LayersOfMeaning – 2007

April 2007


Layers of Meaning was my blog on art, design and textiles.  It was active mostly between 2001-2007. This period  was in infancy of blogging. The earliest pages were written on a blogging platform created as an experiment by a local college.  The software eventually collapsed and two years of writing vanished into the ether.  The entries shown below are a snapshot of one month  in 2007.
See more at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

Animated Bayeux Tapestry

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

bayeux tapestryEmbroidery, animation and history, all in one: the animated Bayeux tapestry. Actually, it is just the final half with the battle of Hastings. Still, at the end of 4 minutes and 15 seconds you will be smarter and amused. If you go on and read some of the history pages, you can even discover the naked man and the sex scandal (sadly, the Victorians gave him some baggy shorts). Be sure to watch the text in the animation as it transforms from Middle to modern English.
Bayeux Tapestry at youtube

The tapestry was commissioned by William the Conquerors half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, depicting the events surrounding the conquest. It details events leading up to the invasion and shows the key aspects of the conquest itself, not least the Battle of Hastings.
The tapestry is not a tapestry in the normal sense. It is actually an embroidery of at least eight coloured wools, worked into pieces of linen. It is divided into a series of connected panels, approximately half a metre wide and 70 metres long. It is probably incomplete.
It is thought likely to have been created by English embroiderers, probably in the then famous embroidery works of Winchester; though some French historians maintain it was made in Normandy. Even the name is disagreed over, depending on which country you are in: to the French it is La Tapisserie de la reine Mathilde, or Queen Matildas Tapestry (Matilda was the Conquerors wife). bbc history

Online Image Tools

Monday, April 9th, 2007

lula's portrait

From the March archives of the Self Portrait Challenge comes a list of clever (and free!) online image manipulation tools:

  1. queeky – drawing tool
  2. offtype – drawing tool
  3. artpad – painting tool
  4. scribbler – fun tool – can’t save image but can do a screen save
  5. flashface – make a face using many variables
  6. typedrawing – draw an image with letters
  7. websketch – sketch and save and crop and alter your image online
  8. mr picasso head – fun make a face tool
  9. textorizer – turn your photo into a text image
  10. face transformer – upload an image to be morphed
  11. polaroid-o-nizer – turn your photos into polaroids
  12. typeorganism – turn your photo into type
  13. pikipimp – change your photos
  14. movie poster flickr tools
  15. hockney-izer – flickr tools
  16. image mosaic generator
  17. cartoon magic
  18. magick image
  19. wanted poster

There is, of course, the granddaddy of all: fds Flickr toys. Lots and lots of options on this page alone. Go make art! Now!

Desktop Silkscreening

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

How to tell you are getting old: when you see something really cool on the internet and simultaneously you have two contradictory thoughts:
1) How cool! and
2) Dont they have something useful that they should be doing with their time?

The topic that launched these battling thoughts to mind: crepes silkscreened with poems. I am all for artful presentation of food. Beautifully drizzled sauces, delicately sculpted vegetables, but silkscreening pancakes with chocolate syrup?? I think my Sundays are a bit too full already, thank you.

The interesting point though is the knowledge of a device that makes it possible to silkscreen your pancakes – or really to easily silkscreen anything: the gocco (rhymes with loco). This is a small Japanese desktop silkscreening unit that is compact, easy to use and easy to clean. Reportedly these have been around in Japan for 25 years and 1/3 of Japanese families own one. (Ive never actually seen one) An official explanation of the gocco:

in the 1970s noboru hayama, a printer and the japanese inventor of the print gocco system, wished to develop a quick and easy household color printing system. cleverly combining the basic principles of screenprinting and rubber-stamping, print gocco is a clean, easy, and fully self-contained compact system that exposes and prints all in one unit. using flash bulbs similar to those found in old cameras, an original image is thermally imprinted on a master screen. next, colorful prints are made by pressing the ink-applied master screen against a sheet of paper placed on a sponge pad.

the simplicity in making a screen, and the low cost of production makes the gocco system attractive to professional screenprinters, artists, and designers, and enables even a complete novice to begin printing immediately. savegocco

gocco printsLike many things in life, once you have the word for the concept, you discover that it is everywhere. Getcrafty has a description of using a Gocco to print fabric, as well as several photos of the gocco in action.

In my experience Gocco works best on fabric if you cut patches of flat, smooth fabric like muslin for printing. I purchased the special fabric-printing stamp kit and have not been satisfied with the results on t-shirt or ribbed tank materials. I was so disappointed with my first few tries printing on fabric that I put the Gocco away for awhile, but I plan to experiment with different kinds of scrap fabric to see what else it can do. Ive seen great results other people have had with wool felt as well.

Small Object has another good tutorial on printing with gocco. That tutorial explains that you dont use a squeegee to push the ink through, but it is just smushed through by pressing down with the Plexiglas lid.

Design DIY has a tutorial on using Gocco to create what appears to be a large rubber stamp type screen printer for use on fabric.

Now the sad news: the gocco is no longer being produced. If you want one, go to ebay and act fast. In the back of my mind, I am wondering how available the flashbulbs required by the gocco will be in the future. I dont think Ive seen/used one in decades. Savegocco is a movement to revive gocco, hopefully to bring it back into production.

Some other places to view gocco printing:
Small screened and stitched purses
Pudding, the Print Gocco proof magazine
Artists Books by Shu-ju Wang, printed on the gocco (amazingly intricate layered)
Wurst Gallerys gocco cards and prints
Flickrs gocco group (936 images and growing)
images: Get Crafty tutorial and Jek in the Box, part of the Flickr Gocco stream

3/4/07 – an update from reader, Judy Funk.

RISO is still manufacturing gocco printers, although not the B6 (and not with English manuals). Although most retailers in the US no longer carry them, my web store does. Rumor has it that our little magic box is probably going to be more widely carried here in a few months; negotiations are under way. RISO tried to pull back, but the demand from the arts community has surprised them into re-thinking their withdrawal!

Note: I dont recommend stores or sellers as a rule. I have never purchased anything from Judy. But if you want to learn more about the units, her site does have a selection of parts and materials for gocco.

Also, There are two yahoo gocco discussion groups:
There are two yahoo gocco discussion groups:
1)  moderated, no spam:
2)  original, unmoderated and spammed out.  Reportedly good archives for resources and infomation: