The Riso Museum is an art exhibition, curated by Woolly Press, that explores the process, culture, and renaissance of the Risograph (Riso) series of digital duplicators that took place at Asheville BookWorks in Asheville, North Carolina from April 30 – June 30, 2016 and Brainfreeze Comics in Nashville, Tennessee on March 4, 2017.
We are excited to announce that we are taking The Riso Museum on Road!
On Saturday March 4th Brainfreeze will host an abbreviated version ( with a few new additions!) of the The Riso Museum, a special collection of Risograph prints and publications curated by Asheville-based print shop Woolly Press. The exhibit will be on display for one day only from 10:00 am to 9:00pm. Mica Mead and Colin Sutherland from Woolly Press will host an interactive presentation on Risograph printing from 5:00-6:00pm which will be followed by a reception with free beer for anyone over the age of 21 with a valid ID. The reception, exhibit, and presentation are all free and open to the public. Brainfreeze will be open till 9pm on the day of the event.
Brainfreeze is a curated collection of underground, alternative, and small press comics & zines. The books come from around the world and range from handmade one-of-a-kind objects of art to masterfully reissued collections from renowned alternative publishers. Brainfreeze began as a small 4×4 shelf in the corner of The Groove record store in East Nashville. In January of 2017 it moved into it’s new location at 1006 Fatherland Street #301, a space it shares with Gift Horse.
For more information please visit www.brainfreezecomics.com
2016 Asheville Bookworks The Riso Museum Artists and Presses
Authorized To Work In The US, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Deng Deng, Taiwan
Issue Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.
Lentejas Press, Spain
M/K Press Ltd., New Zealand
PaperBase, Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.
Paper Pusher, Canada
PEOW! press, Sweden
Presto Editions, France
Risotrip Print Shop Co., Brazil
Ryan Cecil Smith, Los Angeles, California U.S.A
Smarty Pants Paper Co., Knoxville, Tennessee U.S.A.
Soft City Press, New York, New York U.S.A.
Striped Light, Knoxville, Tennessee U.S.A.
Tan & Loose, Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.
We Are Out Of Office, Netherland
Woolly Press, Asheville, North Carolina U.S.A.
Work Press, St. Louis, Missouri U.S.A.
Troy Lehman / You With Rhinestones, Chicago, Illinois U.S.A
A Brief History of the Riso
In 1954, Noboru Hayama opened a small mimeograph shop in Tokyo, Japan. Over the next several years Hayama would develop and define the Riso process as we know it. 32 years later, In 1986, the first digital printer-duplicator model was released and brought to the United States.
Hayama’s invention, Known today as a Risograph, found its place in the copy rooms of the late 90’s corporate environment. Churches, law firms, and other small to medium organizations used the Riso as a method to produce large inexpensive runs of one to two color editions. Over the years the Risograph slowly disappeared from this landscape and was replaced with the influx of photocopiers, laser printers, and other modern techniques. Although the Riso still continues to be developed and used in many of these institutions, the older discarded machines have found a new market in the design studios, art departments, and DIY-house basements of makers looking for an attractive, unique, and affordable option for their printed matter. The Riso corporation has responded to this new market by creating a diverse line of models and colors such as metallics and fluorescents that might not have had a place printing sunday service programs but are in high demand for artists and designers. This creative new wave of Riso printmakers is a fascinating example of the interface between technology and art and is the focus of this show.
Operation of the Riso begins when specially formatted print files are sent to the machine via ethernet, IEEE 1284 connection, or scanner table (located on top of the machine) and the print command or the start key is selected. The machine then automatically generates a paper stencil known as “master” and simultaneously removes the previous master if one is present. The newly created master is wrapped around the print drum and trimmed. The drum spins and a single sheet of paper is fed to create a proof and deposited in the paper-receiving tray. If the artwork is satisfactory then an additional copy count is entered and the edition is printed.
When a new file is sent to print the last master is ejected. Once a master is ejected it can not be reused, allowing for closed editions.
Contemporary Riso printing manifests itself in many forms but of notable interest is the role it has taken in small print shops and presses. Whatsmore is the community that these presses have garnered. Printmakers share repair and mechanical advice (see Drum Conversion), Techniques (such as “faux-CMYK”, where particular riso colors are overlapped to create full color images), and have created online collection points for this data (such as the stencil.wiki created by George Wietor of Issue press.) Thrilled with any opportunity to discuss the idiosyncrasies of the machine, for the devoted operators, It is not uncommon for machine to transcend output.
Over 250 documented presses produce work on a risograph worldwide and many more surely exist. The following is but a small selection of works produced outside of the United States.
Over the years Riso has developed a variety of new and desirable ink colors. Many of these new ink colors/tubes are not compatible with the older Riso models and printmakers have been forced to develop conversion methods so these colors can be used in obsolete machines.
The following step-by-step instructions are taken from stencil.wiki, a riso wiki for artists, designers and printers.
HOW-TO: TRANSFER INK FROM ONE TUBE TO ANOTHER
POSTED: 26 Apr 2015 18:48 by issuepress LAST EDIT: 01 May 2015 14:19 by issuepress
You will need:
- 2 ink caps
- Hot Glue
- A Drill w/ 1/4″ + drill bit
- Citrus solvent
- Tall boy beer can or similar
Use a pair of pliers to remove the black plastic cage from the bottom of the full tube of ink. Leave the cap on, as you will not be able to turn the tube upside down after removing this cage.
If the empty tube previously held a different color from the one you are transferring in, be sure to clean it THOROUGHLY. It can help to soak the tube in citrus solvent for a couple of days. Make sure every bit of the old color is gone before transferring in the new color. If you are transferring the same color, don’t worry about it.
Glue caps together
Find two used ink tube caps and use hot glue to afix them to one another top-to-top (so that threads are exposed on each side). Use circles of hot glue to lock-in the ink and prevent the adapter from leaking. The goal here is to make impassible walls of glue. Once the two caps are attached, glue around the seam to make the connection stronger.
Drill hole through center
After the glue has dried, drill large hole down the center of the adapter
Attach tubes, transfer ink
Screw both ink tubes into the adapter, with the full tube on top. Use a tall boy beer can, bottle, or some other large cylinder to push the ink from the full tube through the adapter to the empty tube. It is important to use something wide-similar to the diameter of the ink tube-because otherwise the internal plunger can get pushed out of place, causing a huge mess.
Enjoy your newly full transferred ink tube
And possibly the beer you used to transfer it!
Past Lives is a project started by George Wietor of Issue Press.
“Most Artists using [Riso] todayacquire them on the aftermarket – usually form churches and often neear the end of their useful lives. After printing on my own second-hand machines for years, I’ve come to know their mechanical quicks and functional idiosyncrasies well, but their past lives remain mysterious. . .The following pages contain highlights from my personal collection of found Risograph office ephemera – little snippets that help give me insight into the past lives of the machines I use every day.”
-George Weitor, Issue Press