A good arts magazine is one of the greatest joys in life. Small things which can make you feel like a giant are one of the others (which is, incidentally, why I always eat with a teaspoon). A ‘Zine’ must therefore be a great joy times two.
The festival was a coming together of zine creators from across the North, selling their works and basking in the glow of this wonderful artistic, literary, political form.
One of the best things about Zines is the variety in which they appear, this flexibility evident in the collection seen there ranging from one or two pages of A6, to full A4 booklets, to ‘mystery boxes’- highly tempting shoeboxes wrapped in brown paper.
This flexibility is so much a part of the charm of the Zine. As a fringe art form lacking specific definition (when a friend who had never heard of them asked for a definition the only response I could think of was “well sort of like a smaller, better magazine?”) the creator has complete freedom in what they wish to create in format, style and content.
This freedom of form means that anyone can make one. They are an ‘in’ to the world of publishing and whatever subject you wish which unlike other ‘foot in the door’ methods seems genuinely accessible and genuinely fun.
“Mistakes are part of it,” stated the woman running the event which, again, aids the sense of freedom in the form and was greatly reassuring when I began to make my own at the large craft table set up. Inspired by the Zines I had seen I spent a very happy hour there (making me somewhat late for my shift, my excuse “for art” sadly did not impress…) feeling artsy, liberated, and for some reason curiously optimistic about the world.