It’s International Zine Month!

IZMposter2014
This great list has been stolen (more borrowed, really) from Alex Wrekk’s Stolen Sharpie Revolution blog.  Join me in celebrating International Zine Month, albeit a week late! (apologies – I’ve had a hectic few weeks…)

As a little IZM bonus for you, please use these coupon codes when placing an order in the TangleStore, throughout July (although offers apply to everything, not just zines!):

  • Save 10% with coupon code ZINEMONTH10
  • Save 15% when you spend £15 or more with coupon code ZINEMONTH15

Enter coupon code at Etsy checkout & discount will be applied automatically to your order.

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(Offer valid until July 31st. )

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…and here is a little sampling of the zines currently available in the TangleStore, to whet your appetite (but there are more!):

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The Great Paper Caper

Once more, my home printer is suffering from a mystery malaise that I am not sufficiently qualified to cure. Although working at a basic level, it really isn’t playing nicely. At all.  This is the third time in 4 years that I have had serious printer issues, so last week, I finally made the (actually quite difficult) decision that it is time to outsource as much printing as I can afford.  I will of course replace the home printer, too, and will continue to print ‘on the spot’ to trial ideas etc.  But I think realistically, I just ask too much of it on a day to day basis to have it print full print runs of zines. Etc. So the outsourcing has begun.

ET illustrationsI’ve posted previously about the search for just the right paper for my different projects, and I still have a great collection of recycled papers to draw upon, from my earlier experiments.  Therefore it’s a little sad to say goodbye to some papers I have loved in favour of the more limited range of eco-friendly papers available from my chosen printshop.  But while I mourn the aesthetic loss of, for example, my newsprint designs, I console myself that they have been replaced by far superior paper and print quality: still recycled, but much thicker, and such vibrant colour reproduction

Tangelope self-mailerLast week I had my Tangelope zine & self-mailers printed on a wonderfully tactile new FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper.  It feels almost velvety, and the reproduction is definitely much higher quality than I would have been capable of by my previous means.  I’ve used the same paper for the ‘Bit of Earth’ seed packets.  This week, I have had reprints of selected Enchanted Times back issues which are still printed on recycled paper, but feel so much more substantial than before!  In short, while there are a few minor aesthetic losses, I feel I have definitely gained both time and quality courtesy of the decision to outsource, so although my arm was somewhat forced, I do think it was an ultimately beneficial decision.

holly bookmarkOh – unrelated to the above, I have been meaning to post this pic for a couple of weeks!  As you can see, it is a beautiful hand-drawn bookmark which I was lucky enough to receive from my occasional illustrator for the Enchanted Times, Holly Mitchell (her work can currently be seen in back issues ‘Frogments’ and ‘Stitched Up’, shown above).  Please ooh and ahh in wonder at its beauty, as I do. 🙂

 

ZineCraft?

craftivism coverOh dear.  I have inadvertently wandered back into the old art v. craft debate.  In general, I prefer to avoid it but a recent interview with craftivist Betsy Greer made me consider a tangential aspect.  (It’s an interesting interview from more perspectives than this, though – you should read it!)

And then I got carried away…

Is zinemaking a craft?  Approaching this from my own perspective I would have to say that it is, even if only at a most minor level; but zines represent an extremely wide field with all kinds of subgenres and production values so I think it would be impossible to give one all-encompassing yes or no answer.  Regardless of that, here are a few aspects to consider:

  • A standard 8-page mini-zine involves hand-folding and a cut (origami? kirigami?) – this is a very basic craft, but a craft nonetheless.
  • A stitch-bound zine involves basic bookbinding skills (pamphlet/saddle stitch, stab-stitch, all kind of possibilities) – probably more likely to be utilised in a zine already focused on arts or crafts, this is inarguably using craft skills.
  • But if you simply fold each page in half and then staple it?  Stapling, I’m afraid, is not a craft.
  • And if you outsource the printing & binding to a printer?  Definitely not craft!  Here we are simply moving into the realms of basic book/let production.
  • worth something journalWhat about the content?  Well, a lot of work can go into the design and layout of a zine (or not – anyone can make a zine, with almost any skill level!) – but design and layout are skills rather than crafts.
  • What about the aesthetics, all the beautiful artwork found in some zines?  But it is reproduction rather than original artwork, as in any art book you can buy in any bookshop.  The original artwork of course remains so, but the multiple reproduced copies are clearly no longer original art.
  • And if each page of each copy is hand-embellished and/or handwritten?  Then we are moving away from zines and into the world of artists’ books.

