Remember when a blank page was an invitation to spill yourself out onto the paper and you’d filled it with drawings and glitter, square houses and pulsating round suns, lollipop trees and arrows pointing to mummy, all before your mid-morning nap? Anita Pisch blogs about her first zine workshop.
I went to my first zine workshop yesterday. It was , purposefully, an all-girl affair at a neighbourhood community house, with donuts, apples and cheese – and a good dose of chatter and laughter.
Our facilitator, Tegan Webb, described herself as a ‘pusher’, by which she meant, I think, a catalyst, rather than a seedy character conducting under-the-radar deals. After a brief talk about the history of zines, Tegan urged us to just go ahead and do it – make a zine about anything!
- A blank page and no mandate.
- Cheap children’s art materials and glue you tipped out onto cardboard and spread with your fingers.
- A gang of girls sat around big tables in an airy room, with magazines and coloured paper to cut and tear.
Only the smell of patchouli would have completed the sense of time travel back to kindergarten (yes, I’m showing my age… I went to kindergarten when the teachers wore patchouli oil and flowers in their hair and we all sang ‘Feelin’ Groovy’).
Remember when a blank page was an invitation to spill yourself out onto the paper and you’d filled it with drawings and glitter, square houses and pulsating round suns, lollipop trees and arrows pointing to mummy, all before your mid-morning nap?
Remember when you didn’t censor every idea that popped into your head with a stern voice saying ‘That’s stupid’ or ‘Don’t embarrass yourself’?
Actually, I’m not sure I do. But I must have – once.
So, after staring for five minutes alternately at my blank sheet of paper and the giggling strangers around me, I picked up a magazine, tore out a page, and then ripped it to bits.
I had no pre-conceived notion of what I would do. No concept of where it was going. No idea. Literally, no idea.
And as we ripped, and coloured and glued and glittered, we started to chat. What a well-read, well-informed bunch of girls are hidden in my neighbourhood. What wisdom and diversity of experience and perspective.
Tegan encouraged us to make a collaborative zine, and we all contributed pages – some light and filled with laughter and sunshine, some dark and dirty, some bitter and filled with twisted rage…. Being a grrl! in all its complexities.
We all made zines and we made a zine together. We discovered mutual love of literature and poetry and were introduced to publications we’d never seen before. We took two hours out of our otherwise pretty-hectic lives to just sit and create, with no other purpose than to give expression to something in ourselves that otherwise would have remained unsaid. We reaffirmed how cool it is to live amongst our neighbours, and that, despite what you hear on the news, people are usually pretty nice.
Now to find a colour photocopier offering bargain basement rates…..
Highlight: Tegan taught us to fold a single sheet of A4 paper to make an eight-page booklet. You can see how to do this in the video below.
You can check out Tegan Webb’s webpage here