Tuesday, July 28

The Print Gocco

This is another holiday card I tried within the last couple of years. My wife surprised me with an amazing little contraption I'd never heard of--the Print Gocco. It is, essentially, a quick-and-dirty silkscreen press. It comes with a carbon black pen so you can make your own stencils, but really it just needs any really dark shade of black, such as comes out of my laser printer, in fact.

So I found a picture of a pine tree and wiped out the background. I traced over it in Photoshop, creating a layer of green branches, then went over it again and erased the bunches of snow on its boughs. On white paper, this would suggest the image of a lot of white snow on green branches, doing it in that order. Similarly with the hill: I colored in the sky behind it and let the negative space tell its own story.

This was another non-denominational holiday card I could send out to everyone. I was pleased with the result and it was well received in a small Gocco community of enthusiasts. Seeing what they produced, however, made me really want to push the limits of what I was doing and break into entirely new ground.

The disadvantage of the Gocco to linocuts, however, is in reusing a print image. Linocuts are simply scrubbed down and stored indefinitely, while a Print Gocco stencil is nearly impossible to clean and reuse, in my experience. The set comes with a tube of what's supposed to be a cleaner, I guess to help break down the ink, but the frame is a flimsy cardboard that absolutely must not get wet or it falls apart. The easiest thing to do is just make a large print job of whatever you want to print, and resign yourself to never doing that one again (unless you create a new stencil and everything). Also, I don't look forward to the day it's impossible to find any flash bulbs for the device anywhere in the world. Print Gocco supplies are not being produced any longer--we're just using up what's already been made. That's why I'm not as uninhibited in experimenting with the device as I would be if resources were unlimited.

Which is unfortunate, because the Gocco really is a lot of fun.

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