Jenna Templeton introduces us to the world of independent press called zines.
What is a zine you ask? A zine (pronounced ‘zeen’) is a self-published publication that’s created by independent creatives, writers, artists and photographers. The topic of the zine is up to its author – there are no rules!
They can be made a number of ways such as: a cut and paste method, by hand or on a typewriter, re-printed photocopies of original art, digitally designed layouts, comics, collected paraphernalia or with illustrations. As a fellow zine maker myself, I love the imperfections of the craft – you might find a double printed letter or a haphazardly placed photo or a mis-punched staple in the spine. It’s these imperfections that make them so unique.
Most zines only have a limited print run, giving some titles rare pieces of art status. They can be purchased at zine fairs, distros (zine distribution shops – cute right?), etsy and personal online shops. But it’s general consensus in the zine community that you don’t make them for profit, but instead as a means to share your work.
Zines by and for women aren’t a new concept at all. In the late 80s and early 90s, when a well known zine collective Riot Grrrl began circulating their zines dedicated to the feminist movement, paving the way for many other women to follow. And follow they did!
Here are a few zines from my personal collection and some recent releases that are made for and by Aussie women:
Femmes To The Front by Bianca Jagoe
I own Bianca’s other zine Paint it Black, an illustrated journal about her childhood memories in Newcastle with her late father. Bianca’s latest zine, Femmes To The Front is dedicated to ‘Things That Don’t Make You A Bad Feminist’, a feminist vocabulary glossary, a feminist mixtape track listing and other little bits and pieces.
When I Was 10 Crushes: An Illustrated List by Amy Blue
I recently picked this up at the Sydney MCA zine fair. I love Amy’s illustration and watercolour works of iconic film and TV characters and objects. This particular title is a fun hit of nostalgia!
Sour Puss by Tee
Tee began this series in 2009. Her zines cover a range of topics ranging from mental health, parenting, crushes, memories, and a fond favourite – a history of childhood homes, once lived in.
I Am Camera by Vanessa Berry
I always say a visit to an Aussie zine fair is not complete unless I pick up a copy of Vanessa’s latest zines. I own most of the I Am Camera series that includes insightful recollections of Vanessa’s travels, teenage years, long forgotten Australian amusements, op shop visits and her relationships, friendships and observations on local public transport commuters.
My Life In Biscuits by Jenna Templeton
I also enjoy making zines and this was one of my very first ones published. My Life in Biscuits is an illustrated biscuit memoir, which includes stories and descriptions of the biscuits I’ve consumed from childhood to adulthood.
Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry by Lee Tran Lam
Lee dedicates her zines to the amazing world of food. Each features profiles from local creatives and reviews on Australian and international restaurants, cafes, as well as interviews with chefs and Aussie expats living overseas.
Note: Some of these publications may be currently unavailable due to the small print runs of zines.