Category : Supplies

I got my Gocco! Begin Happy Dance…

My Gocco arrived from Japan yesterday and I’m so thrilled! I’m also nervous – I wanted one of these for so long and now I have one. And I have to use it. You’d think that this is a good thing. Unfortunately, I’ve never been very patient with learning new things. I expect to do everything perfectly the first time around. Meh.

Welcome to my brain.

Gocco machine box

So, in a valiant effort to avoid confronting my fear, I decided to do a photo shoot of all the goodies that come in a PG-5 set. Notice the lovely box. Free, built-in handle included.

The printer is strangely similar in appearance to a Play-Doh Fun Factory. Except where does the spaghetti come out?

Gocco machine

The set comes with everything you need to get started. Unless you’re a Nervous Nellie.

The kit includes a pack of 4 light bulbs. For the PG-5, you need to use 2 bulbs per screen. As you can see, the strange yellow bulbs are about the size of a Jerry French action figure.

Gocco machine light bulbs and Jerry French action figure

You also get a small tube of goo for cleaning the screens.

Gocco screen cleaner
I learned that it was for cleaning after asking someone, “What’s this?” and they replied, “Well, there’s a picture of a hand wiping something, so it must be for cleaning.”

(Ask a stupid question…)

But wait, there’s more. You also get three tubes of ink (gold, red, and black). I’m not clear on why they don’t send you red, blue, and yellow so you can mix them to make other colors.

When I own the company, that’s the first thing I’ll change.

For now, it’s Black + Red = Brown. Gold + Red = Brown. Gold + Black = Brown.

Gocco machine inks and Jerry French action figure
And you get a carbon ink pen dealie. You can use it to create designs from which you can burn your screens. It seems like it should look cooler than a regular pen.

Maybe with lightning bolts on it?

Then there are all of the other things I jammed into one picture.

Gocco machine supplies

Various instruction and warranty manuals – some in English and some in Japanese. I have a 50% chance of doing it right! Then in the bottom left-hand corner of the image you can see the screens. There’s a cool card rack (the long black slotted thing) that you can use to line up your prints for drying. And there’s a blue transparent filter that prevents carbon from fusing to your master screens (I just looked that up).

Last, but not least, is the instructional video. In Japanese. This is going to be good. I don’t understand how a product made in Japan would be accompanied by an instructional video tape and not a DVD.

I thought they had better technology than us?

Proud owner of the printmaking bus pass…

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Instead of meeting at our usual location, the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts, we met at the Burlington City Arts Print Studio, (sorta) just around the corner.

Printmaking press

Lyna Lou Nordstrom & Katie Loesel co-facilitated a printmaking workshop on monotypes using plexiglass plates and collected leaves.

I told you I was on the printmaking bus!

Tonight I was introduced to Akua printmaking inks, which are water-based. The inks were developed by Susan Rostow & William Jung who sought to safely continue their printmaking work while raising a family – it’s a pretty impressive reason for inventing something.

From what I recall from my college printmaking days, the Akua inks didn’t perform much differently from traditional oil-based inks. The pigments in the ink had the vibrancy as well.

We rolled ink out on to thin plexiglass plates and placed leaves on top of them.

Inked printmaking plate

Then we sprayed a light coat of water on a piece of Kitakata, a really lovely Japanese paper made of Gampi (tree) fiber. We laid the paper on top of our plate, added a couple of layers of newsprint on top, and sent it through the press.

If I were to do this more often, I would definitely need to start lifting weights – my arm muscles got sore much too quickly after cranking the press.

After my print came out of the press, I peeled off the paper and checked out my work. I then peeled the leaves off of the plate and flipped them over so the inked side was facing up. I sprayed the paper again and sent the plexi-leaf-paper sandwich through the press again.

My final print is what you see below. I like the pattern the leaves made – they kinda look like deformed frog feet (Note: I do not wish deformity on the frog world).

Leaf print by Elissa Campbell

I didn’t spend a lot of time mixing colors like some of my classmates. For whatever reason, I found myself focused on working with monochromatic compositions – it was satisfying. I did three more prints, finally succumbing to the use of more than one color (Orange and red? So scandalous!). I continued with the recycling of leaves throughout my work on each print.

I like how all four of the final prints look together. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with them – maybe cut them up and do some collage work or perhaps incorporate them into some books.

Leaf prints by Elissa Campbell

I continue to get a better understanding of how I can incorporate printmaking in my bookbinding work. This has been some week!

Gocco is mine!

It’s official. I am a panic shopper.

Yesterday the Riso Kagaku Corporation announced that it would stop making Gocco printers in June 2008. Many of you are saying to yourselves, “Whazza Gocco? Never heard of it.” Check out this link to the Save Gocco website – you can see one in all its plastic glory.

Yes, it looks like it’s made by Fisher Price, but it’s no toy. Gocco is a self-contained screen printing unit. You can use it to both burn master screens and to make your prints.

I have wanted one of these for soooo long. Then I read the Riso announcement. Then I ran over to Etsy and bought myself a new toy from a supplier in Japan.

I would like to add that today was only the second time in my life that I have submitted information to Wikipedia. Check out my addition to the Gocco entry.

Maybe this isn’t as much of a crisis as I fear. Riso threatened to do this once before in 2005. People were sad. A “Save Gocco” campaign was started. Then in 2007, the happiness spread – Paper Source became an official distributor of Gocco printers and supplies in the United States. All hail Paper Source! People danced in the streets.

So perhaps all of this hoopla is an attempt to get people to buy more printers. It worked on me. Don’t care – I’m a sucker happy owner of a Gocco machine.

Supplier Rave – May Arts Ribbon

I love ribbon. I really do. I would drape my walls in ribbon if I could afford it. No, I would drape it on myself.

