Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boneshaker Books!

Hooray! A new local bookstore, Boneshaker Books, carries zines!  I am so excited!  I went there last weekend and brought my zines and some other handmade stuff, and I now have them in the store! My zine Bookstore Thief and some of my zippies and my fabric coasters are all up on display to sell.  There's something very satisfying about selling your things in a local store.

The bookstore itself is very nice.It's a small space but very open with hardwood floors and couches for comfy sitting, and a little kid's table and chairs next to the kids' book section.  They have new and used books, and oodles of zines.  I spent $30 on zines just browsing for a little while there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Zine Class!

The second community ed class I'm teaching this quarter is called DIY Publishing: Make Your Own Zine.  It's a three-week class (one two-hour class each week), and starts March 2nd.

What's a zine, you ask?  Well, it's this thing you write and share with other people.  It's like a little magazine (so you see where the word zine comes from--and now you know how to pronounce it--zeen like bean, not zine like mine).  But a zine is not mass-produced and driven by corporate advertising.  It's usually photocopied and stapled, and sold for a couple bucks or traded for another person's zine.  Because you write a zine for fun, not for money, and not to compete with other writers of zines, but to share experiences and build community. 

People write zines for lots of reasons, but probably my favorite one is that they don't find their own experience reflected in the popular culture.  So they write a zine about their experience, and put it out there, creating some culture of their own.  I love that idea, being able to

Create Your Own Culture.

You can write your zine about absolutely anything you're interested in.  Write about your life, like Ramsey Beyer does in LIST:

This is one of my absolute favorite zines.  It has evocative writing, fun drawings, and it's a fabulous idea--to write about everything in the form of a list--executed to perfection.  This type of zine is called a "perzine," short for personal zine, because it's mainly about the zinester's personal experience of life. 

Another type of zine is a how-to zine.  Craft Leftovers Monthly is a very popular example of this type:

This particular issue was on the theme of making miniatures. Kristin is the editor, but there are many contributors to this zine, and it's chock full of how-to's, website recommendations for how-to's, even memories of how-to's. It's also got a couple interviews with crafters, and they're very informal and fun. 

BUZZ is a comic zine done by Corinne Mucha:

Corinne writes about a wide variety of stuff, some serious, some fantastical, all funny. 

An Alphabet of London is a comic "one-shot," meaning it doesn't have more than one issue:

This also came in a little slipcase, which just makes it more fun.  An alphabet of anything is a great idea, I think, and even if two people do the same topic, it will come out different because they have different interests, beliefs, and experiences.  Like R for "Rozzer"?  I've never heard that word before, but I love it because now I learned some London slang for copper!  This zine inspired me to do an alphabet of  Minneapolis. 

And here's one more example, an oldie from the 90's when I first discovered zines.  Kevin Eldridge writes this hilarious collection of poems called Come Look At My Brain:

Not only do I love the absurd writing in this zine, but the design is funny as well.  Each frame looks so serious and classical, juxtaposed with the goofy words within.

So there you have several examples of zines. In my class, I'll give people a chance to browse through some of my collection of zines to get ideas for what they want to write about.  Then we'll do some in-class writing exercises to prime the pump, as it were.  I'll give you some fun homework to find design elements for your zine.  We'll spend time in class assembling your zines, and by the last class you'll have (I hope) a finished product, your first zine! 

My hope is that I can work out a way to get copies of each zine to every person in the class, if that is okay with people.  So I might have to take your original mock-up with me and then make copies and mail them back to you.  I haven't quite figured out the logistics for that yet, but I think it would be great to make that happen, so that you get to see what everyone in class has done as well as start your own zine collection, spurring you on with more ideas to do another zine later!

Sound fun?  Sign up here for class!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Me Teacher

I'm teaching two community ed classes this winter. Or at least I think I am. I know that sounds like I have a problem with committment, but really it's just about having enough people sign up for them. So let me tell you about them!  Chris, I know you want to sign up, but really, I don't think you can afford the gas money from California.  So behave. I'm teaching in Bloomington, home of the Maul of Amerika. 

The first class is about Artist Trading Cards. What? You've never heard of them? Aw.  They're fun! They're these little baseball-card sized things that you make and trade with other folks.  Why? Because Tiny Things Are Fun, especially art. You'll make at least three in the class, based on models I provide.  Here's a sampling of ATC's I've made:

Although I do use some new materials, I like to use things you don't have to buy new, things you might find in a thrift store (my home away from home) or lying about the house.  The top left card has a bingo card for a base.  The bottom right uses a map from an old atlas.  Bottom left, the background is from an old hymnal.  And top right is actually made only of bits and pieces I collected at the Minnesota State Fair.

It's a 1-night class, an introduction to making these wonderful little arty pieces.  I'll use several different tools and techniques that students will get to play with, too.  Last time I taught this class I had people who had never used rubber stamps before, and they loved it.  I bring my embossing stuff, paper punches, images to collage with (I love cemetery photos, so I bring a few that I've taken), and just throw out lots of ideas of how you can make them.

I also bring with me a couple albums full of cards I've traded for and with, and books about making ATC's, all for students to browse and be inspired.  And I give students a goodie bag full of stuff to take home so they can start making more ATC's as soon as they leave class!

Sketchbook Project

No, I didn't do it! But my friend Chris did, and she made a video of herself paging through the finished book, so you have to go watch it on her blog. She's really funny with the narration: "And this is a thing that's happening..." is one of many gems.