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Sour Dough Starters and Pondering the Creative Process

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

(This is Betty, Burty and Bob - hoping their bubbles will rise above the tape markers tomorrow)

So, I had one of those inspirational moments while I was surfing You tube the other day and I went down a bunny trail of reading about Sough dough.. partly because as a family we are always trying to find ways that are beneficial to helping our bodies stay the best they can be, and partly because I have this attraction, albeit not very long lived usually, of living like those 'good ' ol homesteaders/ homeschool-ey types, who get up at the crack of dawn, grind their own flour and bake their own bread - but not ordinary bread - SOUGH DOUGH.. the health benefits sound huge!

I started with lots of enthusiasm - then I realised that is a bit like owning a dog (some you tubers encourage you to even see it like a pet that needs feeding regularly and even give it a name!) after about 2- 3 days of some exciting activity then a drop in bubbles, I was feeling rather unenthused. It all sounded like too much work and wouldn't it be easier to just a buy an expensive artisan loaf?

Then I stumbled on another sough dough you-tuber (SDYT for short)... and she explained how the process works, how you need patience, and 10 mins a day to do the caring of the starter.. then once its on its way - its a lot simpler. and not so intense - a bit like rearing a puppy, right?.

Ok so here we go.. I have 3 little batches on the go to see how they do.. I am doing everything I am supposed to. I have sacrificed a bit of time at the end of the day to check on the little monsters!..I mean live entities. Wait and see... I think I shall call them Betty, Burty and Bob!

Waiting.... its a process.... we don't like waiting do we?

Having just finished after a day of running a Creative Workshop, I am pulling some ideas togethrr that we bounced around during our process today. We came up with 6 P Words that describe the things necessary in the Creative Process. We agreed - that they also translate into life in general...

P ......

Practice - We will get better at what we do - if we practice regularly

Patience - We need patience with ourselves and the practice as we learn a new process, habit or skill

Perseverance - We may feel like giving up at times - but don't - keep going - You will see results.

Pressure - In todays craft we needed to apply gentle, even, pressure with our rollers and hands.

Paint - We can take time to choose the right colour combinations for the result we want.

Play - Probably the most important element. We need to come at any new task with child - like adventure and play!

My New craft/ hobby I found whilst I was laid up with a flu-like cold thing in the summer. In between naps and doing very little, when I could manage to look at the screen, I found myself investigating Geli Plate printing... fascinating! I already had an interest with doing botanical Eco prints on fabric using the natural dyes found in them by boiling them in a big pot in my garden - ignoring any funny looks from my neighbours!. This new craft of Gel printing had me hooked! Using a gel plate to create mono prints or hectograms (hecto being 100 because you can do hundreds of prints) using leaves as the shape maker... I read that you can buy the plates in art shops, but they tend to be very expensive, so I found some websites that have done all the experimenting and you can make them from household ingredients for a fraction of the cost - and they are reusable.

The Best ingredients list I have found is this - all these you can find on the internet or some things in a pharmacy - however if you ask for number 4 in Boots pharmacy in the UK they will give you funny looks, as it is part of bomb making equipment!.. although in the USA it's completely normal to buy rubbing alcohol for household use.. just a caveat there for British readers!.. Maybe buy on the internet?

(1) 1 Cup gelatin

(2) 3 Cups cold water

(3) 1 1/2 Cups vegetable Glycerine

(4) 1 1/2 Cups Alcohol 70-90%

This is what your gel mix will look like before and after heating.

Collect some leaves and flatten between paper, or just make sure they are all unfurled when you use them.

You will need a roller, some copy paper, paper towels to remove excess paint from roller.

Acrylic paint.

The Gel plate is sturdy, but it is also important to be gentle with it, so do not scratch or nick the surface, as it will be a permanent mark that will come out on every print - I say to people to "treat the Gel plate like your own skin.."

Now, take your paint and blob on a few dabs of colour...

Roller it all over so it is even. Now either get a piece of paper and put directly on to the plate and press gently all over - or use another clean roller.. Remove the paper.. this will be a background to another print. Or you can ink up the plate, place your leaves directly and do the same again with the paper.. and see what you get! It's all about layering up, experimenting.. keep on trying different colours and contrasts, until you are happy with the result.

Watch to see how the the print comes off..

Here are some of my results.

Here are some results from my group workshop today.

This video shows the thrill of when you peel back the paper to see what has been created!

When using the Gel Plates it is said that you treat them like you would your own skin. You don't want to scratch or damage the surface. Cleaning at the end is easy, spray with a little water and wipe off gently with a baby wipe. Store in an airtight container, or wrap in plastic until the next time. If the plate is getting a bit battered and old - simply cut up with a pair of scissors and remelt in the microwave for a few minutes and set in a tray like before.

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