To clarify, I love most ribbons. I hate hate hate wired ribbons. When they get smushed they look really sad. One of my favorite manufacturers and my primary supplier is May Arts. There are many reasons to like these folks:

  1. They make fabulous ribbon in tons of colors, patterns, and textures.
  2. Their prices are affordable.
  3. They have a low minimum order.
  4. They have great customer service.
  5. Their shipping is speedy.
  6. They’re always willing to send you samples.

So there you go. Six reasons to pick up the phone, give them a call, and get yourself a catalog. I have been ordering from them for years and have never been disappointed.

The KA line is described as “Woven/Iridescent” by May Arts.

May Arts Ribbon - KA line

I use these ribbons on the majority of my photo albums and the texture and color really adds a touch of luxury. It has 30 yards on a roll and is made of 60% nylon and 40% polyester. It also comes in several widths. This stuff is the silkiest ribbon I have ever felt – a step up from your typical satin ribbon. I love love love it and it’s definitely my favorite ribbon of all time.

Many of the colors have multiple tones woven in, so depending on your angle, the predominant color can change. The last time I bought this ribbon, I paid $12.00 for a 1.5″ width. At $.40 a yard, you can’t pass it up.

May Arts describes the KN line as “Solid/Two Tone”.

May Arts Ribbon - KN line

I use these ribbons primarily on accordion books and on occasion, I’ll use them for photo albums. The edge of these ribbons tends to contrast more than those in the KA line and the colors used are bolder. This ribbon has 50 yards on a roll and only comes in one width – 3/8″.

The texture isn’t as silky as the KA line, but it’s still smooth to the touch. I’d describe it as having slightly more texture than a satin ribbon. The last time I purchased this ribbon, I paid $10.00 per roll – only $.20 a yard.

The prices I’ve quoted are wholesale, so if you want to order from them, you’ll have to provide them with your business ID. Please note that the prices I’ve quoted may not still be accurate as of now and they don’t include shipping.

In general, their prices have not increased drastically over the past several years. Their shipping prices are quite reasonable and if you’re buying multiple rolls, it doesn’t add much to the overall cost. I hereby give these guys the Blue Roof Designs “Blue Ribbon of Fabulousness”.

Of course, the ribbon is made with May Arts ribbon.

Supplier Rave – French Paper Company

Yay! Today I get to buy paper.

As soon as I’m done with this post, I’m going over to the French Paper Company website and I’m going to buy me some paper. There are a lot of reasons for me to love French Paper.

Speckletone is my longtime love. I use the text weight for my journals and the 80 lb cover for my photo album pages. It’s such a lovely paper, nice and smooth. French Paper claims that Speckletone was the first recycled paper to include visible flecks. I’m inclined to believe them. They wouldn’t lie to me. Liars don’t make paper.

I also love Frostone, which I talked about in this post.

Ooohhh, and I also love their Pop Ink Patterned Papers.

Okay, all of the papers rock. They’re also environmentally friendly. They have used water to power their plant for the past 84 years. And they’ve been making recycled papers since 1953. They also have great customer service. If your order arrives damaged, they’re always quick to remedy the situation.

Annddd…they have the best sense of humor. Below you can see the lovely surprise I received with not one, but THREE of my orders last year.

Inflatable Jerry French

It’s the one, the only, inflatable Jerry French (he’s the Big Cheese). Inflatable Jerry has become one of studio mascots and he guards my bookboard. Maybe I’ll have a contest and give away a Jerry as the prize.

But wait, there’s more. Before I received my first inflatable Jerry, I received a Jerry French action figure. I call him Little Jerry. Not to be confused with Little Jerry from Seinfeld.

As you can see in the photo below, he kinda looks like a monkey. In a suit. With a comb-over.

Jerry French action figure

Okay, so he’s creepy, but he’s still THE MAN. Do you have an action figure of yourself? Do you? Do you? Didn’t think so.

Don’t worry, I don’t either.

Oh, wood I!

At last year’s Focus on Book Arts Conference, I took a workshop on how to sew over cords using wood covers. I really enjoyed the workshop and planned on incorporating wood into my future work.

Well, for the last week, I’ve been obsessed with wood. I don’t know what triggered it. I have spent hours on the internet looking for local distributors of exotic woods. I was determined to spend my Saturday driving 2.5 hours (one-way) to Highland Hardwoods in Brentwood, NH.

Then I got sick. Meh.

After deciding that I could handle a shorter trip, my husband and I drove to Baker Lumber in White River Junction, VT. We pulled into the parking lot and I was immediately drawn to the warehouse full of wood, organized in piles by species and size.

Wood at Baker Lumber in White River Junction, VT

Me? Drawn to piles?

It smelled so good in there.

I walked around for a bit, oohing and ahhing until I decided that I was ready to buy.

I entered the showroom and asked a gentleman for help. I told him that I wanted to use the wood for book covers – how thin could I get the wood? He looked at me like I was an alien. I know that the book concept was likely foreign to him, but for someone who specializes in wood, you think he’d know how you can work with it.

I decided that I was just going to buy me some wood and ask questions later. I chose three varieties (from the top down): Walnut, purple heart, and cambera (a type of mahogany).

3 wood planks

I camped out at Barnes & Noble later in the day and skimmed through some woodworking books. My wish list just got longer.

The plan is to make nice with a woodworker who can teach me the ropes or to just pay a pro to cut it for me. I hope to use the wood for further development of the caterpillar binding. It seems that caterpillars and wood are a natural fit.

If you have any experience working with wood, I am all ears for any suggestions and/or tips you can offer. I’m also open for book recommendations. Oh, and while you’re at it, I’d love recommendations for wood vendors in Vermont who understand the needs of bookbinders.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

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