We’ve had some fortuitous timing with this project, most notably that our decision to work with risograph aligned with The Old Waterworks expansion of their printmaking facilities to include – a risograph! Although I’m no longer a studio holder there, I’ve maintained contact with the organisation as well as links to many of the fantastic artists based there (Ruth being one). TOW, as an artist-led space, have an innate understanding that artist’s lives and practice don’t operate in a straight “career progression” line, and their work developing events and facilities available to artists – at all stages of their career – is part of making this a community space as well as as a creative facility.

Anyway, back to the risograph…

TOW’s risograph acquistion was accelerated after the Rabbit’s Road induction, so it was only a month later that Ruth and I were able to begin our first tentative steps into independent working. I have a background as a printmaker and a printer, and while I’ve deviated into the digital world, it’s a medium that calls me back. To start the ball rolling I created a digital image based on a page from Vincent Steer’s 1934 “Printing Design and Layout”. I know how nerdy that sounds, but as all the typeface examples in black are ornamented in an orange-red, it seemed a perfect choice to work with to match TOW’s risograph colours of orange and black. This was merged with a found advertising layout image showing a woman on one side and a fragment of  a Charles Atlas ad on the reverse, which I scanned and merged digitally.

The images were separated out into layers for the two colours, each in black for making the riso master. Working this way allowed me to think about the relationship between digital techniques and the new riso skills I needed to develop.

Ruth and I experimented printing with a wide range of papers in terms of colour, texture and weight to better understand what works best; the mix of block colour, text and halftone in the image helped us think through the different riso settings to get the best outcomes. We’ve saved these prints as a form of database to refer back to through the project, but posted the images on social media, getting some great responses, particularly about the necessity of an “Excursion Waste Basket”.


Collaborative learning and development certainly reflects back to my own practice and experience. As a d/Deaf artist I’m usually excluded from networking and development opportunities – unless I expend considerable time and effort negotiating access (with no guarantee of success) for opportunities that many artists take for granted. One of the reasons I was so drawn to the Agency was my sister artists’ willingness to consider how to include me, and this in turn feeds my innate attraction to collaborative and community approaches. The sharing of experience and knowledge is also developing my understanding of intersectional issues; not only broadening my knowledge of issues that impact on other people, but also developing a deeper understanding of how I am personally impacted. I’ll add thoughts and examples of this through my blog posts.

The first example is related to blogging (and a partial explanation of why I have copious notes but am back-filling in terms of actual posts). At the start of the project I spent some time looking at the a-n blog structure, as well as my website provider’s blog mechanism, but neither really seemed to meet what I wanted in terms of reflecting the shared working process with Ruth. We set this aside for a while, and then began discussing virtual information sharing (with the intention that this would then feed into our individual blogs). I was keen for some kind of virtual noticeboard that would allow us to share information as and when we wanted to without the persistent pestering that email dialogues can become. Ruth’s discussions with another agency member threw up Miro, an online colloboration programme, that would allow us to do just that.

We both feel that using this noticeboard approach mitigates the fractured nature of our working/personal lives (would be nice to have focused time to…well, focus…but few people do). It’s certainly something I’ll keep working with after the project is completed.