This past Sunday, I attended AU’’s first ever ZineFest, which was co-hosted by AmLit in collaboration with Homie House Press. The event – Spills: A ZineFest – was an interactive and charming opportunity for creatives from around D.C and across the east coast to showcase their work and engage with intrigued students and patrons.
Beforehand, I admittedly knew absolutely nothing about zines. I wasn’t even quite sure how you pronounced it (answer: it’s just like maga-ZINE). None of the mattered though, because attending ZineFest required no prior knowledge. In fact, the entire occasion served as learning experience for everyone, whether a vendor or a spectator.
Turns out, zines are essentially self-published, small-circulation booklets that typically focus on topics which are left out of mainstream media. The afternoon started off with a zine making session, courtesy of the lovely team from Home House Press. This exercise was sort of an icebreaker as well, as we were encouraged to partner up and get personal with one another with some guiding questions: “How do you define the word ‘homie?’” “What about this person reminds you of home?” “What is home to you?” It was both a bonding experience and a nice way to get the ball rolling. Shortly thereafter, MindFull Collab led a workshop on bookbinding, which was personally a lot more difficult than I had expected. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining challenge for me and everyone who participated.
Throughout the day, vendors such as Blobs Feelings Things, Ashley Llane, and Skinny Dipper Mag tabled their work for the public eye. As to be expected, each creator had their own sort of central theme. It was apparent through their art, which was a representation of their interests, ideals, and personalities. There were some other collaborative activities like a photo booth set up by Black Boy Feelings as well as a site-specific collage and portraiture by TE APRECIO.
Something I found particularly interesting was a lecture led by BYP100 DC’s MelaNation. The activist organization focuses on establishing freedom and liberation for all Black people, which is done in one way by educating others and approaching issues through a “Black queer feminist lens.” The group took some time during the fest to introduce this ideal and explain how they use it through their work. This especially peaked my interest and I suppose I really appreciated seeing people who were so dedicated to something I care about.
AmLit’s own Claire Osborn, whom is practically bursting with knowledge about graphic design and all things Adobe, ran a tutorial on how to make your own zine via Adobe InDesign. This one was honestly just as hard as I thought it would be, but Claire’s a pretty great teacher, so I made it through somehow.
Overall, it was a stellar day filled with creativity, community, and fun, fun, fun! Can’t wait for the next one!