Thursday, July 30

Print Gocco: Wedding Shirts

There is also available a supplementary kit to go with the Print Gocco, and it is a hand-press that uses the Gocco stencils. It is exactly what you might design if you thought about turning an inked-up stencil into a highly mobile printing stamp. The cleverest thing about it are the curved arms you see on the sides. They were not intuitive when I unpackaged this thing but I assembled them faithfully and their use was immediately apparent: they let you rest the hand-press on the table without stamping where you don't want it.

The kit comes with special fabric ink, mind you, so you've got to be careful when using this stuff: it's designed not to wash out. I got the slightest of daubs on a new Calvin Klein shirt, which was instantly transformed into a smock/work shirt.

I printed up these shirts--my wife procured a large amount of black and royal blue T-shirts--for our wedding. They went in a package of gifts to our wedding party, and then were distributed to friends and family with liberal abandon. The image is of my wife and I hurling large dice at each other. Not only did this tie into the game-theme of our wedding/reception, but the faces of the dice contain the date of our marriage: 4/5, or the 5th of April.

Constructing the image for this shirt was a lot of fun. We have large dice-shaped candles so I got a couple close-up shots of them from certain angles. Next I set the camera on a tripod and posed as per my vision for the image, then directed my wife similarly. After that it was all Photoshop: I arranged the cropped images of us relatively near each other, enlarged the dice appropriately and turned them about until it looked much like we were holding them. Then I traced over the whole deal, trying to be mindful of "negative space" (a trick one picks up with linocuts) and printed this last out for my stencil.

I examined a few of my own shirts to find out where most images were positioned--I wouldn't want to start stamping blindly, only to have the first wearer bear us on their collarbones or stomach. It seems that most small images are positioned directly between the bottom seam of the armpits on a shirt, when lain flat. I set up a work table in the basement, cleared off some industrial shelving (each bar of which could allow a shirt to dry), and printed out shirts like a mad bastard. I discovered that much of my detail work from the stencil was lost, so if I print shirts again I certainly won't sweat any details. Gross images and big pictures are the order of that day.

What does this have to do with postal-related topics? Well, it's printing, so you could make a stencil of your own address and stamp it to a package in brown paper or covered in cloth, if you wanted to risk wrapping a package in cloth.

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