Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twenty-year-old Christmas card

In 1994 my kids, our friend Lilly and I "assembly lined" the production of some Christmas cards. They were printed with a Riso Gocco screen printer I used to use quite a bit. The inside was printed first, and the credits were in there instead of on the back, because of Step 2, the cover.

The cover (tree art by Kirby) was printed second, and with the ink still wet, powdered with "raising powder," and each card (two at a time, I think, on a baking sheet) held under a gas broiler until the plastic melted and the lines were "embossed" (like a business card with raised letters). Those raised plastic outlines made them EASY to paint.

This was high tech, 20 years ago, when people couldn't print their own photos at home, or create beautiful full-color art with a computer and dot-matrix printer. This was the old days.

The inside verse had been done with a computer font, and printed off on a home B&W laser printer, then taken to a Xerox copy machine, copied with a piece of plastic that had a grid of small white dots on it, between it and the glass, to keep it from being solid black (so the next step would work).

The red and green (and gold of the credits) came from ink sqeezed onto a cellulose screen created by the battery-powered flash of strong flash bulbs. That's the way Riso Print Gocco works. :-) The colors were separated by a sort of foam tape.

I did most of the painting, kids helped some, and something happened that year that kept me from sending out as many cards as I had expected to, in 1994. I don't remember what it was, now—that's how stressors or emergencies can look from twenty years away. So a stack of cards, some partially painted, some still flat from printing, were wrapped in plastic in the back of my Christmas file drawer, and this year on their anniversary I have mailed a few out, and scanned a couple to share.

The credits say:

Tree art:
Printing Crew:


Kirby Dodd (8)
Sandra Dodd (41)
Lilly Hankins (9)
Marty Dodd (5, nearly 6)
Kirby Dodd (8) and Sandra
Holly Dodd (3)
Keith Dodd
Sandra Dodd
Marty, Sandra,
and a 1956 Westinghouse broiler

The verse (for those who can't read the font or the printing) says:
Abundant joy,
   a special toy,
      warmth and firelight,
         carols at twilight;

Memories of old,
   children to hold,
      comforting food,
         and hearts renewed.

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