Zines come in all different shapes and sizes: miniature, medium or large. Handwritten or typed. Pieced together by collaging. Hand drawn or designed digitally. Each zine is different. A zine can be produced alone or in a large group. They can even be a collection of multiple elements using blocks of texts and images to create a brand new image or meaning.
Over 500 zines were made at the 24- hour Zine Challenge on Friday, Feb. 16. First time and experienced zine makers came together to create their own personalized zines for the challenge. The New Paltz Zine Library started the 24 Hour Zine Challenge two years ago to share ideas and engage with the larger New Paltz community. Kate Larson, a New Paltz alumna and zine maker helped coordinate the promotion of the challenge and zine swap. The library printed and assembled 20 free copies for those who completed their zines in the 24 hours.
Zine makers participating in the challenge went to Lagusta’s Luscious Commissary a few days after to see the final printed copies of the zines. Larson booked bands to play at the night of the event at Commissary, where coffee was served alongside a reading of the newly published zines. Commissary has a zine locker in the shop and Larson has been keeping her personal zines in there.
Markers, piles of magazines, scissors, and glue sticks flooded the tables at the challenge in the library. Along with supplies and magazine clippings being shared, an important element of the zine community is that zines can be traded or swapped.
“It was a huge experience trying to find things from completely different sources work together. You would have a developing theme. It was a collaborative effort but at the same time you’re scurrying trying to compete,” said Tania Velin, second-year graphic design major.
Time and creative energy are essential in creating a zine. Having a central theme to your zine is common in the process, as many zines have different parts. The do-it-yourself (DIY) art of zines is part of what makes zines intimate, since they often include personal experiences and experimental concepts.
“When I was making my zine I took a lot of inspiration from meditation and finding yourself. I am into early modern art and tarot card readings so I used crystal and music [images]. I incorporated a lot of different things like poems inside,” said Sacha Fleming, second-year adolescent education major. “We all have this goal of completing this zine and having our voice be heard.”
The Zine Library and the Zine Club started in 2014 after the college hosted a lecture from zine librarian Jenna Freedman and local artist Jacinta Bunnell. Students wanted to create their own zines and share diverse experiences in an art form. Larson donated over 40 zines to the library in 2014.
Now, the Zine Library has over 630 zines and 100 of them are by creators in the Hudson Valley. You can borrow up to 10 zines at a time using your student ID card. Zines in the library have been created by students, faculty and community members. To get started on your own zine, kits and typewriters are available for checkout at the library. The zine librarians encourage students to schedule a consultation to bounce ideas off of each other and make their visions come alive.
“Lots of zines center on the identity of politics, which feels especially important as students come to college during such formative years,” Larson said. “They are usually made as an avenue to exchange ideas, exchange personal stories, and spread content out into a world that may normally not receive it otherwise.”
A quick way to find out about new things happening can be with zines. Zines can be made quickly so content can be current. Also, the medium is easily accessible for everyone because all you need is an idea, paper and access to basic craft tools.
“The most important part of creating a zine is sharing it. Which means making copies, folding and stapling them, and getting them out into the world,” said zine librarian, Madeline Veitch.
Zines at the challenge touched upon the topics of advocacy, feminism, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the #MeToo Movement, love and awareness. The zine maker can try new techniques with materials, and share their own ideas and strong passions they may have for a subject. Zines can be about anything from instruction guides, DIY projects, social trends, life hacks, oppression, intersectionality and gerrymandering. Don’t forget the zines about history, coloring books, erotica, poetry, and fanfiction.
“The revolution within zines as a format, is the radical notion that everybody has access to authorship,” said zine librarian, Lydia Willoughby. “Our collections are only as strong and interesting, diverse and powerful, beautiful and challenging, as our community is engaged in the reading and circulating of ideas.”
The Zine Club meets every other Thursday from 7:30-8:30 p.m. You can connect with the club and the library on Facebook and on Instagram (@npzines).