Small, hand-drawn magazines featuring everything from pictures of owls, to feminist manifestos to poems about existential crises are causing a stir in Featherston.

Dandelion gift shop on Fitzherbert St is hosting an exhibition of zines from around the world, co-ordinated by Featherston resident and Zine producer Sam Dew.

Zines, first emerging in the 1930s and circulated by science fiction fans, are self-produced publications of either original or appropriated text and images, usually reproduced via photocopier.

Over 200 such publications are now hanging from ribbons at Dandelion -- hailing from India, to Portugal, to the Ukraine, and covering subjects such as feminism, depression, sexuality, comic books and how to knit.

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With the exhibition drawing curious crowds since its opening, Sam hopes to run regular Zine-making workshops in Featherston -- with Dandelion patrons inspired to create their own mini-magazines.

"People have parked up outside and spent hours browsing, or cuddled up with a Zine," Sam said. "People have walked away saying 'I'd like to make one of those'.

"[The zine workshops] would be really cool for Featherston as a creative and social outlet -- there are heaps of artistic people here, but we tend to hide away in our little nooks."

Sam said she became passionate about zines after attending the Midwinter Zine Festival in Wellington, buying work from primary schoolers through to senior citizens.

"I thought, 'I've found my people'," she said.

"They were all so creative and visionary -- and awkward, but in the best way."

She soon began producing her own work, under the alias Murtle Chickpea -- featuring pictures of cats doing yoga, amusing quotes and her favourite 'big words', accompanied by images of Boy George of Culture Club.

"But they can be on anything at all," she said.

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"Because you've got an alias, you're more confident to say what's on your mind.

"You can have a rant, and people can read and go 'sweet, I can relate',".

"They're like a blog, but they've got edges. You can touch them, get them dirty, carry them places.

"It's hugely therapeutic".

Sam said she came up with the idea for the zine exhibition last year, contacting 477 producers online.

Close to 200 agreed to donate their work.

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"The response was insane.

"I was getting envelopes from the UK, Japan, Sweden, Barcelona -- it was like Christmas."

Sam hopes to take the zine exhibition on the road, starting with other towns in Wairarapa, and eventually to larger centres.

For now, she plans to run several workshops, having held one for children at Featherston Library, which ran several hours over time as the kids were so absorbed in their typewritten stories and drawings of 'mermaid cat people'.

"One of the librarians told me some of the kids have been making them at home ever since.

"There are so many creative kids out there, and they can sell their work and make some pocket money."

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For more information about the zine exhibition or zine making workshops, go to www.facebook.com/ZineMuseum.