On printing

I’ve always been interested in printing. My maternal grandfather was a colour printer, in the days when that was a highly skilled job, and not something manufactured by Hewlett Packard. My mum used to talk about visiting him at work, watching him discuss colour reproduction with artists. For her, he was an artist too. Here he is in a photo taken by the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal, the one time he was in the paper (1960).

JHprinter

When I lived in York in the 1990s my university friend Lisa and I published subtext, our very own political-cultural magazine. To keep printing costs down for the first issue we hired a photocopier and installed it in my living room. A copy of my grandad’s photo was blu-tacked to the wall to guide and inspire us. (For more on subtext, see York Stories. Lisa’s website shines with her passion for her home city. If you don’t love York before you read it, you will afterwards.)

Without knowing it, we were a small part of a long tradition of women taking part in the printing process. See a few examples here and here.

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And so to the present. For a while now I have been thinking about the design of my pamphlet, seeking inspiration from books and also from the Manchester Print Fair in April. So many wonderful people with wonderful things. Here are just a few, from Dot and the Line, Kristyna Baczynski, Mr PS, Incline Press and Red Button Press.


On Sunday 4 June myself and four other Print Mill peeps (Diana, Ellie, Molly, Rory) attended the first of our two workshops with Lisa Lorenz, to learn how to use the Risograph. Lisa took us right back to basics which proved to be absolutely right as we were astonished to realise how much we didn’t know. 🙂

Then we all had a play with some images and inserting/overlaying colours. We all felt much more confident by the end and ready to explore colours further…

 

At the next workshop we (Ellie, Maeve, Molly and myself) all worked together on one object: a Print Mill zine. 🙂 In reality this involved playing with images and texts and layering colours. As ever, we were guided by Lisa Lorenz, who had also brought some great coloured papers with her for us to experiment with.

There was lots of laying stuff out on the floor, copying, reducing, enlarging, cutting and sticking and in the end we had a simple folded zine made, as if by magic, out of one A3 sheet, with a Macclesfield poster in the middle.

It was a great day and gave me some new ideas for the design of my pamphlet. And I fell (slightly deeper) in love with the Riso…