Zine lovers urged to release imagination

By hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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‘Anything goes’ at new club in Featherston

PERUSING: Sam Dew, pictured with her zine collection, is behind the Featherston Zine Club, which will meet on the third Thursday of each month at the Featherston Community Centre.PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
PERUSING: Sam Dew, pictured with her zine collection, is behind the Featherston Zine Club, which will meet on the third Thursday of each month at the Featherston Community Centre.PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Ultimate freedom, self-expression, and creating books about anything in the universe sums up the Featherston Zine Club, which is having its first meeting on Thursday.

The workshop creating zines - self-published pieces of work on anything you want - will be held at the Featherston Community Centre on the third Thursday of each month.

Zines, often A5 in size or smaller, date back to the 1930s and are publications of either original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced by photocopier.

Behind the club is Featherston resident and zine producer Sam Dew, who says the workshops aim to encourage people to feel confident to express themselves.

There would be a $2 entry fee for the 6.30-9pm sessions.

All materials would be provided, although people could bring along their own "photographs, poetry, drawings and ramblings" to use.

"And when I say anything goes, I mean anything goes."

Miss Dew said zines covered all types of topics, from mental health, body weight issues and sexuality, to facts about foxes, illustrations of cats or socks, or how to build a blanket fort.

"It's so broad. It's personal expression and it can be so therapeutic," she said. "They could be about Ryan Gosling, the Sex Pistols or Harry Potter."

There would be a suitcase filled with different styles of zines with different folding techniques at the workshop to help people get inspired.

Traditionally zines were cheaply made and cheaply priced, reproduced via black and white photocopies with a few staples punched in the middle.

"Zine makers ultimately want to share their work, that's why there's a lot of zine swaps and trading - it's about getting the work out there."

Nowadays zines were commonly used as another means for illustrators to showcase their work, Miss Dew said.

When producing her own zines, she goes by the name Murtle Chickpea, a fusion of her childhood nicknames, saying the alias gives her more confidence to say what is on her mind.

Miss Dew started making zines when she lived in Melbourne, and became "re-obsessed" with them last year when she attended the Wellington Zinefest.

She contacted zine-makers all around the globe and put together an exhibition showcasing international zines, using about 300 zines by more than 180 artists.

The exhibition was on show at Dandelion up until last week, and Miss Dew aims to build on her collection and take it to reader and writer festivals around the country.

She recently held a zine-making workshop for children in Featherston which ran hours over time because the children were so engrossed.

She is putting together a zine lending collection for Featherston Library, and has been talking with primary schools about running workshops.

Miss Dew is in discussions with Arohata Prison about running workshops with the inmates, and would also be approaching rest homes.

She said zines were meant to be interactive.

"It's not supposed to be like, 'Oh, cool, let's look at that from a distance.' Touch them, sniff them, make them dirty."

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