Later this fall, we look forward to welcoming Blyth artist Kelly Stevenson to the Mercantile's Creative Space for a three-part workshop series on Zines. The series begins Oct. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. But, of course, many have asked, "What is a zine?", so we asked Kelly to share more information on zines, what inspires her in her own zine-making, and what you can expect from the workshop.
WHAT IS A ZINE?
A zine is typically a small-circulation, self-published work that consists of mostly original work - either art or writing or both. There are a lot of different genres of zines including fan zines, political ones, chapbooks for writing and art zines. They can be made by individuals or groups and while some are themed, some are just a collection of work. Zines started out as being primarily photocopied but are also done now through printers, both commercial and more art-focused such as risograph printing. When the zine movement started they were typically produced and then distributed through mail but there are now a number of stores dedicated to selling them and a multitude of maker and zine fairs set up to give makers an in-person market and to celebrate the culture of zine making.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START MAKING ZINES?
I started making zines because my friends were. Some created them for class projects and then continued to incorporate them in their own practice. I used to doodle/sketch a lot more in sketchbooks than I do now, and my work typically has a narrative to it, so the two kind of converged. I was encouraged to start putting them together and to create zines to tell stories through pictures. I also had some writing classes where the final project was to put together chapbooks - it isn’t something I’ve kept up but is on my zine to-do list to do some more zines that incorporate or focus on my writing practice.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE ZINES YOU HAVE PUBLISHED
The first zines I did were the eight-page and poster zines from one sheet of paper - a friend of mine taught me how to make them. The first few weren’t perfect but, as usual, you’re the only one who seems to notice or care. My favourite from those first few is one that was created specifically for the poster image on the inside. I spent over 300 hours on this one drawing and was looking to maybe get more than one use out of it. So the eight pages are crops from the larger piece which is on the inside. My zines from the last few years have taken on a format more like a booklet of drawings instead of the fold out. It allows for me to include more images and play around with the story and sizes a little more. These ones include references of old family photos, a series of drawings I did for a show that then became a zine, and some character studies.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT CREATING ZINES?
What’s been nice about having zines a part of my practice is it’s almost a break. You get to typically work smaller, which takes less time, and if you have a concrete idea, you can do all the work for one zine in about a week or two - the time it would sometimes take me to do one larger piece. Another reason I’ve continued to do it is I think art should be accessible. I can produce these booklets of work and sell them at a price that’s affordable and accessible to people who maybe like my work but can’t afford a larger piece. Due to a lot of my larger work being socially and politically based, I kind of feel like I have a responsibility then to make things that the average person can interact with and not buy into the idea everything needs to be high art and only one group of people should be able to appreciate and own art.
DO YOU HAVE FAVOURITE ZINES FROM OTHER MAKERS?
A large part of what I love about the DIY and maker culture is that a lot of people have different parts to their practice. Many of the people on this list started off making zines, and while some still do, they’ve also branched out into other parts of creating.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM YOUR CLASS?
What we’ll be learning is the eight-page zine that folds out into a poster. It’s the format I started with and one of simpler ways to layout a zine, especailly if you want to go directly from making to printing without using Photoshop and spending hours laying out and editing images. There’s a folding technique involved both in the beginning to determine where your pages go/line up and at the end to put the final product together. Participants will be encouraged to either draw or collage or write if they choose in the creating of their own zine. I’ll then be taking those finished sheets to the printer and having copies made to trade amongst the group in the hopes that there are still a few for each person to take home of their own.
A round-up of maker inspiration near and far...
When we began preparations for our first ever Night Market, we could never, ever have imagined how well-received this event would be. Like starting anything new, you never really know how it's going to go...until you try, of course. But the anxieties that always come with anything new were quickly eased once we had our extraordinarily talented makers settled into place behind the walls of the Huron Historic Gaol, a secure flow of electricity running to all our vendors, and a gorgeous summer evening to enjoy being outside together. And the crowds started coming...and coming...and coming. Over 1,100 of you came out that night, blowing any expectations we had for the event completely out of the water! What a joy it was to have so many people gather together in one space to celebrate creativity of all kinds.
And we want to say thank you:
It's almost here! Our first ever Night Market! After long dreaming of hosting such an event, we can't wait to welcome you to the courtyards of the Huron Historic Gaol which will be transformed into a fun, creative atmosphere. The market will feature a variety of hands-on activities to help visitors explore their own creativity, as well as a number of talented, local artisans selling their handmade items and local food makers selling delicious treats and bites to eat. The evening will also feature buskers throughout the evening and performances by local groups Dames Rocket, who will be playing at 8:30 p.m., and Roadside Glow, who will be playing at 9:30 p.m.
But before you come, here is what you need to know:
Who will be there and what will they be selling:
Nothing says summer's here like seeing the first locally-grown strawberries at the area's Farmers' Markets. The berries are ripe and ready in Huron County, so let's celebrate!
We are so excited to be in the midst of planning our first ever Night Market! This exciting new event takes place Wednesday, July 19, 5:30-10:30 p.m., when we transform the inner courtyards of the Huron Historic Gaol into a fun, creative atmosphere as we bring together local entertainment, food vendors, and makers of all kinds. This event is FREE and all are welcome to explore their creativity and support local makers.
Are you a local maker interested in participating in this event? Please fill out this application and submit as soon as possible, as space is limited.
Are you interested in busking at this event? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tells us all about your talents.
We will be updating details on who will be joining us as they are confirmed. Check our website or Facebook page regularly for full details.
