Pre-Xerox Copier Technology + DIY Publishing

Event Info

This two-day, in-person workshop takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, 2023 from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

  • Saturday, October 14, 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Sunday, October 15, 10:00am-4:00pm

Please Note: Registration for this workshop closes on Saturday, October 7, at 11:59pm.

About the Workshop:

Before there was social media, even before photo-copied zines, marginalized artists and writers found ways to publish their creations using stencil prints (mimeographs) and dye-transfer prints (hectographs). Developed for copying documents without the use of a printing press, these quick and cheap techniques have been used by outsider artists and poets, political dissidents and underground publishers since the 1800s. This 2-day in-person workshop explores pre-Xerox copier technologies and how contemporary artists and writers can use them to publish small editions of zines, chapbooks, prints, and flyers.

On Saturday morning, we’ll begin by examining the history of office copying technology and how marginalized creators have adopted these techniques. Next, we’ll jump right in to exploring the hectograph- a marvelous home made gelatin pad printer that uses aniline dye instead of ink to produce up to 50 multi-colored copies. We will also use a “spirit-duplicator” or “ditto machine” which uses the same dye transfer principle to create even more copies, faster! Next, we’ll focus on the mimeograph, or stencil printer. A close relative of the silk-screen and risograph, exquisite and detailed mimeographic copies can be made with or without a machine.

Saturday will include demos and hands-on tutorials of making master sheets, operating vintage copiers, and creating your own simple copiers from off-the-shelf materials. On Sunday, participants will have full access to all of the materials and equipment to create their own editions with guidance from the instructor.

Required Materials:

All materials provided by instructor.

More detailed materials lists will be included in the confirmation email provided upon registration.

About Rich Dana

Rich Dana is a copier artist and founder of Obsolete Press. He is an adjunct instructor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book and project organizer of UI Libraries’ Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. He is the author of “Cheap Copies!: The Obsolete Press Guide to DIY Mimeography, Hectography and Spirit Duplication.

All images courtesy of the instructor. 

Class size is limited to ensure an optimal participant to Instructor ratio. Register now before spots fill up! Registration for this workshop closes on October 13th at 11:59pm. Tuition for this workshop is $420 + a $25 materials fee.

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