Since my move to the Cariboo in November, I’ve been busy getting my studio set up for printmaking. Moving to a small town meant not only leaving the city, but as a printmaker it meant leaving co-op printmaking facilities/studios. We are living in the Cariboo for 2 years due to a job opportunity in broadcasting for my partner John, so I knew when we moved here that I would have to find a way to start printing at my own home studio. I initially invested in a gocco press, an all in-one home printing system invented 1977 by Noboru Hayama in Japan. This system was created so that screenprinting could be done virtually anywhere. It uses flash bulbs (similar to those found in old cameras) that thermally imprint a carbon-based image/stencil on a master screen. The stencil is then peeled away and reveals open areas in the screen. The Gocco printing method’s use of the screen and the application of ink to paper combine printing processes from both serigraph and stamping; the ink is pressed through the screen evenly with a soft block on top of the ink, instead of being flooded across the screen then pushed through with a squeegee, like traditional serigraph prints. Here are my first two gocco prints: a black and white pair of dog paws and a four color print of a majestic elk with six red cardinals on his antlers. The problem with gocco is that, similar to polaroid, it is a dead technology. So supplies are dated and becoming increasingly expensive. Moreover, it is a wasteful process: each screen requires two bulbs that are one-use-only, and the screens are imbedded into the stretcher, rendering none of it recyclable. So, because I’m not made of money and nature’s my friend, I searched out a solution to replace this expensive and garbage producing process. I found one and with the help of my ever-supportive and generous parents, I purchased it: a thermofax machine for screen making! Previously, I wrote a blog post about how the thermofax makes screens if you are curious. Essentially, I can gocco print up a storm without racking up a bill and a bunch of garbage at the same time! What a win. So where does all of this pre-amble lead you? Well since my 2 month recovery from tendinitis I finally completed my first screenprint edition that combines the thermofax screen-making process and the gocco printing process. It not only feels so good to print again but I have finally put a good dent in my delicious pile of moleskine journals.This print was created in loving memory of my entry to the sketchbook project 2011 by Arthouse Co-op in Brooklyn, NY which got lost in the postal system on it’s way to the exhibition (another story for another day). So I wanted to pay homage to it by creating a limited edition, three-color gocco print of one of my favorite pages from that furry sketchbook of mine: a white-tail deer with a filigree heart cradled within his antlers. also, to fulfill a few requests I am posting process and progress photos. The first layer was the background for my image. It is a filigree pattern that initially inspired the piece. I chose to use a gorgeous light blue metallic ink. The image on the right is of the registration plate: a piece of clear plastic clips into my press and allows me to line up (aka register) all of the different color layers exactly where they need to be printed. Once the ink of the first layer was dry, I was able to move onto the second layer: white. The moleskine is placed back into the gocco press, and must be registered to correspond with the second layer. The image on the right is before printing the white, the left is after. Below is a shot of my desk during printing and a closer look at a moleskine with its first 2 layers.Now for the third and final layer: black. Above is the screen held up to light as well as the application of ink to the screen. All set to now gocco print my way to a finished edition! This is the final print and I am so proud of how it turned out! I’m creating a series of printed moleskine journals and will be selling them on my etsy shop when it opens before summer 2011. All of the sketchbooks will feature original hand-drawn images that are hand printed in a limited edition. One of a kind notebooks for your one of a kind thoughts. My first two gocco print editions, at the top of this post, will also be for sale on my etsy.Just so that all of you could see the inspiration: my original filigree deer. R.I.P. to my lost figuring you out Arthouse Co-op sketchbook. I will pour your memory into future projects.
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you…”
I’m beginning with a bit of nostalgia: the first few lines of Mr. Rogers theme song, where he sings about his ideal neighbor: you the viewer! For me my ideal neighbors are wild animals and birds. I am so fortunate to live in another small town where, like Invermere, the animals and ecosystem aren’t completely over-run and manipulated by human activity… it’s one of the reasons why its so refreshing to be to be away from ‘the big city’.
My first furry encounter since moving to a new town, happened a couple months ago. Since then, I have seen quite a few deer around. Yesterday, one actually came prancing past me so quick, that I hardly had time to get my camera out and shoot (the photo at the very top is the result). Also, on my walks it’s been impossible not to notice the many deer tracks left behind in the soft spring ground. It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.
For an extra hit of nostalgia here’s the official Mr. Rogers introduction song. This children’s show was a classic PBS gem and an undeniable staple of my childhood.