The Risograph is a copier made in Japan by the Riso Kagaku Corporation.  Pronounciation guide: リソグラフ (ree-so graph)

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Cute Riso Ink Cartridge

The Risograph is an automated mimeograph released in Japan way back in 1986. It was designed mainly for high-speed, high-volume photocopying and printing in an office environment. When printing multiples (generally more than 20) of the same image, it is typically far less expensive per page than a conventional photocopier, laser printer, or inkjet printer. For schools, clubs, and other short-run print jobs, the Risograph bridges the gap between a standard photocopier (which is cheaper up to about 50 copies) and using a commercial printer (cheaper over about 10,000 copies).

It is also better for the environment than regular digital printers or photocopiers. The machine itself is energy efficient, and uses recycled, uncoated paper. It also only prints with soy-based ink, which is better than toner in appearance, and does not require the extra process of setting the ink with heat, as photocopiers do with toner.

It looks like a bulky photocopier, but inside it has a silkscreen mesh that is uses to print, along with stencils made from a roll of banana paper. It uses spot colours in a limited palette of vibrant inks. The finish of the print is similar to both lithography and silkscreen, with results that are sometimes unpredictable. Oh, and it prints FAST!

@kieran_plastik printing @dcadundee print studio for Riso Soup’s next project #risosoup #riso #risograph #graphic #zines #printmaking #print #dundeeprintcollective

A video posted by @dundeeprintcollective on


So, How can I use this process as an artist?
Spot colour means that each colour is printed separately, and layered to create new colours. This can be used to great advantage to create beautiful effects. I love how 2-3 colours can be blended together to recreate hand painted tones, or how the semi-opaque quality of the inks can lends itself to very clean layers. There is a limited palette, sure, but sometimes working with restrictions helps you to make something you wouldn’t have thought of normally. It forces you to learn to work with what you have. Anyway, there are beautiful florescent colours, a metallic gold, and plenty of subtle greens, reds and blues to work with. Keep in mind, though, that not many places will have the full range of colours available (they are hard to come by, and you would need a very large storage area!).

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‘Valley Forge Memorial Greenhouse’, Ashley Ronning

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‘Untitled’, Rose Blake, Bolt Editions

Cost is also something to consider. If you’re only going to print 5 copies of something, Risograph may not be the best value for money. The more copies you print from one stencil, the more cost efficient it is. It is designed to print 50-2000+ copies at a time. Great for posters, zines and booklets. You can print on different colours and textures of paper, too! Because it uses uncoated paper, this opens up a whole world of options. This book was printed on a coloured paper stock, which can change the perceived colour of the ink quite a lot.

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‘The Elder’, Esther McManus

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Page from ‘plants + spaces = places’, Tali Bayer

Overall, as with all printmaking processes, it has its own quirks and benefits. I personally love making riso prints! I’ve been working with lots of local artists recently on a Dundee Print Collective project called Riso Soup, and it’s been a rewarding challenge to really experiment and play with Risograph Printing. I’ll make a separate post about that, as this post is getting pretty long. But it’s been fun blogging more regularly! I’ll be back soon.

Like the idea? Do you want to make something with this process? I am a trained riso tech, so I can try to answer any questions you might want to ask. :)

 

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In June, for Print Festival Scotland, I was asked by GeneratorProjects to make a piece for a really interesting project. Myself and Rachel Lee each made an original print in response to the historical archive of Dundee Printmakers Workshop Ltd and The Seagate Gallery. Our prints were exhibited alongside our chosen material from the archives, in the Generator Collective Space.

It was interesting indeed to read about the rise and fall of this important artist-led organisation, especially in a time where the arts are still precariously underfunded and undervalued. We, as young artists, have felt these changes going on in our political climate to a sometimes devastating degree. Many of my friends are balancing up to 5 part time jobs (mostly not even arts related), usually all low or zero hour contracts which offer no routine, incentive, or self confidence in their future – or themselves.

