IZM 2017 Recap

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This year’s International Zine Month almost didn’t happen. For the better part of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep while lamenting my lack of time to do any decent zine production. For the rest of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep, while trying my best to engage in zine-related activities and missing out on even more sleep.

Obviously, as I mentioned in a previous post, I couldn’t do all the activities listed for IZM, and unfortunately, I was also unable to do the 24-Hour Zine Thing. So instead I made a short list of activities I could probably do. Here’s what I managed to do with this year’s IZM:

Cover - pic

Create a profile on the new We Make Zines website:
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the new website. It doesn’t have as many options to edit the profile as the Ning one did. But I still created what minimal profile was allowed on the website, joined a few groups and added a few friends.

Read some of my unread zines that I got in trades:
I had a pile of them on my desk for further reading. Some of them were pretty good. But there were some that put me to sleep and gave me a headache. I struggled to keep reading them hoping that I might actually find something of interest in them, but I couldn’t do it. At some point, I just told myself, fuck it. If the zine doesn’t draw me in, I’ll just drop it and find something better to do with my time. I’m trying to find some place/zine library/people to send these zines to. I don’t generally like to throw zines away.

Send a few more zines to Quimby’s Bookstore:
They actually manage to sell some of my zines! And I recently asked my friend from Boston to send back to me all the leftover zines I sent there for the zine fest of 2015. So now that I had a bunch of extra copies, I decided to send some of them to Quimby’s. They were happy to restock them.

Revamp my Etsy shop:
There were a few edits I had to make for the items I posted, and add a new item (the full postcard collection of Alternative Jerusalem). I also edited some of the prices, amount of items in stock, and categories.

Set up an inventory system for all my zines:
I spent a whole day counting the copies of all my zines and postcards. I wrote it all by hand in a notebook but that proved to be a mistake whenever I reprinted an issue or sold some and the numbers had to be changed. So I took my notebook to work and set up a chart on Excel.

Send trading requests and trade:
I once traded with Katherine Montalto. She sent me some pretty cool zines plus a few small drawings she made. I loved her drawings so much that I decided to frame them and hang them in my daughter’s bedroom. I contacted her again this year and we agreed to trade again. I can’t wait to see what she sends me this time! I also contacted Xyendra Fragola and just recently sent them a couple of my zines. Xyendra and I have been in touch since 2004 through the defunct MSN Spaces (before it was taken over by Windows Live before it was taken over again by WordPress. This blog started off as an MSN Space). I followed Xyendra’s progress with IZM activities on Facebook and I’m excited to see what they’ll send me!

Make an attempt to write a full-length zine:
I actually got all the written part down for this zine. Unfortunately, I wrote it all on computer instead of by hand or typewriter as this would have taken me way too fucking long. Also, the subject matter of the zine is of a sensitive nature so it will not be published here or posted for sale on Etsy. I will share it with a few select people (you know who you are) once it’s laid out.

Design a catalog for my Etsy shop:
It took me much longer than I expected but I got it done! I’m very pleased with it. I will send it out along with zines sold or traded.

Twigz 3What I planned to do but didn’t manage was: Make a mini-zine, respond to penpal letters, and make a new logo/flyer for my Etsy shop. On the very last days of the month, I even came up with an idea for a stencil for a new patch. I drew the image with a sharpie, hoping to make it as thick as possible. My husband printed it on a transparency, and today I attempted to transfer it onto the exposure sheet. But it didn’t work. It could be that the artwork wasn’t dark enough or maybe the exposure sheet was too old. I ordered it sometime around summer of 2015. Just like camera film tends to expire, maybe the exposure sheet does too. So when I noticed it didn’t work, I made the drawing a little darker and thicker and ordered a refill of exposure sheets. I hope to be able to do the rest of the activities as well as try the stencils again during August or something.

Lack of sleep notwithstanding, I had a good time on IZM anyway. I loved having the chance to deal with zines, talk about zines, read zines, being somewhat artsy after a longass time of being completely out of the scene.

Peace, love and hoping for more extensive and intensive IZMs in future years.

DIY Month – Day 6: Drawing

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This past weekend, I was at my parents’ house so I couldn’t write any updates on my DIY activities. So here is the first of the three blogs I will be writing today.

On Thursday, I made a pencil drawing. Though the subject matter was my usual riot grrrl chick, the drawing was different from my other ones in that I used both shading and color. I’ve never done that before. Usually, my shaded drawings were always in black and white, and the hair stood out more than the rest of the drawing.

This time, I used shading with a stump and color crayons. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, so I tested it out with the grrrl’s lips at first. I drew the lips, shaded them, blended it with the stump and then added the color. It came out so good that I had to try it out with the rest of the face and hair.

By the time I finished the head, I was too tired to try and shade the grrrl’s shirt, which is why it looks more two dimensional than the rest of her. Also, I wasn’t really up to giving her a background, but I was so happy with the end result, and exclaimed out loud: “Yep, still got it!”

Doesn’t sound too modest but who gives a fuck?

And a tribute to riot grrrl doesn’t leave any room for modesty.

