Best of the 2010 MCA Zine Fair!

Saturday, May 29, 2010 2 Comments A+ a-

Rain, hail and no shine was not going to stop me from attending this years Sydney Writers Festival Zine Fair on Sunday 23rd May. The Zine Fair is the 'hub' for emerging talent in publishing and design, a self-publisher myself (just blog and freelancing at the mo) I have always been curious about the Zine industry. Here are my best picks for the day.....can't help but feel inspired now...........maybe 'My Life As A Magazine' should go Zine......mmm.

I guess the first question to ask for those unsure; what is a Zine? A Zine (abbreviation of the word magazine; pronounced "Zeen") is a self-published, non-commercial publication that is either handwritten, typed, computer printed, cut-up, photocopied, stapled or bound books that are written, designed by one person or a team of creatives. Zines contain peoples loves, obsessions and stories in article, fan-fiction, journal, comic or photographic form. They are made to project the authors thoughts, experiences and interests to share with a wide group of people. While you can make some profit from selling your Zine creations, Zine creators only make Zine's because they love it, it's a passion, not necessarily for the money. Zines can be sold, traded or gifted through various outlets (Sticky Institute, Bird in the hand Zine Shop) Zine fairs, mail order, online or from other independent media outlets.

Wanting to get straight into the heart of Zine-making, and learn what it's all about, what better way to start then at Susy Pow's Bird in the Hand store! I was familiar with Pow's work as she had been covered in a recent issue of Frankie magazine and in the May 16th Sun-Herald.

Pow is the owner of the Newcastle Zine store Bird in the hand. Some of her own personal creations include; Tea & Biscuits, Everything was beautiful-nothing hurt, Notes & Errata, My, Zines: I make them. Susy Pow is like the 'mother hen' of the Zine community, not only does she sell fellow Ziner's creations, Pow also runs regular Zine-making workshops and events. With all this happening, she still even makes time for Roller Derby! Pows Zine philosophy is "Zines are the voice for the story that every person has hiding in them".
From the Bird in the hand table I purchased a copy of; Make a Zine (Microcosm Publishing) by Bill Brent & Joe Biel. As far as I'm concerned, this book is the Zine makers bible. It contains info on; What is a Zine?, How to make a Zine, Brief history of the Zine and self-publishing, How to layout a Zine-type and publish, Zine pre-press steps, Printing Zines, Block printing, DIY Comics, finding contributors, How to generate Zine sales, mail order tips, How to promote your Zine etc. It also includes distributor lists of Zine stores, Zine Distros, Zine Libraries, Zine reviewers, Zine events and online resources. Make a Zine is a US published book, but it still includes Zine resources in Australia.

The Bird in the hand store also introduced me to the 'makers and doers craft title World Sweet World. Split into two parts, this beautifully illustrated zine includes; step-by step instructions for making cool and crafty things. World Sweet World focuses on peoples unique stories on sustainable living and other inspiring things. This little crafty title is the brain-child of Hannah and Thomas Schickedanz.
Also well known in the Zine community is Vanessa Berry. Known for her 2007 autobiographical stories novel Strawberry Hills Forever, which also includes stories from her Zines; I am Camera and Laughter and the sound of teacups. Berry shared the table with Miss Helen and Astro Press.
Situated on the next table I stubble upon a 'Spoonful of Happiness' ......a Zine titled Spoonful, an inspiring publication dedicated to the little things in life that can bring happiness. Reading it puts a smile on my face. Spoonful's Thea in the Zine's opening paragraph writes that Spoonful is a "bite-sized morsel of happiness. It's the light in our everyday, insanely busy lives, which can be finished by the end of a train ride. Beautifully soft, big enough to carry with you as a little reminder of what life's all about".
Spoonfuls first issue contains;Objects of affection (Hot air balloon craft creations) 'happiness collections and recollections' such as; Happiness is making time to do things you love- is playing guitar and discovering new chords- is jumping into puddles- is coming home etc. Poems by Hannah Stephenson (The Pleasures of Laundry), Jerome John (Simple), Maria Savvidis story of washing day (In the wash). Anthea Krook enlightens us about the glory of failure in Spilt Milk "Every magazine, newspaper and blog that we read focuses on people and their successes- But we'd just like to read about some failures for once". I found this story very comforting- I'm too sick of hearing about peoples successes, worse how easy things are for some people!

The 'Quality Row' bank of tables included Lee Tran Lam's beautiful Paris Zine (upset it sold out before I could get a copy :( . Making zines for 10 years now Lams' french themed Zine contains her fave French films, blogs, culture, fashion and her fave flavour crepes.

I also fell in love with Sonya Gees' 'Zomg your sick!' care packs. Each pack is a cotton bound lucky dip of remedies to help the ill get better. Gee a journalist by day, enjoys making small presents for strangers.
The last table I visited (one of the best) was Hon Boey which featured Zines Beef Knuckles by Girlfriend Entertainment Ed. Rob Moran and ex-Girlfriend Sub-editor Amy Richardson's Japan inspired Zine Waku Waku (meaning excited or thrilled). I have met Rob a few times now (at Girlfriend work experience, other events) little shy to say this, but I do look up to him as a 'publishing role model'. This is probably because his job is my dream job! Girlfriend Ent Ed.) Rob has always been known to embrace independent publishing in a commerical magazine. Rob's Girlfriend blog pages always feature a comic or indie film and references to the 80's (Andrew McCarthy).

Just like her yummy Japan blog, Amy Richardson's Zine also features info on all of Japans goodies and treats as well as; cute Japan terms (Fuwa, gachi, doki), interviews with Aussie expats now living in Japan (fave shopping area's, places to eat, best thing about living in Japan), a look at Canine couture, Hello Kitty quiz, unique Kit Kat flavours, Okonomiyaki (omelet) recipe, book & film reviews and interviews with international folks now on working holidays in Osaka, Japan (most are English sensei)-Amy herself was in Japan on a working holiday.
The interview with toy-addict Hon Boey, bought back more memories of Japan to me, talking about Osaka's Den Den town- I also visited the gachi vending machine toy store Super Position he mentions (I purchased some Studio Ghibli figurines) and their vintage game stores ARE insane! Love love loved this Zine!


Write comments
May 30, 2010 at 5:55 PM delete

thanks for the review! :) great wrap-up of the fair – happy zine-making!

May 31, 2010 at 8:51 PM delete

Thanks from me too for the nice words! I'm glad you liked Beef Knuckles. I'll tell Robbie to quit his job so you can take over.