Looking through the archive was quite a contemplative experience for me. A large collection of posters for shows long taken down, old magazines, newspaper cuttings, and old slides of  Dundee in 1988, the year I was born.

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A collage I made of some archive text that stood out to me. From posters, magazines and newspaper clippings.

Generator, as an artist-run space (formed in 1996), was particularly interested in this aspect of artist-led activity. With the sad closing of the Tin Roof premises this summer, this subject was especially poignant. I truly believe that any physical space where artists can gather together, with freedom of thought and speech, must be treasured. Inspiration, self confidence, and respect does breed collaboration and success, which in turn inspires dialogue and true change. This of course also benefits the wider community, not just artists as an insular group.

After considering all of this, I decided to title my print ‘Place’. A physical space or a place in the world? Both are relevant. The hands are a recurring motif of mine recently, and generally represent people. Here they are together, forming a structure. Are they holding the structure together, or pushing, clutching, climbing, or falling?

Behind the hands is a Monoprint (Gelli Plate) I made in the DCA Print Studio, whilst talking to the inspirational artists who come in regularly to make their work. I love to be reminded that you can make a life for yourself working as an artist. Speaking to the lovely people around the studio and checking out their work is very motivational. Many of them will have worked in Dundee Printmakers Workshop, or have visited/exhibited at Seagate Gallery.

The colours in my print were taken from some archive posters that I felt most drawn to, and the shape of the structure the hands are making references a spiral piece by Wanda Golkowska, which was in one of the magazines included in the Archive.

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Spiral Text by Wanda Golkowska

The final piece is about 70 x 100cm, and has 3 silkscreen layers. The way I layered the colours there is a huge overlap, because I wanted it to look like what it is, a screen print. Kind of referencing Sister Corita and other brightly coloured, deliberately mis-registered pop art prints.

You can see this print right now in the print space (above the shop) at Dundee Contemporary Arts. It won’t be up for too much longer though, so be quick! I don’t usually like to break down my work in so much detail, but for this project I felt like doing so. I think the project will be ongoing, too, so watch out for other related things happening!

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Place, 3 colour Silkscreen Print

Special Thanks: Lynne McBride, Annis Fitzhugh, Elaine Shemilt, Paul Harrison, Scott Hudson, Rachel Lee, Steph Masterson, Alan Bevridge

 

I have pretty busy over the past year (yes, it really has been a year since I wrote here… what a neglected blog!). I’ve had several shows and projects on the go, whilst working at my various other jobs and studying, all whilst trying to make new work! Time flies. I thought I’d try to make a summary of what I’ve managed to do here, for anyone interested:


1. Made lots of new work, which I’ll dedicate another post to soon. They are a series of vessel prints, using a variety of printmaking methods.

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Close Up of Vessel #5 – Watercolour Monoprint


2.
Worked hard on a new collaborative project called Riso Soup. As the name suggests, it is a project where artists use the limited colours/ rough around the edges process of Risograph printing. We have made lots of zines and a perpetual calendar so far. The project has been to Barcelona, all around Scotland, and we have ambitions for lots more. I’ll update with more as it happens.

 

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The Riso Soup Zine of Zines, my Solar System fanzine in the foreground

3. Shows!
► My work got exhibited in China in the show The Silk Road with Dundee Print Collective, at the IMPACT International Printmaking Conference in Hangzhou last year.
► I had work in a few group shows in Perth, WASPS Meadowmill, and the Print Space at Dundee Contemporary Arts. (I actually have a print there right now if you’re in Dundee and want to see.)
► Generator Projects asked me to create a print in response to archive material from the old Seagate Printmaking Studio Archive, earlier this summer. It was a hectic and rewarding project and I will also dedicate another blog post to this particular project. More to come!
► My Vessel #1 print got chosen for the RSA Open 2016. You can see it right now in the Royal Scottish Academy on Princes Street, Edinburgh.

 

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Place, Silkscreen Print for GENERATORprojects.

4. Studied hard for Japanese lessons… 日本語を勉強しました。難しいです。I think I’ll probably be studying it for a long time to come, but I’m having a lot of fun doing so.