A Tribute to RIot

Peace, love and I kick ass

My Personal DIY Month

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As part of my ongoing efforts to keep myself active with arts and crafts, I’ve decided to give myself an incentive. The idea I came up with stemmed from the Stolen Sharpie Revolution poster for the International Zine Month. This poster lists 31 zine-related activities to be done on every respective day in July. It’s really a feat and I intend to try it out in July 2013. But looking over the activities, I noticed that some require prior planning, or don’t really appeal to me. For example, on the 20th day, I need to “host a zine workshop or zine party at a local library or community center.” If ANYBODY wants to do that, it would require prior planning.

Also, this particular activity doesn’t appeal to me because:

1) I have yet to meet a Jerusalemite who is as enthusiastic about zines as I am, and who would actually attend such an event.
2) I’m no party or event-planner and don’t intend on becoming one.
3) Many of the art nights, dinner parties or home events I ever organized, failed miserably and attendance was mediocre. Not all, but enough to make me give up organizing large group events altogether.

So I decided that for the days in July where the respective activity is irrelevant to me, I’ll replace with something that IS relevant. So for the 20th day, for example, I can save that for the 24-Hour Zine Thing. Many of the other activities seem totally rad and so up my alley, and I’m very excited about it.

And this is how the idea came to me. I ought to make a list of 30 or 31 activities to keep myself crafty. The list should be comprised of more general DIY activities, and not necessarily zine-related. And I should find a month during the year where I can implement these activities and carry them out one by one.

Here is the list I came up with:

1) Photography day: Go out around town and shoot pretty pics
2) Make a large elaborate pencil drawing, and post it online
3) Make a quickie zine, in an hour or two
4) Make a comics page.
5) Write and compose a song
6) Practice on your musical instrument
7) Dye/sew/knit/modify a shirt or a skirt or a pair of pants
8) Make a patch for whatever you like and sew it on your purse or backpack
9) Make a flyer for anything you would like to promote
10) Find a new recipe for a meal or a cake and try it out
11) Make a painting
12) Write a poem
13) Write a fiction story
14) Write a journal entry by hand
15) Write a love letter to your favorite inanimate object (typewriter, bicycle, teddy bear, computer, shampoo, hammer…)
16) Start, continue or finish a novel
17) Write letters to your penpals
18) Design some envelopes and a stationary
19) Have an art night or crafternoon (personal note: I don’t mind having a small one of those with my former roomie)
20) Make a photo book of your pet. You can use new or old pictures and write a story about it.
21) Make a sculpture out of clay, playdough or fimo
22) Buy seeds and plant them in your backyard or in a flower-pot. Please keep it legal!
23) Make some jewelry – friendship bracelet, bead necklace…
24) Record a spoken word piece (personal note: and I ought to listen to it several times until I get used to the sound of my own voice, ugh…)
25) Make an interesting design for a stamp
26) Make an interesting design for a pin
27) Decorate an object in your house – mural on a wall, stickers on the fridge, painting on the dining room or living room table, a new bed cover, decorations on your books/diaries…
28) Design and make your own journal.
29) Make a split zine with your alter-ego! And if you don’t have one, write the other half as if you were your pet, or a cartoon character, or your favorite celebrity.
30) Make a collage
31) Free day! Do any DIY activity that you feel like.

Extras:
– Keep a daily log of your activities in your diary, or your blog, or for your zine.
– Take a picture of yourself doing the activities every day
– Sign up for the 24-Hour Zine Thing (and actually do it when the time comes)

Now, all I need to do is put these activities in some particular order and find a month to do them in. Preferably some time in summer because some of the activities involve being outside, and I don’t want to be caught there on a rainy day.

This so totally kicks!!! I can’t wait!

Also, if you are also interested in these activities, you may do them too, or make your own list of DIY activities to be done in one month.

Peace, love and crafts ahoy!

Drawn and Quartered

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I picked up a pen again. This time, not for longhand but for drawing.

I’ve been drawing for a long time, and did quite a bit of painting back in the day, but then I stopped because I found it easier to express myself with the written word.

Also, in my earlier days of drawing and painting, I did it without paying attention to any artistic conventions or guidelines. I never took any advanced art workshops, and even our art class in high school wasn’t mandatory. I took it mainly because I enjoyed it.

So when this one time, a professional artist came over to my parents’ house in Canada, she felt it necessary to criticise my work and say I have no artistic knowledge and therefore my paintings are crude, heavy-handed and bland. Basically, I suck.

I was rather pissed that this woman, who I don’t even know, thinks she can judge my work, just because she took some lessons that I didn’t.

“I don’t even use paintbrushes,” she said with a sneer. “I just draw with my fingers, like this.” And proceeded to demonstrate brushing on a canvas with the back of her fingers and her nails.

My love for DIY grew because of people like her who think they are better than everyone else because they are well-versed in classical techniques of drawing and painting.

I say, fuck the classics. DIY is the way to go. Art should not be restricted by rules and guidelines. Art should be based on freedom of expression and limited only by the creator’s imagination.

And so, I said “People can say my drawings suck ass and that my paintings are tasteless. But that shouldn’t stop me from drawing any more than people’s close-minded opinions stopped me from dressing the way I do and engaging in body modification.”

And I think I’m a pretty damn good artist. And that’s the only opinion that counts.

Peace, love and crafts.