Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gocco Process

There was a time a few years back that I had no idea what gocco was, and was very curious how the sellers on Etsy I was buying from were making these prints called gocco. So, I thought I'd share a little bit about my printing process. Now, mind you most of the work that goes into my prints happens before this point- research on a place, trying to find the right mix of romance and city views, deciding how to draw different elements (don't even get me started on how many tries that Chicago fountain took to get kinda right), etc. This is the bit that happens once I've totally decided on the image, have printed it out with carbon based ink (I always use a laser printer- I find it to be more reliable than copy machines, but that varies from person to person), and have exposed it onto a screen (I forgot to take pics of that bit- but I'm printing a few more prints next week so perhaps I'll post some from that run).

Also, these pictures are not from my studio where I usually print. These are from my day job office conference room. I print here when the boss is out of town. That way, I can use my time most effectively (since there usually isn't a ton for me to do when he's out of town except answer the phone- and as you can see, there is a phone and message pad right next to the drying rack). Also, something about this room makes my prints turn out better. I don't know what it is- perhaps it's the humidity level that keeps the screen from drying out, or it's more ventilated, I dunno, something. Or, it could be that I don't tend to sing along with my ipod at the top of my lungs here since there are other offices above ours who get kinda stompy when they're annoyed about our noise levels. I suspect when I sing a lot, as I do at my home studio (cause I figure, Dev's been with me 11 years now. He was fully aware of my cruddy singing voice for the 6 years before we were married, so he had plenty of time to run for the hills. Now he's legally obligated to listen to it), it dries the ink on the screen out faster. Or at least that's my working theory. Anyway, here are the photos!

Here's our conference room printing studio, complete with one of my stained glass windows I made in college in the background,and my beloved drying rack.
Here's one of my gocco machines. This one is newer, and I use it for exposing the screens since it seems to work better for that. I also have a PG-10 with a movable platform that I use to print the moleskines on.
Here is the exposed screen that I've inked already. I draw those little guide lines on there for when a design has a few different parts that don't need ink, and I want to be able to have an idea of what part of the screen needs to be reinked when all the ink is mushed together and I can't see what parts are what anymore. If that makes any sense.
Here's the inked screen loaded onto the gocco and ready to print.
Press the top part down onto the paper for a second or two...
...and voila, print! I add the red umbrellas later.
..and then repeat. A lot.

Hope that shed a little light on how I make these prints for those of you that aren't familiar with the gocco process. I'm hoping to have Richmond, springtime NYC, and Quebec ready in the next week or so. Then I'll probably move on to Paris 2, St. Louis, Alexandria VA, Sydney, and London 2!

Also, I bought a sewing machine yesterday that my mom is teaching me to now I can finally actually hem my curtains instead of using tape! Yay!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The new LA print is finally finished!

Just thought I'd post a few pics of the print I just finished, Griffith Observatory in LA!

In researching places to put the couple in LA, I stumbled on pics of Griffith and immediately liked it. It just seems so dreamy and foreign and romantic set way above the city, and I love the architecture style. I also thought I'd give our girl a fun polka dot dress and her heel is popped up ever so slightly upon being kissed, like an old Hollywood movie. I hope you enjoy the print!

Here's the matching moleskine:

Now I'm starting to work on the drawings for a second Paris print, a second NY print, and Quebec!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wedding-y Stuff

So, my sister was recently engaged, and my five year wedding anniversary is in a month, so my mind has been on weddings lately. For my own wedding, as you might imagine, it was important that as many things as possible were handmade and meaningful to us. Our cake was made by my husband's cousin's wife (it was beautiful and spectacular and could have fed the guests of 3 weddings), and I handmade every favor, place card, table "number" (each of our tables was named for a place of some significance to us- Ireland was my family's table as we're both very Irish and we went to Ireland for our honeymoon, Alexandria is where we grew up, Masonic Temple is where we got engaged, Mount Vernon is where we had our prom night dinner and our rehearsal dinner, Paris is where we had our first kiss, Charlottesville is where he went to college and Harrisonburg is where I did, etc. Guest's placecards had a sketch of that place, and they had to match the sketch with the picture on the table (both said the name of the place too- we weren't trying to make it too hard!), and of course, our invitations.

Table "numbers" or titles or whatever you call it

Our favors- I didn't make the books of Irish blessings, I just made the book covers. That counts, right?

And here is our fantastic lemon raspberry cake!

I worked forever on these invitations, because I really wanted them to be something special and different. So I though it would be fun to upload some pics of the one I kept. Looking back there are a few things I wish were a bit more polished, but I am proud of them (if I wasn't, Devin, my sisters, my mom and all the other people who helped put them together would be kinda pissed). I designed them around the Irish claddagh ring, which symbolizes love (the heart), friendship (hands holding the heart), and loyalty (crown on the heart). I wanted to update it a little, and spotlight each symbol separately, so I made 3 logos, one for each symbol, which are embossed on the front of the invitation, and the corresponding words are embossed on the second flap of the invite. I then found quotes that had each of the 3 words in them that also dealt with love or marriage in some capacity. I matched the quotes with pictures of us growing up, moving closer together as we got older (metaphorically and on the pages the pictures get closer to the center) and coming together in the last page. The claddagh is usually described as meaning "love, friendship, loyalty" in that order, but for us friendship came first, then loyalty, then love, so that's how I ordered the symbols. Anyway, here are the pics!

awww, isn't 5 year old dev adorable in his little suit? hopefully our future children will be that cute! In my 5 yr old pic, I look like I'm plotting something (and most likely, I was)!

Oh, and I couldn't resist adding this in- this is a pic of my engagement "treasure hunt" clues. Every year, Devin's mom makes him a treasure hunt for his Christmas presents (or she did when he was younger and all- she doesn't anymore since he got married and also because when he was 18, they adopted his 3 sisters from Kazakhstan so they've had less time on their hands since going from one child to 4!). Anyway, I was there for quite a few of these treasure hunts, and just loved them. So when he was coming up with a way to propose, he remembered how much I love the hunt or any kind of thing I can "win", so he set it up as a treasure hunt. His best man drove me around in a giant SUV trying to find the clues, and each clue location was someplace of significance to us, and there I'd find one of my friends waiting there for me with a gift from Dev and a rose and the next clue, and we'd pile more and more people into the SUV as the day went on. Each clue was in the form of a poem, and there were I think 13 total. It was a seriously awesome day, I don't know how he coordinated all of it but he somehow got a bunch of my friends/family to all different spots all over DC and northern VA until I got to him at the Masonic Temple where the rest of my family and his family was waiting with cameras and champagne. He was waiting with a ring he'd had custom made for me from a pic I found of a diamond and sapphire art deco 1920's ring a few years before. It was a good day! So I still have all the poem clues, and I've been meaning to frame them all, but here's a pic of some of them.

And here's a pic of the proposal- look, umbrellas! OK, you can all throw things at me now, I'm a lucky girl :)