Chapter 6 – The Crafting of Contemporary Fanzines
I’ve delved further into the world of zines today through reading a section of the controversial ‘Fanzines’, by Teal Triggs.
Since the early 1990s, the zine culture and craft culture can be seen to be linked. Triggs includes an anecdote, sending us to the second annual London Zine Symposium, where behind all of the zine trading, a group of young men and women could be found sat in a circle and urm… knitting.
This is where we start to see the relationship between zines and crafts; crafts were always seen as a feminine thing, but amidst the punk rebellion, and the third feminist wave, crafts became a form of creative expression. Thus fighting the stereotype.
Bruce Metcalf describes craft as being defined by its use, by its past, as something handmade, intimate and medium-specific. These familiar words can be seen to also describe zines; ‘intimate graphic objects’.
With the union of craft and zines, How-To zines were born. These told people how to get involved with zines – encouraging people to make their own, with information on paper types, binding techniques and other production methods. Other types of How-To zines included those which craftsmen poured their passion for their trade or hobby into. Examples include gardening, knitting, cross stitching, soap making and jewelry making.
Teal Triggs also explores the evolution of zines; from ‘visually chaotic’ pieces of amateur experimentation and passion, to the later version of zines in the 2000s which suddenly became more pristine and uncluttered, more like an artist’s book. In more recent times, zines can be found in digital formats through the use of Youtube, social media sites, and blogging sites. Additionally the method of trading zines has changed, fewer of these trading fairs, and more online orders of zines from websites such as Etsy, does this go against a zines origins, or simply bring it into the 21st century?