In a departure from usual, this time I was attending a workshop rather than facilitating one! As part of Edinburgh Zine Library, I set up a workshop with Mutual Press, at the Mutual Co-op, for members to learn more about risoprinting. It’s something we are often asked about in our zine workshops, and people often pick up riso-printed zines and ask ‘how did they do this?!’ I’ve prepped mostly text based zines to risoprint in b&w before, but for the risoprinted posters for wedding favours I became aware of the huge gap in my knowledge, and how I wanted to learn more about risoprinting for my own artistic practice.
Mutual Co-op in located in a huge white art deco building, in the middle of a business park in Craigmillar, Edinburgh. Katariina and Micheal, who were leading the workshop, pointed out the back window where you can sometimes see the racing pigeons who are trained there arch in sharp and improbable lines.
I didn’t go to art school, and I think something you miss out on is the freedom to experiment, explore and play about with particular mediums/methods. After giving us a short Risoprinting 101 – breaking down how the riso works, a short history and some basic parameters – Katariina and Micheal let myself, and my fellow member Esmond, loose on the flat lay. We produced a two colour A3 riso – mucking about with text, photos, drawings, images and leaves.
They went on to go through the process of digitally preparing a comic for risoprinting – something that comes up a lot in zine library workshops. It was invaluable to have the process broken down for us. We experimented with different papers, and adjusting the manual controls on the risoprinter.
We used a comic I’m currently working on as part of my series about mental health, and it left me with a much stronger idea of how best to use the riso for this sort of work, and keen and inspired to develop this and explore further. Finally they broke down the basics of digitally prepping a photo for risoprinting, including colour seperation.
We left feeling totally saturated with knowledge, and new ideas, and also feeling a lot better informed for zine library workshops where we hope we can further disseminate some of the useful things we learnt.