This month is October so I decided to do a Halloween theme on my poster.
This year was my first year taking part in the Plymouth Art Weekender with my own art project. I worked with other young artists from YEA Plymouth to put together a zine, YEA ’17, full of our art and interviews. I was the project manager and zine editor and we have been working on the project for the last couple of months. We applied for funding from Vital Sparks and Horizon and we were able to create 200 copies of our zine, including handmade badges, to give out for free for PAW17. We numbered all the copies because they are limited edition and exclusive to the festival. We delivered small handmade boxes full of YEA ’17 zines to some of the Plymouth Art Weekender venues this morning, including Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth College of Art, and Plymouth College of Art Pre-Degree Centre (my own college).
Our group was also offered the opportunity to have a table event in the Plymouth Athenaeum. So today we made up our table, then we spent the day giving away copies of YEA ’17! We also sold solo zines (including my Gurt Noodle #0) and YEA Plymouth badges to raise money for future projects and materials. We put a section of our Zine Library out on display for the public to have a look through and brought a typewriter and zinemaking equipment for people to play with.
This was the first time we had ever had our own table at an event/fair, and even though there weren’t many of us to share the load we still had an amazing time. It gave me an idea of what manning a stall is like, which I really needed since I have my very own stall at this October’s DevCon! We had to sit and wait for visitors, and when they came we had to talk about our group and our project. We met some interesting people and they had a lot of questions for us, especially about how YEA Plymouth began. I was also interviewed by Eleanor (Ellie) Burfitt for her film about the Weekender.
Also in the Athenaeum, there were tables for the board game Flikkin, which has been invented by Plymouth artist Holly Knowles, tables for a book-making workshop by Muster Press, and a table for the Penryn Handling Collection.
The Penryn Handling Collection is a “collection of objects made by artists, using traditional and modern craft skills in untraditional ways”, and was developed as part of the Penryn Arts Festival (2017). Visitors were allowed to touch, play, read and talk about the objects on the table. Some of the most interesting pieces on display were a giant blue plywood hand by the Juneau Project and a travel wallet by David Shrigley.
The book-making workshop was organised and led by Muster Press. A few YEA Plymouth members (including myself) took part in this. Our theme was ‘trees and growth’, and we created stamps of trees. We made the stamps by carving stamp foam with scissors, pens and scalpels. We then stamped our creations into books in arrangements, to seem as if we were “growing” a forest.
It was refreshing to try work on objects normally seen in backgrounds, as I struggle with drawing backgrounds and need practice. We sat round the table and formed a production line, which was fun to work together with other people I had never met before, and the books we created are really beautiful. We weren’t able to bring the books home as they needed some finishing but the guys at Muster Press are going to send them to us later and I will post pictures then.
Flikkin is a ‘Flicking Counters’ game, and the first to three goals wins. Lots of people (even complete strangers) played together and bonded over it. Some interesting facts about Flikkin are:
- There are only six boards in the world (so far) and the creator Holly Knowles brought three along today.
- As well as being the creator of Flikkin, Holly is also the current world champion!
- My dad, brother, and little sister loved it!
Jenson (my brother and another YEA Plymouth member) demonstrated how to use one of our typewriters to lots of people. Younger children were really fascinated by it but lots of people had a go. One of the people there put together all the words and phrases that different people had written into a minizine of found text.
YEA Plymouth members also helped visitors to create their very own minizines, and we added photocopies of them to our Zine Library. We have eight new minizines from this event.
It was a long day but a really good experience being part of the Weekender as an artist and as an organiser. I got to participate in a workshop and meet a lot of people. We sold a good number of Gurt Noodle and Sweet Tooth zines and our badges and I feel that the event was successful!
Find out more about the Plymouth Art Weekender here.
