By Iona Gibson and Oliver Trapnell
Paper, flyers, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers and stickers are expanding their limits of use in this new artistic endeavour.
‘Zines’ (pronounced like the end of ‘magazines’), are low cost DIY publications that are used as a form of artistic expression. Growing in popularity, these mini-canvases are a niche way to spread information, display various themes of inclusivity, and can also be a form of art therapy.
The De-Ziners workshop, run by students, is a weekly drop-in event where anyone can come and make zines for free using an array of hand-picked materials. Zines made at these workshops cover a variety of themes and are often quite small in scale, enabling an independent space for free thought and expression.
Zines can be made in many ways and often use reclaimed materials in order to reduce paper waste to fundamentally address today's climate emergency while embracing 'remix' culture. They can be on any theme that interests you or that you want to share, among which include representations of LGBTQ, BAME, body images, and mental health.
A simple, common style of zine is to fold a piece of A4 paper in order to form an 8 page A7 booklet. Unlike books with ISBN's, these compact, origami-magazines are somewhat untraceable, yet just as powerful - and it is causing quite a stir in the publishing scene.
Kent is on the verge of a breakthrough: with the introduction of the Sittingbourne Zine Library opening up to the public this Spring, the independent publishing scene is seeing a resurgence in popularity since its political origins in the 1960s.
Despite being a time of digital revolution, there is a physical publication revolution diametrically opposed to it. It is fascinating to wonder how this phenomenon came about in such a technology-driven time, yet it is also a pleasure to know that despite all odds, there is something about preserving your message within a physical object that stands the true test of time.
The end goal of the workshops is to further public engagement with the independent publishing scene in Kent, and with enough support, set up a zine fair in the near future.
Check out the workshop's Instagram page @de_ziners to find out more, apply for workshops, and take inspiration from some example zines.
Images Courtesy of De_ziners