Cut down to the bare bones, zinemaking is probably more the culmination of a number of individual skills (not necessarily craft-based), combined.

The bigger question is, does it matter what you call it?  My (slightly abridged!) conclusion to the art v. craft debate was that there will always be different perspectives of any one work.  Some questions to consider…

  • If somebody uses a particular craft technique to follow and reproduce the results of a pre-tested craft pattern, they are producing craft, not art.
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own (self-designed) pattern, is that craft or art?  Certainly additional skills have been utilised.
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own pattern, then makes minor changes or alters features so that the end result is different every time, have they produced art or craft?
  • If somebody uses a craft technique but follows their own pattern, yet unconsciously makes changes as each item is produced so that every item is utterly unique with its own character, is that art or craft?
  • If an artist uses a craft technique within an art piece, is that art or craft?
  • If an artist makes a series of similar pieces utilising a craft technique, are they producing art or craft?
  • If an artist tells you that the meaning behind their work alters the context of the craft, does that make it art?
  • What if a crafter tells you the meaning behind what they call their craft?
  • What if a crafter is unaware of any deeper meaning in their work, yet subconsciously, they are expressing something unique with every piece?

Different people will give you different answers to probably all of these questions, even when assessing the same individual case.  Does it matter if you call it art or craft?  Not to me!  Create whatever you want to create, and let other people label it whatever they like; all that matters is whether or not you are happy with what you have created.  Similarly, if you write a zine, does it really matter if one person calls it a craft and another doesn’t?  Just make a zine that says what you want it to say by whatever means suit you best, and be happy. 🙂

myo zineAnother tangent – I’ve just curated a ZineCraft Etsy Treasury full of ideas & inspiration. Enjoy!  (The Make Your Own Zine Kit shown to the left is from the FriendPrices Etsy Store – one of the many cool zine products featured in the treasury.)  Do you have a favourite zine?  Please feel free to share a link!

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NOTE TO STUDENTS!

I removed a couple of my old posts on the subject of art v. craft when I learned they were quite frequently being plagiarised by art students.  Please take note, lecturers know how to use the internet, too!  If you ‘borrow’ my thoughts, your lecturer will probably already have a good idea of where they came from. Take the questions above & give them some thought of your own, instead!

Little Red Hoods & Big Bad Wolves

Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood set off through the forest to visit her Grandma. On the way, she met up with a Big Bad Wolf who struck upon the clever plan of taking a shortcut to granny’s house so that he could gobble her up then have little Red for dessert. Ms Red didn’t fall for it, though, and a heroic woodcutter saved the day by chopping the wolf’s belly open with an axe & retrieving Grandma (thankfully still undigested). End of wolf, end of story. So the Grimm Bros would have us believe, anyway…

But what if Little Red Riding Hood is not necessarily the innocent heroine of times gone by? What if she is a little older, a little cannier, a little altogether sneakier? In our new Enchanted Times report, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of itinerant seamstress Ms Scarlet Hudd, after a Mr. B. B. Wolf claims to have been stitched up in every sense of the word…  Who do you believe? Read the brand new issue of Enchanted Times Mini & make up your own mind!

little red set

A complementary Little Red Stamp Booklet has also been issued by the Fast-As-You-Can Courier Company (staffed entirely by rehabilitated Gingerbread Men), featuring genuine FAYC (lick & stick) stamps and further variations on the Red Riding theme.

Hop on over to the Enchanted Times blog for an exclusive online interview with the aforementioned Mr. B. B. Wolf, who offers his own views on the subject as well as additional points regarding lupine discrimination.

JaguarSnail – welcome!