Ann Gibson, of Upcycle Lifestyle, has recently become a 100% waste-free handmade business and she shares with us the importance of reducing textile waste.
Tells us about your business. How and why did you start Upcycle Lifestyle?
Upcycle Lifestyle is a handmade business focused on sustainably produced, reusable alternatives to single-use products and long-lasting children's clothing. All of the products are made by me in my home sewing studio from new and upcycled materials with 100% waste-free production. I always wondered what happened to the ugly sweaters and other textiles at thrift stores that no one wanted. I wanted to help reduce the amount of textiles being sent to landfills each year. So I began "rescuing" the ugly sweaters from thrift stores and making them into blankets that would be loved, cherished and well-used; the first Upcycle Lifestyle product. My vision for Upcycle Lifestyle has always been to reduce consumer waste through reusable alternatives and repurposing fabrics.
What led you down the path to becoming waste-free?
Throughout my studies in Environmental Engineering and looking ahead to my Masters in Environment and Sustainability in the fall, my passion has always been waste management. I have a wide range of experience related to waste management from working at a landfill to environmental compliance reporting and consulting. This year I decided to take reducing consumer waste one step further with my business. I made the conscious decision to make my production 100% waste-free. Through the introduction of new products, market research and community outreach, I have achieved that goal.
How do you define waste-free?
Basically, all raw materials that come into my studio leave as product, aside from a small amount of recycling from the packaging materials. The smaller products, reusable facial round and nursing pads, are made from the scraps left over from the clothing. Once the scraps are too small to sew with, they are used to stuff dog and cat beds which are donated to the Stratford SPCA.
What have been some of the challenges along the way?
Researching ways to deal with the textile waste was definitely the biggest challenge. We are increasingly aware that we over-produce waste but finding feasible solutions is where we struggle as a society. Most of the research I found would be more applicable in a large city, where drop-off locations for textile recyclers are available. The City of Markham has already diverted 1.4 million kilograms of textiles from the landfill in their first year with a textile recycling program, so there clearly is a need. This forced me to become more creative in my search for solutions and think more critically about the problem; shifting my thinking from where to take it to what can I make with it. Once I had decided to use the scraps as stuffing, the next challenge was to find a shelter that was interested in the donation of beds.
What have some of the benefits of going waste-free been?
Being able to share the importance of reducing textile waste as well as replacing single-use products with customers is a huge benefit of moving to waste-free production. As a consumer it is important to know where your products are coming from, how workers are treated, and the environmental impacts of the production as well as the product itself.
What advice would you give to other makers thinking of becoming waste-free?
Research and be creative in your solutions. There likely isn't a simple answer to the problem or we would all be doing it already. Don't give up when you find barriers, find a way to work around them.
Take a break from your day today with this beautiful colouring page designed exclusively for the Makers Mercantile by local artist Kelly Stevenson. Copies of the colouring page are now available at the Mercantile for you to take home and colour your stress away. Or, download a printable copy here. And once you've coloured your page, we would love to see it! Feel free to share your work on social media and tag us #goderichmakers.
Click here to learn more about what is happening this week at the Mercantile to celebrate our first anniversary.
"Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” - Jane Jacobs
Jane's Walk events return to Goderich May 6-7 and everyone is welcome to come out and explore different aspects of the town through a variety of community events.
Jane’s Walk is an annual celebration of the ideas and legacy of Jane Jacobs, a well-known urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. Each year, Jane’s Walk events are hosted across the world the first weekend of May and focus on getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours through free walking tours led by locals.
This year's walks, sponsored by the Maitland Trail Association, provide opportunities to explore the Courthouse Park Arboretum, the history of the Goderich Harbour, Goderich through the lens of R.R. Sallows, and the Maitland Woods. Full details of each walk include:
TREES AND THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE
When: Saturday, May 6, 10-11:30 a.m.
Meet at: South Street Plaza Courthouse Square.
Walk Leader: Martin Quinn
Tour the Courthouse Arboretum and discuss the tree varieties and the importance of this area to the vibrancy of the community. Then stroll down West Street to Harbour Park and look closely at the rejuvenation of this natural landscape.
GODERICH HARBOUR: ORIGINS, TRANSFORMATIONS & EVOLUTION
When: Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, 2-3 p.m.
Meet at: Marine Museum, Goderich Beach.
Walk Leader: Paul Carroll.
Explore the evolution of the river and harbour and consider the challenges faced by the entrepreneurs who built our waterfront.
GODERICH THROUGH THE LENS OF R.R. SALLOWS
When: Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Meet at: R.R. Sallows Gallery, Goderich Library
Walk Leader: Colleen Maguire
Join Mr. Reuben R. Sallows for a walk "back in time" around the Square as he recounts his life in the emerging Port of Goderich.
MAITLAND WOODS WALK
When: Sunday, May 7, 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m.
Meet at: Knights of Columbus Centre parking lot.
Walk Leader: Sjani Craig and Wendy Hoernig
Leisurely 1-hour guided walks of our in town forest. Walks set out from the Knight’s of Columbus parking lot on Parson’s street. MTA Plant Sale runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information about this event, including walks that are happening in communities all over the world, visit http://www.janeswalk.org/
By the time March rolled around, we were so keen to rip down the handmade snowflakes that hung in our window displays. We were feeling more than done with the season and needed some colour...fast! This quick and easy DIY was just what we needed to add bursts of spring colours to our windows. And thinking we are not the only ones looking for bursts of colour this time of year, we thought we would share with you this tutorial to help you make your own.