Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gotta get a Gocco (before they go go)!

I recently discovered a very talented stationery designer and I do love great stationery. I love the feel of the the paper; I love the color and design. I love closing the envelope, putting a stamp on it and I especially love the feeling that someone will get something pleasing in the mail. I get so swamped with junk mail and solicitations that a beautiful card or letter- especially the ones - just to say hello is so, so, so nice. OK, I digress. My discovery is Eliza Jane Curtis of Morris and Essex who currently lives in Buenos Aires in Argentina. She studied art and design at Parsons in NYC and is especially skilled in screenprinting. Her stationery line is designed using both linoleum block-printing techniques and a Japanese Gocco machine that was given to her 2 years ago by her sister. The Gocco machine is a mini printer invented by Noboru Hayama in 1977 and was at one time very popular in Japan. It is a small contraption that is like a combination of screen-printing and rubber stamping. This machine uses flash bulbs to thermally imprint the image on a master screen. You then apply paint to the master screen and press the screen against the paper that is sitting on a sponge. It is a slow and careful process done by hand but the images are vintage and fresh at the same time.

Unfortunately, Gocco printing won't be around for much longer. In December 2005, Gocco’s parent company, Riso Kagaku Corporation, announced it would end production of the Gocco system due to low sales in Japan. An Internet campaign was started to find another corporation who can make the little printer. As a result of the reemerging demand, in 2007 they resumed production of several lines of Print Gocco units and they were available in Japan and through some stores in the United States. Then May 30, 2008, the Riso Kagaku Corporation announced that it will stop shipping Gocco printers in June 2008. Blaming the home computer and home printer for the drop in demand, they are planning to only offer supplies for the printers until further notice.

So, enjoy those cute little Goccos and the fabulous cards they produce- they won't be around for long. And stop sending e-mail cards! Better yet, give your friends a little Gocco set of cards by Morris & Essex so they too can share the love.

Thanks Eliza for the great pictures!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Beginnings

I never thought I'd write a blog. Never. I outright refused, in fact. But, hey, here I am.

I changed my mind.

It has been a wild year (and I still mean 2008). I started a website and now a blog.

What's my site about? Gifts. Pretty simple. It's my idea of what makes a great gift. It should be beautiful, fabulously designed (and there are so many great designers), wonderfully packaged, (by the way I use a lot of parenthesis and adjectives- it can be a problem- and dashes- I love dashes), useful and well-priced. And it would nice if the gift had a story, right? I love a good story. We can all buy stuff- there is plenty of it. I think it's better to buy something that was made by an interesting person, with an interesting background who has an interesting story.

I also think everyone should be proud of what they are giving and I think people should give often. Why not? Doesn't it make us feel good to give and to receive? And don't we need to feel good these days?

I do have a passion for gift giving. I don't always get it right, but who does? But I do spend a lot of time thinking about. Even planning my daughter's party favor bags can take over my mind for weeks prior to the party- it's very odd I know.

So, that's what I'll write about - gifts. Tangible ones and intangible ones. I love hearing about great gifts- ones that someone really thought about. A good giver has been a good listener and has stockpiled tidbits of information about their friend, husband, sister, whomever and pulls out one of those tidbits when choosing a gift, such as - a need to relax, a desire to travel to Paris, a passion for planting bulbs, a love for candlelight, or a desire to organize. All of these tidbits help when choosing a gift.

I've got a good one. Michele Obama- conferred with Laura Bush about how best to raise her young children while in the White House and as a thank you for her advice Mrs. Obama gave her a great parting gift. She knew that Mrs. Bush would be writing her memoirs soon so Mrs. Obama gave her a pen that she had engraved with the date of the Inauguration and a leather bound journal inscribed with the following quotation:

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be beginning."

Now how cool is that?