This post is to welcome the zines of Britta Jarvis of JaguarSnail into the TangleCrafts fold. 🙂  Britta is a local artist & crafter who I met through a mutual friend, a couple of years ago.  We have since spent many a happy hour on the production line together and have discovered lots of common interests – the most obvious being zines, mail art, and a weakness for terrible puns…  We are currently scheming to bring you various collabrative projects (largely involving me harnessing Britta’s amazing – and speedy! – stamp-carving skills!).  In the meantime, 3 of Britta’s mini zines are now available in the TangleStore:

I Love Mail - JaguarSnailI Love Mail! – quite a maxi mini zine at 20 pages long, but standard mini zine dimensions.  It includes 8 things Britta loves about mail, an envelope tutorial, a postal poem, an interview with a Royal Mail postman, and more.  Illustrated throughout with Britta’s own sketches & doodles, this one is a limited edition in the current format so don’t miss out!

Make a Zine - JaguarSnailHow to Make a Zine – an introduction for beginners.  If you’re tempted to write your own zine but don’t know where to start, this mini zine could be just what you’re looking for!  Lots of tips, guidance and inspiration, but the best bit about this mini zine is that it’s double-sided – open it out, and there’s a unique zine theme-picker on the reverse.  Twice the fun of an ‘ordinary’ mini zine squished into the same amount of space – genius!

Experimental Poetry - JaguarSnailA Collection of Experimental Poetry – This one does exactly what it says on the tin, and is a perfect example of Britta’s quirky nature.  These fun little poems are accompanied by original illustrations to make a unique addition to your zine collection.

Project Dissimulation – first creations

Project Dissimulation Vol. i preview

As April is bowel cancer awareness month, I was keen to get the first issue of the Project Dissimulation zine completed in time for April – so keen that I managed to be finished early!  When I first put out a call for donations of bird-themed used postage stamps and artistamps, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what exactly I would do with them, although the title chosen for the project obviously lent itself to working with collective nouns (a dissimulation of birds being the traditional collective noun for a group of birds).  Once I sat down to get started, though, the idea shaped itself and the first zine was quickly born, as well as a series of badges.

Please click through to the TangleStore to support Project Dissimulation with a purchase – any profits from Project items sold will be donated to a bowel cancer research/awareness charity.

So far I have completed Volume I of the zine, a matching Project Dissimulation badge (I will create a new badge design for each issue, so they can be collected!), and bird badges made from upcycled postage stamps for anyone who would like a completely individual souvenir of the Project:

The first issue of the Project zine features a variety of collective nouns for birds, illustrated with selected used postage stamps which were donated to the Project.  I’m not sure yet how many zines there will be in total, but I will keep going as long as there are stamps to work with. 🙂  In addition to the current items available, there will soon be a one-off chance to buy a set of badges made from the actual stamps used to illustrate Volume I, as well as bird badges grouped by species.  As the Project progresses, I’m also planning envelope seals, address labels, postcards and mini-notecards – watch this space for updates & availability!

Project Dissimulation Store

Project Dissimulation Badges Vol. i

If there are any bloggers out there reading this who would be willing to help spread the word with a mention of the Project (please feel free to ‘borrow’ any of the pics used in this post), I would really appreciate your help, too – the more people we can reach, the bigger difference we can make. 🙂

How did that happen?

Going PostalI suddenly realised I only have 7 copies left of my Going Postal zine!  It might have had a few more views thanks to this fantastic review by Jennie Hinchcliff (co-author of Good Mail Day) on her RedLetter Day Blog (thanks Jennie!).

But once the current copies are gone, I have no plans to reprint, so just thought I would mention in case you want to pop along to the Etsy or Folksy store before they run out! 😉 (Don’t forget you can get 25% discount on your order until end January – see this post for full details.) 

Or if you just want to join me in a bit of a postal celebration, I recently created a new treasury along similar lines – lots of lovely browsables for you! 🙂

FIRST CLASS MAIL

pic below shows Pastel Postage Stamp Stationery Rainbow Set by Edelweiss Post

EdelWeissPost.etsy.com