Besides drinking tea, Natalie Aylward enjoys dedicating her time to creating zines – she spends her spare moments crafting words and images in micro magazine format, then hands them out or swaps them with interested people. She now comes to Viva la Gong to show you how to create one of your own. We have a quick chat…
1. Can you explain exactly what a zine is?
“A zine (it’s pronounced ‘zeen’) is an independently published magazine that has a small distribution; people buy, sell, and swap them at zine fairs and through the mail. Zines can be made by anyone, about any topic, and in a variety of formats, though they are most commonly an A5 sized booklet that has been photocopied and stapled. Most importantly, they are non-commercial – zine makers (or ‘zinesters’) generally don’t expect to make a profit from their zines. They are a fun and accessible way of circulating art or writing, and of engaging with people who share similar interests!”
2. Where does your fascination with zines come from?
“I’ve seen hundreds of zines and each one has something unique to offer. The format is so versatile – some are beautiful and artistic, while others look really professional. I first came across zines when I was in high school, and I began playing around with making them but I didn’t actually copy and distribute my first zine (a rather short comic) until a few years later. Now I’m always working on a zine, but I only finish a few each year.”
3. What skills do you need to make a zine? Can you give a step-by-step on how to make one?
“Oh, you should come along to the workshop! The best place to start is by looking at other zines and getting your head around how they’re constructed – while it seems simple it can be really hard to get the pages in their correct order. The rest is easy, and my advice to anyone thinking of making a zine is to just go ahead and do it. There are a lot of great online zine tutorials and also online zine communities that offer help and advice.”
4. What should people expect from the workshop on November 7?
“Well, everybody will have the opportunity to make something on the day – we’ll be teaching how to make a small zine from just one piece of paper, and if people are keen we can look at constructing something a bit more complicated. We’ll look at some different ways of making zines, discuss ideas for content, and answer any questions that people have about zine making and zine culture. It’s going to be really casual and fun – there will be zines for people to read or browse through, and we’ll be serving tea.”
5. Finish this sentence: In Wollongong, you can usually find me…
“Photocopying in the library.”
Viva la Gong will have zine making workshops throughout the day of November 7. Come and join Natalie and others for the opportunity to create your own. Natalie also has her own teahouse and will be serving some of her delights on the day, including some of her very own blends.