Sfzine1

Sfzine2

By Arwen O’Reilly

I stopped by the SF zine fest this weekend, and it was a blast! There were definitely a bunch of traditional zines (photocopied comix etc) but a lot of overlap in the Craft and Make space as well. I noticed a lot of zinesters brought along a crafty spouse to share a table with, so there would be a pile of beautifully crafted zines next to some cute felted creatures or great purses made from old pillow cases or notebooks covered with recycled Berkenstock stock.

I was also surprised to see some letterpress zines, some of which were extremely creative. Everyone pointed towards Karen Switzer, of Craftycards.net and the Ker-Bloom zine, which is celebrating its 10th birthday! She’s apparently the queen of letterpress and works out of Berkeley and Oakland. Check out her projects at http://www.craftycards.net/projects.

One woman had these great booklets called “typecritters” for different fonts, where she had quite beautiful abstract images on each page that she made just from turning the letters and combining them. Many of the shapes are gorgeous and don’t look like they’re made from letters at all. See an example here. If the letterpress zines got me thinking about the physical act of laying out words, these great books got me excited about the other possibilities of type.

I loved Dana Steffe’s wonderful cards and prints made with a Gocco printer. (For more about this great but now-rare machine, see Save Gocco or our feature on Gocco in the first issue of Craft Magazine, due out next month!) She had a wonderful and whimsical print of a whale full of balloons intended to deter people from releasing balloons into the sky–a really charming way to take on environmental issues. Her website is great, too: http://stillvalleydrive.com.

And I ALSO ran into an old friend of mine from high school who I literally have not seen in 10 years. She’s working with another old friend of mine on the School Daze Tour Zine (driving around the country in a bus to various zine conventions). Rachel has this really cool ribbon book: http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/1778931.

My favorite part, though, were these two women dressed up like girl scouts who run Pod Post , which tries to revive traditional letter-writing and book-making skills. They have a set of merit badges for bookmaking, zine-making and letter-writing and a Mail Art Bento Box, which has all sorts of supplies, goodies, etc for spicing up your letters. They’re both heavily involved in bookmaking (at the Center for the Book in SF and repairing books at the Stanford Library) and have totally inspired me at least to start utilizing the USPS again.

Anyway, lots of fun, and a lot of inspiration…

You can see the rest of the photos here. – Link.