a while 😉

  8. Robin McWhinney says:

    How lovely to see wo much success after the disasters in your previous post! I love all the colours you have come up with, both using the gelli plates and the dyeing. I don’t do much dyeing, but I never remember to make notes either. Cheers.

  9. The fabric is stunning – so many lovely colours, colour combinations and patterns. And silk too…just perfect. :o)

  10. Fabulous fabrics, Maggi! Truly awesome. Yes, it does make one want to take up dyeing again. But I likely won’t — it’s too much work for me these days, too much physical labor. Although I have again looked at that bucket of stitched and wrapped fabrics…

  11. Wow Maggi, you are working well. Lots of lovely pieces for you to embellish at a later date. Love the bright orange fabric.

  12. some lovely pieces – I really like the lime and purple, too. Enjoy your new workshop – looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  13. Penny Leonard says:

    Fabulous colours Maggi. I’m glad I’m not the only one who forgets to write it down!

  14. jan2bratt says:

    I love your results. I haven’t used my gelli plate on fabric yet but perhaps you have inspired me. I especially love the dye work you have done on the silk noil. Very inspirational pieces there, maybe they will work into your new class?

  15. Looking forward to seeing your work in the Series class. What a great opportunity!

  16. I always think too late to keep notes on how I did things. It’s lovely to see you dyeing again. Have fun with your new course

  17. Maggie this sounds like you had fun and came up with some great results. I bought a gelli pad and layed with it a bit but had to leave it when we came south. Can’t wait to play again.
    I only did paper butwill try small fabric pieces next.


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