The Sonoma County Library will host a unique online event on Saturday – their first-ever zine festival, with zine creators and artists talking about their craft and how zines are an ideal vehicle for political expression and personal.
Zines are small, expressive, self-published print works. Unlike magazines, they are non-commercial and produced at low prices. As small-run publications, they include art, appropriate images, poetry, stories, and other ephemera.
They also often have a political message, which makes Saturday, four days after an extremely competitive and polarizing election, a great time for the library’s Zine Fest.
“Right now we’re seeing what it’s like to be in a state of suspended animation, where it’s really hard to get a sense of agency,” artist and writer Tessa Hulls said. “One of the ways we can feel in control of our lives is to feel that we have a way to shape our own stories and to share our own stories.”
Hulls is currently working on a graphics memory, “Feeding Ghosts”, and is one of five virtual Zine Fest speakers. The festival program consists of three one-hour sessions, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. The event is free.
The first session will cover the process of artistic creation. A second session will be a discussion, with Hulls and artist Maia Kobabe, on zines as a channel for self-empowerment and political opinions. The final session will be a demonstration on how to create your own zine.
Zine Starter Kits are available for children between the ages of 12 and 18 for curbside pickup at branches of the Sonoma County Library. Kits include a template, paper, Sharpie, glue stick, sticker, and stamped envelope for submitting zines to library archives, if desired. Participants can also submit digital scans of their finished zines to the library.
Festival speakers all live or are connected to Sonoma County.
“You don’t necessarily have to go to New York or Oakland to find this community,” said Meredith Morgan, a Zine Fest organizer. “There is a much wider variation in voices that brings a lot of strength and beauty to the Sonoma County community.”
Morgan added that each speaker will talk about the “intersectional identities they bring to their work,” whether their medium is drawing, design, writing or some other creative outlet.
The event will also have translations into Spanish, as part of the Sonoma County Library’s efforts to be more inclusive in its programming, said Zayda Delgado, an event organizer at the library.
“We wanted this to be an event for all ages, and we want our Spanish speaking community to be able to truly participate in all of our programming going forward. We think interpreting in Spanish is a first step, but we really want to create more programs in Spanish, ”said Delgado.
Leah Yael Levy, who will lead the demonstration on how to create a zine, is a multimedia artist and art teacher. She says zine writing is by nature a relaxing and expressive process for people of all skill levels.
“You don’t have to be a great artist to make a great newspaper comic. Plus, it doesn’t have to be awesome. Just the process of making it feel good, ”Levy said. “It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece to communicate a feeling.
Participation in Zine Fest is limited to 100 participants per session, but sessions will be recorded and available on YouTube after the event. For those eager to get started, the library’s website has a list of fanzine resources, including books and articles, curated by the staff. Visit sonomalibrary.org/zinefest2020 to learn more about the festival and to consult the resource guide.