Frankly, The Folksy Magazine

My Essential Kit – Jackie Sullivan, Forever Foxed

by Emily. Average Reading Time: about 3 minutes.

Forever Foxed Gocco Essential Kit Greeting Card copy

Forever Foxed was established in 2007 to provide greeting cards, badges and gifts for the discerning pooch person. Terrier breeds provide the inspiration for designer Jackie Sullivan – who has a particular fondness for Wire Fox Terriers.

Dog lover or not, the simplicity of Jackie’s designs are striking. Here she describes the equipment and process used in creating her bold gocco prints. 

I use a gocco (pronounced go-co) for many of my prints, bookmarks and cards. It is a small self contained printing kit which originates from Japan, and is similar in many ways to traditional screen printing. Invented in the 1970s, it became a popular gadget, and a cheap way to make personalised greeting cards.

1 & 2. There are a few different sized goccos: this is the basic PG-5 model, which has a printing area of about 3.5 x 5.5 inches. The original image is placed on the slightly sticky grey pad, facing upwards. I use special gocco drawing paper which has a grid system to line up the design.

3 & 4. The image has to have carbon in its ink to enable it to transfer properly to the screen. I usually photocopy my designs and use a special blue filter which helps prevent stray black dots, but you can also use a special carbon pen.

5 & 6. The light fixture is a separate unit and requires 2 x single use flash bulbs to burn the image on to the screen. Once the bulbs are inserted it fits on the top of the main unit. 2 x AA batteries are housed in the main unit and used to power the light fixture.

7. Once the batteries, light fixture, blue filter and blank screen are in place, the edge of the main unit is pushed down onto the original image, which flashes the bulbs and transfers the picture to the screen. The light fitting is then removed and the bulbs can be discarded once they have cooled down enough to handle. Some believe the bulbs to be very toxic, but opinions vary greatly! The screen is now ready for inking.

8. After removing the screen from the unit, the image is usually stuck to the back of it. I leave it there until I’ve inked the screen, using it as a guide to where to apply the ink. If I’m using multiple colours, I cut thin strips of foam block to section off the different inks. This prevents them running into each other.

9. I generally use the gocco inks made by Riso as they come in a wide range of colours and can also be mixed together. I apply ink to the lines showing through the back of the screen from my original image. Once inked, I peel away the original from the screen. The screen is then replaced into the main unit and I line up my blank card or paper onto the sticky grey pad. The lid is then pressed down and transfers the inked design to the blank paper. The prints are then left to dry.

10. Once printing is completed, the screen is cleaned with a special jelly like substance. If all the ink is removed the screens can be wrapped up and stored somewhere cool until needed again.

The gocco is a very versatile little machine and can also be used to print onto fabric but sadly its manufacturer, Riso, stopped its production a few years ago. Supplies are still available though so I’m hoping that I will be able to continue gocco-ing for the forseeable future. Want to find out more? Take a look at the Save Gocco website for further info.

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You can have a gander at the fruits of Jackie’s labour in her Folksy shop Forever Foxed.