A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bird.

I’m holding it together a little better today, so the new prints are finally out ‘n’ about!

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Cardinal.

Both prints are from a new series that I’m pretty excited about titled “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bird.”

Detail of the cardinal.

My goal is to add a new bird to the series each month (the Young Cardinal was supposed to be the January bird, but he flew in a bit late).

Young cardinal and his books.

I was madly jealous of all the artists who planned ahead and had calendars for sale last fall. So at the end of this year, I will have 12 birds and can make my own!

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Puffin.

Each of these prints will be a limited-edition run of only 25-30, and each one has been hand-printed with all of the accompanying dots and dribbles.

Detail of the puffin.

I love the fact that they are each slightly different.

Young puffin and his books.

As you can tell, I like my birds to be of the literary persuasion.

Adventures in Gocco, part 2.

Sorry about the delay…I realized that my small business taxes are due, like, tomorrow and I’ve got a lot of bookkeeping backlog. (Surely this is the least fun part of starting a little crafting business!)

But back to the Gocco Guide — part 1 is right here, in case you missed it. Now where were we? Oh yes, in tears of failure. Sigh.

Step 10.
As you are running errands, remember that you read a little mention online that you can use a gocco screen for a traditional, squeegee’d screenprinting approach instead of “stamping” the image with the kit. Decide that it’s worth a try since there’s nothing else to do with the screen.

Step 11.
Find scrap of cardboard and mark registration lines so that the screen and paper match up. Also, fish old ID card out of desk and decide that it will make a perfectly suitable squeegee.

Setting up my registration board.

Step 12.
Squirt ink onto the screen, crossing fingers that it won’t be wasted (like that half a tube you just used).

Laying down new ink.

Step 13.
Mush ink around screen with card. Realize that it would have been a good idea to find a screenprinting video on Youtube since you’ve never seen this done before, but oh well.

The old-ID-card-as-squeegee method.

Step 14.
Pull paper away from screen…

Peeling back the print...

Step 15.
Hooray, it worked! You’re a screenprinting genius!

...And it worked!

Okay, so “genius” is a little extreme. The new prints don’t look perfect, per se, but the spread of ink is much, much smoother and any white patches are definitely due to lack of ink instead of who-knows-what. The prints turned out a little darker than I would like since my ID card applies a little too much pressure…might look into getting a real squeegee one of these days. I do plan to apply a 2nd screen with some black details on top, but since I used all mine up I’m stuck waiting for a new shipment to arrive.

The contrast between the two printing methods.

They’re not there yet, but I hope that a batch of gocco’d birdies will be roosting in the shop in another two weeks or so.

Hurrah for Gocco after all!

Adventures in Gocco, part 1.

I’ve been trying to decide how best to tell this story, since my first Gocco attempt turned out to be more of an “adventure” than an upfront success. As much as I’d like to say that I nailed it the first time, the truth is that this little guy caused an awful lot of frustration to radiate out from our dining room on Saturday. So, without further ado, I present Paulabirdy’s Guide to the Tempestuous Process of Creating Your First Gocco Print.

May your own adventures proceed much, much more smoothly!

(Note: this is not a tutorial! There are plenty of those out there already in internet-land, starting with this very nice one by The Small Object.)

Step 1.
Open box of materials shipped expensively from Japan. Admire ink colors and contemplate how much you like the smell of printing materials.

Admiring my new inks.

Step 2.
Spread kit all over dining room table. Read through booklet and play with cool new equipment.

Admiring my new gocco.

Step 3.
Attempt to burn first screen according to directions. Fail to snap lamp fixture fully in place because you are afraid of accidentally setting off bulbs. Only one bulb goes off as a result, and screen is only partially exposed.

Screen-burning attempt no. 2.

Step 4. (not shown)
Frown deeply at apparatus, contemplating how expensive the bulbs + screen were and wondering if there’s something wrong with your kit. Decide that it must be user error, so mount 2nd screen and two new bulbs.

Step 5.
Success–the new master looks fine! Apologize to kit for thinking nasty thoughts and happily spread a thick layer of ink all over design.

Spreading the ink.

Step 6.
Lower screen over paper and press firmly. Anxiously anticipate results.

Making the first print...

Step 7.
Remove print, which looks really terrible. Nasty thoughts return.

Yuck! 

Step 8.
Repeat steps 5-7, resulting in a number of portraits of Mr. Cardinal with a bad case of the blotchies. Contemplate total cost of Gocco materials + possbility that the entire adventure will end in failure. Decide that, now that 2 masters and 4 bulbs have been wasted, you will need to revise your entire design.

Quadruple yuck!

Step 9.
Try not to start crying when husband asks how everything is going. Decide you might as well go and do some errands, since the first half of your precious Saturday has been wasted.

To be continued….