As part of Memories of the Future we are running a series of Q&As with DIY creative folk & independent projects. First up we have blogger & zine-advocate Laura to give a bit of background on the zine. As part of our events in October we will be having a zine-making workshop on the first day of the show & a swap shop on the last day.
And who might you be…? Hello, I’m Laura! In the day I work for a theatre, and in my evenings I write a blog called Make Do & Mend, doodle comics and make zines. And listen to a lot of 80s pop music.
For those who don’t know, what is a zine? Zine is a shortened version of ‘magazine’ or ‘fanzine’, a DIY publication, often made by hand and photocopied in a quick and cheap way. The joy of zines is that you have complete freedom to write them about any subject you want to, from travel and music to a love of Bill Murray.
Can you tell us anything about the history of DIY zines? Zines have been around for years, and gained popularity during the punk era with zines such as Sniffin’ Glue and again during the early 90s riot grrrl era. Fanzines were often produced as a way to show love for favourite bands but now you can find zines in endless shapes and forms.
Do you feel blogs have overtaken zines a bit? As someone who dabbles in both, what do you enjoy about them? In a way blogs are a natural progressions for zine makers as they are an easy way to have complete creativity and connect with people who share your interests around the world.
As a photographer & illustrator, do you find zines a nice way to mix up different creative practices & interests? Definitely! I’ve always loved dabbling in handmade zines. When I was at primary school me and some friends made a comic called Just Kids and went round the other classes selling it for 10p (and a free lollypop – bargain!) Then when I was a student up north I made a zine with a couple of friends called It’s Never Dull in Hull and hid it around the city for people to find. More recently, the Lost & Found zines I make with my boyfriend Tom are a mixture of sketchbook drawings we made on our travels, as well as polaroids, tickets and other bits we’ve collected en route.
The culture of zine-making tends to be a community thing, with zine collectives & collaborative projects. How do you feel this informs what is produced in comparison to more traditionally solo artforms like photography? I think that’s one of the main things I love about making zines – the chance to connect with other people around the world. Opening an Etsy shop has been brilliant as it’s given us chance to sell zines to people in far away places, from Norway to New Zealand. I’ve also done zine swaps with people in Baltimore and Indonesia and I love discovering more about places I know little about.
Can you recommend any links to local zine collectives & fairs, or where to start if someone is interested in making their own zine? I love this video by the Salford Zine Library, showing how to make a really simple zine from just an A4 piece of paper. There’s also the We Make Zines collective which is a brilliant resource for zine makers and Spill the Zines which contains reviews and links to upcoming events. In Nottingham there’s the Zine Fest at Spanky van Dyke’s next month, and quite a few regular zine fairs across the country, in places like Bristol and Leeds. Not to mention all the workshops and zine swapping events during Memories of the Future, I can’t wait!
Or follow her on Twitter @laura_millward
We will be selling some of her Lost & Found travel zines in the Memories of the Future shop.