My blog posts from this year’s PAW event:
My previous PAW blog posts:
In April, I set up my first Zine Workshop in collaboration with MESH at ThinqTanq, Plymouth. I didn’t charge a fee to take part because my intention was to introduce zinemaking to people who hadn’t tried it before as well as attract current zinemakers, and I thought it would be more likely people would want to come and have a go if it was free! I created a “zero” issue of my zine Gurt Noodle (issue one is in its early stages) to give out as a simple guide to zinemaking for people who had never done zinemaking before. In this issue I included a brief history of zines, some ideas for new zinemakers (zinesters) and instructions on how to make a minizine. You can look through my portfolio for this issue in the video below:
I chose to do my zine in a comic style because I am an illustrator who loves reading comics and drawing characters! One of the characters is a comic version of myself and the other is one I invented. I knew I would be printing in black and white (because of the costs involved) so I used different crosshatching styles to provide texture, shade and ‘colour’. On the back cover I included a folding guide to make a minizine. I packaged an A6 copy of Gurt Noodle Issue Zero with a minizine I had made earlier (each pack got either Robot Ads and Odd Creatures or The Tale Of The Girl Who Ordered Zelda: BOTW But Could Not Play It Because The Console Broke) and a handmade Gurt Noodle badge in a clear plastic envelope.
Around 14 people took part in the first workshop, including some professional local illustrators and a number of young artists. A few participants had made zines before but others weren’t completely sure what a zine was. Everyone seemed to like my Gurt Noodle package (I have now given away around 200 of these all over Plymouth!). At the workshop I demonstrated how to fold a minizine and helped some of the participants to come up with ideas. I also made a few minizines myself.
As we worked, we shared and passed around the zines we had made or were still working on. Everyone made at least one design for a badge, and I used my badge-making machine (a birthday present!) to make those into badges that they could wear home. At the end of the workshop the feedback was really good and everyone wanted to come back again. Most of the participants had made minizines on topics as diverse as The Short Lived Life of Hairyworm John or How To Function As A Human Being. We left with bundles of minizines and ideas for our next projects and I felt the entire workshop had been a huge success!
In May, I organised a second workshop, again supported by MESH. This time, I had to charge a small entry fee towards the (discounted by ThinqTanq) venue hire, MESH provided snacks and drinks, and I brought all my zinemaking resources from home to share (vintage typewriters, white paper, black pens, scissors, stapler etc). I made a new flyer (above) and this time I drew a typewriter as I was hoping to entice some writers into coming along, to hopefully provoke some collaborative work between them and the illustrators who were already planning to come.
Again there were around fourteen participants but not exactly the same people – a couple of different professional illustrators came to take part and a couple of new young people came to give zinemaking a try, but for the most part the participants from the first workshop came back again. Although I was intending to introduce some teamwork exercises, unfortunately I didn’t have a very good plan to encourage work crossovers and collaborations, and no new writers came along. It didn’t seem to matter though as everyone seemed quite happy with the work they were doing and with the workspace. I have also collected quite a decent collection of zines (mostly perzines or comic style zines, and many are by local zinesters) for my Zine Library (available to browse at the workshops) and the participants seemed to really enjoy looking through those.
This time the (many!) minizines made by participants included Perfect Pairs, The 90’s: Yay or Nay, Spider and The Many Artstyles Of Me. I made some more minizines of my own including Link Responds To Things and Periods Suck. My brother also finished his first solo zine Sweet Tooth that he started before the first workshop and I added a copy to the Zine Library.
The next Zine Workshop is on the 24th June (TOMORROW!). I plan to take along some short creative exercises for anyone who would like to try those. I would like to collaborate with some of the other participants on a project, so I am taking some ideas for how we could do that. I hope that previous participants come back and that new people join us!
There is a fee of £2 towards the venue hire, but there will be tea, coffee, biscuits, and zinemaking resources (such as paper, spare pens and pencils, scissors, and glue) all there to use for free. I will also be taking my badge machine (making a badge will cost 50p to cover the cost of the materials) and more copies of my Gurt Noodle Issue Zero for anyone who doesn’t have one yet! If you or anyone you know may be interested, you can find more details and book on the MESH Eventbrite link or you can contact me via email or Instagram.
Thank you to:
and to Everyone who has participated in the workshops so far!