going gocco

September 17, 2011

mini-print set

{ mini print set, by Katy Horan }

I first heard about Gocco about a year ago on A Beautiful Mess, and while I kind of liked it, I gave it no more thought until just earlier this week, when Traci Bunkers tweeted that the sale of her Gocco P-5 and supplies was coming to an end. Then something just popped and I was obsessed with all the ooh's and ahh's of possibility that such a fun gadget could hold... Yup, seriously crazy! *grin*

{ tiny friend, by Kids Haus }

For those of you who aren't already familiar with this awesome, fun home screen-printing gadget, Print Gocco is a self-contained compact colour printing system that was developed by Noboru Hayama for the Japanese printing equipment manufacturer, RISO in 1977. With it's toy-like appearance and the reference to 'make-believe play' in it's name, it was immensely popular in Japan right from it's launch and it has been estimated that one-third of Japanese households owns some form of the Print Gocco system.

Using manually activated flash bulbs, a carbon-based image or photocopy and an emulsion-coated screen, it's compact table-top size and quick, clean, ease of use is a great solution for people with limited space in their homes (or art studios) who want to screen-print on a small scale. In fact I would say that a huge part of Gocco's quirky charm is the small prints that it produces. Plus, unlike more traditional screen-printing, Gocco prints can be created using more than just one ink colour at a time.

{ snowy owl lavender sachet, by Melanie Green at Ink Me Up }

Curiously, just as it's popularity was starting to wane in it's home country of Japan, Print Gocco started developing a renaissance among the indie-craft movement, gaining notoriety as a cost-effective and efficient method of printing multiples (up to as many as 100 before re-inking was required). RISO seemed unaware of this turn around as in 2005 they announced that they would be ceasing production of the Print Gocco units, claiming the sharp decline in demand on the increase in use of home computers and printers. Though the last shipment of units and supplies was sent to their US partner in 2008 and the doors of Gocco were closed (seemingly) forever, RISO said they would continue producing supplies for the printers until further notice.

{ limited edition gocco print, by Lauren George }

Interestingly, none of the major sources I found mentioned the apparent reintroduction of the Gocco printer unit at RISO. Under their products list their website includes a 'GoccoPro 100' unit which seems to be doing a tour of various sales exhibitions this very year. Incorporating computer technology which enables straight from the computer to print much like a regular printer. While this is all very exciting, it unfortunately comes in a not-so-compact size, requiring a considerable amount of desk space. Maybe if it takes off among the larger producing printers, and knowing the Japanese tendency for producing tiny (and cute) technology, this new beast will also miniaturise in due time.

If you are interested in further information check out the sources below for a ton of links. For more samples of Gocco prints, browse Flickr's 'Gocco' group, among others, and 'Team Gocco' on Etsy is a good starting point in finding current vendors of gocco prints.

So, do you Gocco? I'd love to hear your input on Gocco printing vs. regular screen-printing. Both are a considerable (for me) investment and while I am seriously smitten with the idea of the fun, all-in-one Gocco, at the same time have reservations as to it's longevity over traditional screen-printing. Your advise would be greatly appreciated, thank you! xo

(research sources and information: DIY Life, RISO, Save Gocco and Wikipedia)

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