Since the 2017 Creative Conscience Awards we have been sharing stories behind some of the winning projects. Now it’s time for Juliette Duffy and Lucy Grainge to give us a sneak peek behind the workings of their wonderful risograph publication: Psyche. They were awarded silver in the Graphics & Service Design category after studying in their final year at Glasgow School of Art, and since then have continued to be recognised by Intern Magazine, It’s Nice That and Stack.
We first decided to team up during a crit one morning in September 2015. We had been discussing similar subject matter in our individual work, I had been exploring theory on morality, perception and identity and was eager to create zines that explored culture and humanity. Lucy had been speaking about the mind and cognitive learning styles in relation to her print work that explored dyslexia and creativity. We were both grappling with huge topics and struggled to find a solid direction to create something that was meaningful and authentic to ourselves. Working together on a large editorial project presented an exciting collaboration that would enable us to make something that we could never have managed on our own. Thus, several meetings later Psyche was in development.
Psyche publication is now an inclusive, safe and dynamic space, that is shaped by our audience. It is a space to discuss socio-political issues and mental health. It can be used to pick apart trauma and oppression, to confront fears or desires, or to celebrate lessons learned and changes made. We accept a mixture of written pieces from fact based journalistic critiques, to personal and diaristic accounts. In issue one, pieces included discussion on mental health, dyslexia, climate change, race, and processing trauma. Although we are not explicitly a mental health mag, Psyche focuses on our lived experiences and our internal worlds, so talking about mental health is not something we are shy about. By articulating shared and unfamiliar experiences, we aim to address our innate need to tell stories, debate, and reflect. We fully embrace the therapeutic and transformative nature of story telling and human expression. The definition of Psyche we hold is as follows: 1.The soul, or spirit, as distinguished from the body; the mind. 2.The animating principle of the universe as a whole, the soul of the world.
We rejected standard editorial illustrations due to the diversity and sensitivity of the written submissions. Having both specialised in illustration within Communication Design at GSA we wanted to keep the creative control of Psyche. We developed ideas through activity and reflected on creativity and it’s relationship with our everyday experiences. We considered the effect of our external environment on our mental states when making work. How lack of sleep, a small table, a dodgy breakfast, background noise and hangovers can affect our creative ability. As starting points we chose metaphors of filtration, digestion, and nutrition. We focused on mark making and drawing on top of each others images to help us reach a ‘flow’ state, this meditative exercise produced our collaborative drawings and prepared us for the day ahead.
We choose to use a risograph printer as we both appreciate the unique printing method, the imperfect process creates a fitting intimacy with slight differences in each copy. The riso-graph is a more environmentally friendly way of printing and great for large print runs. The process is similar to silk-screen printing as you have to print in layers and can create new colours and interesting textures from overlaying and experimenting. The printer is limited in it’s settings which is refreshing compared to the endless aesthetic options of digital print. With risograph you can’t tell what the publication will look like until it’s printed, we had fun embracing this unpredictability but it was very nerve wracking! We were working to a very tight schedule with only two weeks to design, print and launch Psyche at our first event. We hand folded and collated all 200 copies, with the help of our incredible peers and friends, reinforcing the sense of collaboration and support that sits at the centre of Psyche. Our classmates even commented that simply folding for half an hour, and chatting to each other was a very therapeutic break from the stresses of our final year.
As the project developed it became increasingly about the people who were contributing and those who would read it. The content was so personal and thought provoking that we wished to use the publication as a means to connect with others. The editing process had felt like a close collaboration between us and our contributors and we wanted to extend this to our readership in real life through the launch of issue one. The event was designed to encourage contributors and others to perform their written submissions and poems or speak about issues of importance to them. We had around 100 people attend our launch event in March 2017 at our Students Association. The event showcased our work in progress visuals and prints, our speakers and performers, and of course copies of Psyche were on sale! The event itself has been the most rewarding aspect of creating Psyche so far as it enabled us to realise in real time the importance of story telling and shared experience within a community.
Moving forward with issue two continuing Psyche events is at the forefront of our minds. We are excited to develop the launch experience into new event concepts that could compliment each new theme. It is important to us to keep bringing Psyche into face to face discussions with people and not limit our contact to online call outs and collecting email submissions. We want our readership to know who the people behind the publication are, what we do and what we stand for. We extend this light to shine on everyone who contributes to us as without them there wold be no Psyche. Creativity and expression as enriching human activities are at the core of the discussions we engage in and we aim to develop these integral events into playful platforms for performance, music, talking and making. The making process is not something we keep hidden, we aim for transparency and intellectual osmosis. We hope that Psyche will develop as we grow as makers. We stand for fluid idea exchange as we all learn and develop, because knowledge is power and power shared is power doubled.
Psyche would not exist without the input of many minds and due to this myself and Lucy are always seeking advice and ideas from our wider community. How can we use this platform to create a better conversation about the experiences and issues that matter? And how can we best support healing and change through the stories we tell and the events we organise? With that said please send any submissions, thoughts and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.