Having just graduated from university, and a College of Art no less, I'm somewhat familiar with the concept of a zine - those little DIY cut 'n' pasted 'n' photocopied + ultimately self-published books that passionate people put together to express their ideas, share their opinions, or just to get their artwork out in to the public realm.
However I've discovered fairly recently that not a lot of other people are quite so familiar - in fact, many have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about when I mention that I am attending a zine fair on the weekend. As was the case this last weekend when DD and I went along to the Poetry After Dark zine fair/music gig/poetry reading/art exhibition at The Zoo. I had to explain to multiple people (some who should know better) what a zine was and what this event was in aid of. In truth, I was going along to sell my zine, Majellen, which by many accounts isn't your typical zine, as it's a little more 'polished' than most (the benefit of being a graphic designer with her own home printer, and ample patience to handcraft each individual Majellen). But I also went along to see what other zinesters are up to, and to buy some of their publications, because the zine community is such a tiny subculture here in Brisbane.
There were a couple of goodies, my favourite being Little zine created by Joanna Coltman, whose tiny A6-sized zine was a delightful insight into her young world and all its uncertain corners. I think I found something in Little that resonated with my own experience of growing up through the teenage years/early 20s when I was only just starting to get a grasp on the world around me and how I fit in to it. In Little #4 (the only edition I have so far) Jo reflects on finding her feet in an adult world. Jo's journal-style writing is interspersed with anime drawings (her boyfriend's??) and cut-out shapes + words and quirky bits of song lyrics. It's a cut and pasted layout, photocopied and stapled together, so it's a good example of the more typical zine format. Won't you walk in to her parlour...www.janita.com.au
Majellen on the other hand is probably closer to an artist's book than a zine, but I like the fact that it's not too easy to define. Majellen is something that has to be experienced to be understood - which is what I was aiming for when I created it. As a graphic designer I spend a good deal of time looking at a computer screen, but the part I love most is when I get the finished product back from the printer and I can touch and feel the end result. I am (like most people) a tactile person, and Majellen is synonymous with tactility. In it's first issue, I used textured paper stocks, translucent papers, and lots of added bits like feathers, chewed gum, and steel u-bolts, as well as some interesting embellishments like hand-debossing the name into the front cover and painting clear gloss on parts of a page to make it shiny. It doesn't photograph too well, but here's a shot of it:
Issue No.1 is titled 'Where graphic design meets the city', and it explores the similarities between the built environment and aspects of design such as 'legibility', 'urban graphics', 'empty space', and 'surprise'. My favourite thing about Majellen is that it allows me to use my own photography, especially the quirky shots of urban details that I love so much!
Issue No.2 is on its way - titled 'Laundromatic', it's based on those ubiquitous little spaces that I'm currently fascinated with - laundromats. I discovered very recently that my inkjet printer was capable of printing onto white cotton, and I became very excited with the idea of printing Laundromatic directly onto fabric and sewing it together as a non-traditional binding technique. I shall keep you posted as to its progress...