Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yudu and Gocco

 I am a long time user of the Print Gocco, a table-top printing system developed in Japan in 1977. This fun little machine works using flash bulbs, carbon based artwork and an emulsion-coated screen.  When you manually flash the bulbs, the carbon artwork burns the image into the emulsion-coated screen.  Sadly, in 2005, Riso (Print Gocco's parent company) citing decreased sales caused them to end production.  That started an internet campaign to save Gocco or find a new home for Gocco.  Now the supplies are getting harder to come by and therefore more expensive than ever! This crisis has forced me to look for alternatives.

About a year ago, I heard about the Yudu.  I was pretty jazzed and HAD to go get one.  I bought it along with additional supplies.  And now, almost one year later, it is still in the box.   The "similarities" in the name (Gocco - Yudu) did not go unnoticed by me.  This Yudu came with an instructional DVD which was, to say the least, pretty darn goofy.  Since it also comes with one screen and two (rather pricey) capillary emulsion sheets, I kept putting off using it.  I would read the posts on the Yudu Forum for tips and occassionally search for videos on YouTube.  Then I discovered a place in the L.A. area that was teaching Yudu workshops.  I wrote on my 2010 goals that I'd take the workshop.  I posted those goals.  I then called to sign up and was told that the workshop was sold out.  NO!  I was told that they offer it every month, but, in February it was being offered on a weeknight and with my work schedule, plus the hideous traffic involved in getting from point A to point B, I couldn't do it.  I asked to be put on the wait list.  The laws of attraction, I gather, were at work.  I got a call a few days later that someone cancelled the workshop and I was in.  I went last Saturday.

One of the class requirements was to email the artwork to the instructor.  I chose my Guitar Cat, thinking I could not only burn a screen of the detailed drawing to print in black, but that I could also burn a second screen sans the detail for the first run in a different color.  That wasn't really a part of the class.  The class was quite good and focused on how to properly transfer the emulsion sheet to the screen (apparently the hardest part of the process), burning the screen in the Yudu, removing the excess emulsion after the screen has been exposed, drying the screen and then printing.

I brought T-shirts, flour sack dishtowels and card stock with me to class to print on.  We were given a piece of scrap fabric for our first print.  The Yudu comes with 110 mesh screens.  These are really for printing larger areas.  My finer line artwork lends itself well to 220 mesh (smaller holes per inch) and Gocco screens are 220.  Yudu now offers 220 mesh screens, FYI.

Once all the prep work was done, we got down to printing.  Yikes!  Way too much ink.  This is the scrap fabric provided by the class for our first print. 

I then started to print on the floursack towels. These towels are pretty big and I encountered a little problem due to the limited work area - kept accidentally getting the towel in the ink (not good).  Also, my prints on the cardstock were equally "runny".  I wasn't too pleased due to the lack of detail, but my hip, young instructor liked the look.  She even called me a "perfectionist"!

After several runs the image began to look how I wanted it to look.  I think it didn't have anything to do with the mesh count, but rather the amount of ink.  In the class, we also determined the cardstock was just too glossy and that could be why they were so blurry.  Maybe, or maybe it the screen was just too overloaded with ink.  This was quite fun and I fully plan to get the hang of it soon.  Stay tuned. More to come.

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