5.
Got my home studio all organised. I start many of my drawings on Photoshop, and I now love working on my clean, spacious desk. A long way from the shabby children’s desk that I used to use, haha. It is really amazing what your work space can do for your productivity and motivation. There’s still a lot I want to do with regards to studio space, but with the way I work, a clean starting point free of distractions is vital. I even did some cable management, although it partially fell down just before I took this photograph. Sigh.

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New desk! Drawing a new design for a two colour silkscreen print at my studio.

6. Worked on Risograph and monoprint research/development in the DCA Print Studio. amongst other stuff, I’ve taught several zine/riso classes this year, and we have lots more planned for the future. ♥ I have been working there a lot lately, and it’s always fun.

7.
Travel.
At the start of the year Paul and I set ourselves the goal of seeing a lot more, even if it was ‘just’ Scotland. We have a lot of beauty all around us. It’s so important to leave your work behind every so often (even if you love it!). It’s a lot of fun!
This past year I have found a lot of people close to me are suffering through really bad situations in their work environment. My heart really does go out to anybody feeling bad purely because of work, and I very much hope that you are able to either take a break or change your situation completely. Your health should always be your first priority. ♥
I think I will also post separately about our adventures this year, as this post is getting a little long. More to come…

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A beautiful Scottish road on one of our trips.

Whew, that was actually a lot! If you are feeling like you haven’t done much in the past year, I recommend you sit down and write down everything you can remember. Even if the things you’ve done seem insignificant, or you don’t think it will sound interesting enough. I guarantee that you will surprise yourself.

I’m going to be posting a lot more regularly from now on. Once a week is my goal right now, and I will try to stick to it as strictly as possible! 

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That’s after the abundant amount of selfies, of course. シ
This is a little selection of instants taken in the South Wales countryside, and out and about in summery Dundee. (RIP Sun)

I’ve been having a bit of relaxed fun with taking pictures again. I got the Instax mini 8 on sale, while I was planning a visit to Wales. Got that one because it was cheap and the film is cheap… I thought only bringing an instant would force me to really consider what photographs to take. But even though the number of exposures is much more limited, I took many more photographs than I would have if I had only traveled with my phone or bulky SLR.

Planning to print a mini zine this week with these and other pics in them. See that and another new zine “Everything I know about The Moon” at the Ex:Libris artists book fair on the 25th October. It’s at Bonar Hall, Dundee. Loads of amazing artists are in the lineup, so it should be a fun day! I will have a table with various works, so say hi!

In other news, I have been:
*  Learning Japanese! こんにちは!
*  Working on a new zine/poster collaborative project
*  Giving this website a new look! Like it?
*  Making more prints of recent work for my shop
*  Making new monoprint work
*  Proposal/Application/etc etc writing… it never ends! Oh well.
*  Playing about with sparkly gemstones and plasticine…

Studio update! I was recently a bit lacking in the inspiration department, but finding new artists and art that you love always helps. A trip to Glasgow, a catch up with my undergraduate tutor, and some new art crushes later, and I threw myself into making work again. Even if it’s not very good or resolved yet, at least it’s work :)

I have been making quick geli monoprints and paper drypoint intaglio prints. Both really quick, messy and fun ways to approach printmaking.

Geli Printing is a cool new way to monoprint, using a wobbly gelatin plate and either water or oil based inks. You can build up the surface using rollers, textured stamps, brushes, or if you’re like me probably just your fingers. What’s really cool about it is it keeps a ghost image on the surface that you can play with, gradually building up layers before printing a final image. For my ones, I kept it simple. I used a brush, cloth and fingers to get the soft, almost lithography-like marks, and paper stencils to block out the white shapes. The final two images show what can be achieved with the ghosting.

 

 

portal (Small)
fireball (Small)
moon (Small)
moon refelection (Small)

 

The other day I made some quick new paper drypoints, too. Quick and easy. Might print some nicer ones from the plates at some point…

wing (Small)
sun 2 (Small)
orb 2 (Small)

 

 

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