Dip into deepest Bermondsey on a sunny morning and you might catch yourself at the forefront of the risograph revolution. Tucked down Alscot Road, between an academy school and a pub, is PageMasters: a sustainable, affordable, experimental print studio founded by two former Hato Press employees in early 2018.
Justin Bailey met Jordan Taylor in 2012, and they both got to grips with the stencil duplication process, subsequently falling in love with what Justin describes as the “simplicity, speed, and bewitching aesthetic” of risograph printing.
Having already headed up their own small presses, with Justin’s Bronze Age Editions releasing material by the likes of Luke Overin, Michael Swaney, and Antoine Orand, and Jordan’s Mrs Paterson’s Press playing host to Alex Crocker and Laura Bygraves amongst others, they pair relished the idea of founding a space to house all their printing ventures and equipment under one roof.
Now they’re working with Sophy Hollington and embedding themselves deep into the beating heart of London’s print community, hosting events at the studio where other UK-based printers can hang out, swap inky war stories, and trade advice.
Risograph evangelists, they see PageMasters as a studio that keeps environmental issues in mind, noting that one of “the fantastic qualities of the Risograph process is that it uses soy-based inks, which degrade much quicker and more naturally than most other oil-based inks, and the printer uses very little energy, far-less than even a desktop laserjet.”
Justin goes on to say that, “We will only print on paper that is recycled from post-consumer waste or is FSC certified, as we believe that all printers have a responsibility to understand their equipment and the potential damage it can cause to the environment.”
All of which is great, because it means you get to feel good about your part in stopping Earth’s rapid descent into ecological hell, all while feasting your eyes on lurid, luminous, and lysergic swatch packs they’ve put together with Sophy.
“We first met Sophy when she worked as a printer operator for Ditto Press, and eventually lured her into working with us at Hato Press the PageMasters team recall. “She is a real print expert and we learned so much during the time we worked with her. Sophy’s magical lino-cut prints are fed from English folklore and legend, as well as this, her work embodies craft; all of these things we also feel so strongly about. When we asked Sophy to help us out with our branding she was great, we handed over all our research and she gave us exactly what we wanted.”
Praising other young printers working in and around London, including Rachel Littlewood, Rabbits Road Press, Housework Press, Jumbo Press, Friends In the Dungeon (all of whom manage to produce consistently great work “despite the ever increasing cost for space and the dwindling printing industry”) and already chalking up collaborative work with the Tate, and the South London Gallery, alongside artist Sam Hutchinson, photographer George Booth-Cole, and London club night Inner U, it seems obvious to It’s Nice That that PageMasters will be a force for good for the creatively minded amongst us.