Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Lindisfarne Beasts: the rest of the dog - and finished!

All the stitching is now finished!

There was just the dog's back end to go.  The second half of his body and one leg:

Then his second back leg, plus filling all the dog's and birds' claws in gold:


Well, finished the sewing, anyway - there's still a little bit of work to do to get it in a displayable condition.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Gocco printing: progress

Following the slightly disappointing results with my first attempt at Gocco screen printing, I've read up a lot more on using it, and have made a breakthrough.

To recap on the last Gocco-related post, the original artwork used to make the screens has to be carbon based, usually photocopies or laser printouts.  Inkjet printouts won't work as they use black dye rather than the carbon used in toner.

Or that's what all the instructions tell you, anyway.  In a forum thread (which I've lost, I'm afraid, so apologies for the lack of link), a contributor said that some inkjet printers do use carbon in their ink, and so printouts from them will work.  According to him, HP printers are the best, though only if you use proper HP ink rather than cheap non-branded stuff.

As luck would have it, my inkjet printer is HP, and I use HP ink as I don't entirely trust refilled cartridges not to leak.  So, worth a try.

Using a version of a different design of mine, Fire Lizard, I printed it out using my own printer, and flashed the screen without the blue filter (as the chap in the forum thread advised), as there isn't enough carbon in the ink for it to be necessary.

And it worked!  It came out much better than the first, photocopied, attempt.  There are still a couple of minor issues with it, mostly down to the fact that I'm still learning what I'm doing, but on the whole I'm very pleased with it.

Here are a tableful of prints, drying:

And a close-up of one of them:

I'd like to do a few more designs based on my embroidery, and see how they compare.  At the very least they're a lot quicker to do!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Lindisfarne Beasts: the inner dog

Just the inner section of the dog to do now, and I've completed his front end.  I felt that yet another bright colour would be a bit much, so I've gone for a pale yellow, Madeira 0102.

First his front leg:

And then the rest of his front half:

On its own, that shade looks slightly peachy, but next to the green edging, it seems to take on a greenish hue itself, which is rather nice.

Nearly there now, though there's still a fair amount of stitching to go to fill in his back half.  Not long now, though!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Lindisfarne Beasts: dog outline

Back to the sewing today, after my excursion into screen printing.

With the birds finished, it's time to start adding the colour to the dog.  I want another bright colour, but different to the ones I've already used, so this time, for the outline, I'm going for a bright emerald green, Madeira 1301.

Here's the outline for most of his front end:

And his front leg too:

Then most of his back end:

And his other back leg:

Then finally his tail and ear, also in 1301, and his muzzle and eye, in 1306:

There's only the inner section to do now, though there is quite a lot of it.  I think another bright colour here might be a bit much with everything else, so I think I'll tone it down a bit.

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Gocco experiment

I'm very interested in prints and print making, and own a few original prints that I love.  I've never attempted printing myself, however, but have long wanted to give it a try.

And now I can!  For Christmas, my parents very kindly bought me a second-hand Gocco set - they're no longer made and so can't be bought new.  This will allow me to make small (B6 paper size) screen prints.  They were intended for home use and so are designed to be easy to use; in their heyday they were hugely popular in Japan, but were overtaken by technology, and are now mostly used by arty-crafty types.  There are a lot of artists producing beautiful work using Goccos, which gives me something to aspire to.

So, let's give it a try!  Here's the box:

And the goodies within:

The set comes with the basic printing machine, a housing for the flash bulbs needed to make a screen, and some bulbs to go in it:

And some inks to get you started, though there are more colours available to buy:

The small tube at the bottom is screen cleaner.

The idea is to make an original image in something containing carbon; some pens are suitable (one is provided) or, more commonly, photocopies or laser printouts. I produced a design based on the same photo I used for the 'White Iris' embroidered panel, printed it out on my home inkjet printer, then took a photocopy of it for use.

This is placed on the foam base, and a blank master screen slotted in above:

I forgot to take a photo, but there is also a blue filter placed in front of the master screen, between it and the flash bulbs, which should be used with a photocopy or laser printout.

The top part of the machine is lowered, and the housing with the bulbs placed on top:

The front of the machine is pressed down, causing the bulbs to flash.  This heats up the carbon in the original, making it melt the thin plastic layer on the back of the master screen.

The original sticks to the master, allowing you to add ink accurately:

It is possible to make multiple screens for proper colour separation; I'm just playing about here as I've never done this before, so I'm not too concerned about the colour bleed that I fully expect to happen by putting several inks on one screen.  The inks themselves are oil-based and quite thick, so don't run, and a clear plastic sheet folds over the top, forming an ink sandwich, and stopping a great deal of mess from getting everywhere.

The original is peeled off the back of the master screen, and it's slotted back into place:

As this is the small B6 version, I can only use paper up to A5 size, as here, though it should be great for small prints and cards.  There's also a B5 Gocco machine that can do A4 prints, but one thing at a time!

The top part of the machine is lowered and pressed down, and voila, a print!

Lots of prints, in fact.

There is a problem, though.  Here's a print close up:

While this isn't bad for a first attempt, it's not the look I'm after - it's very, shall we say, textured.  While it does actually look rather nice, I wasn't aiming for texture, I was trying to achieve solid areas of colour.  Having now read up on this, it seems that it's a very common problem: too much carbon.  Modern photocopiers and laser printers deposit a lot of carbon, even on the 'light' setting, and even using the blue filter, which is supposed to prevent this, there's just too much of it and it sticks to the master, blocking the mesh and preventing the ink from getting through properly.

Hmm.  More research needed.  Still, I think this is a good start, and well worth pursuing, don't you?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Lindisfarne Beasts: birds' necks, bodies and legs

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have lots of successful stitching awaiting you in 2013.

My current project is coming along, despite the festivities. and the birds are now finished.

The neck of the first bird:

His body:

And legs:

All are done in Madeira stranded cotton 0105.

And the same for the second bird - neck:


And legs:

Just to finish off the birds, beaks (in 0114), and eyes (in the same blue as the bodies):

That's the birds finished! Onto the dog next.