Monday, August 18, 2008

Gocco Go

Susan once more:

In Traci Bunkers' Gocco à Gogo: Basics and Beyond we printed up a blizzard of papers. Traci gave great instructions and we all were flashing (actually, the bulbs were) and making our screens by lunch time. I brought more bulbs and screens (2 bulbs per screen) so I was able to make extra screens. The problem with the extra screens was that I had to use part of my lunch hour to prep them with tape.

The Gocco machine makes very easy work of printing multiple copies of your image (ideal for a zine or for cards) but I had a hard time cleaning up the screens. In fact, I whined to Traci about that. I'm a good whiner, especially when it comes to cleaning up because a good description of how I work is "messy, sloppy, chaotic, disorganized". And those are just the nice words.
When I got home I decided to print more images using the screens like a traditional silkscreen since I don't have the Gocco machine. But it would have to be on my terms: Easy to clean up. The first problem was the paper-based Gocco screens. I had some old plastic screens from Welsh (about 75¢ each) and their double-stick tape, so I just ripped my Gocco screens off their cardboard frames and re-taped them to the Welsh frames.

The second problem was the ink. Gocco ink is oil-based and that made clean up very slow. I tried Golden tube paint but it wasn't exactly right and smudged too much. I was just grabbing any papers I had stacked up and trying to pick colors that would contrast for this experiment. Then I tried a very cheap student-grade Liquitex tube paint, it was very soft and worked just fine.

The good news: Screens clean up in about 30 seconds under running water. Yippee! I used about 5 different screens, just dumped them in a tub of water to stay moist so I could wait to wash them all at once at the end.

The bad news: The screens are slightly smaller than the Gocco screens so my images were cropped more than I had planned. And the acrylic paint does not give as crisp an image as the Gocco ink. I plan to look for both water-based printing ink and screenprinting medium to mix with the acrylics to see how those work.

All in all, I'm very happy to have taken this class as I now have permanent screens of some interesting images and can do a lot of experimenting and printing with them. Every class I've taken from Traci has been very worthwhile - she's a good instructor and full of good ideas. Note: The pictures are of just quick test samples.

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