Last Saturday I spent a deliriously hot afternoon digging through my closet trying to create additional space for the influx of new media coming into my home.
When I opened a small cardboard box, the scent hit me like a hammer: the familiar smell of paper, ink and toner.
The scent of Kinko’s (or some other long gone copy shop) mingled with the click of staplers and the rip of scissors on paper. In short, the scent of zines being made and the sounds of DIY: “do it yourself.”
This weekend, for two days only at the Charleston Zine Fest, you, too, can bear witness to the fruits and labors of talented and driven artists, zine-makers, and DIYers and also walk away with a handcrafted, hand-assembled creation from the Southeast’s top talent.
But first, a primer on how a “zine” differs from other artistic media. Unlike its lengthier stepsister the magazine, zines are specifically content-driven, pored over with passion, handmade and assembled, usually by a single artist.
Zines are typically smaller than magazines and hardcover books and may include color pages; it depends on the subject and the budget.
And zines have a distinctive aesthetic to them.
They’re assembled with minimal cost and provide the artist or publisher with an outlet for their enthusiasm and artwork.
Zines feel handcrafted, which makes them as unique as an individual piece of artwork.
As this year kicks off the inaugural Zine Fest locally and showcases independent artists and publishers, you are bound to experience some zine diversity.
Most artists have varied and independent backgrounds, some devoted entirely to DIY culture and others not.
For example, Megan Summers, a public librarian who explores rich dichotomies in her zines, will showcase work alongside Jesse H. Mead, a self-publisher of graphic novels and a graduate of The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.
Additional artists have their own takes on their zine’s subject matter.
Steven and Casi Cline use their zines to showcase collages, drawings and found text, while Scott Hensel writes and draws autobiographical comics and collects them in a zine format.
The zines you’ll come across at the Charleston Zine Fest are as unique as their creators.
Additionally there will be lectures and demos.
So just think, you could arrive for the crafts and leave with knowledge and inspiration.
What: Charleston Zine Fest
Where: Pulp Gallery, 535 King St., Charleston
When: 7-10 p.m., July 29; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. July 30; opening 8-9:30 p.m. July 29
A new group exhibition will be on display at The Southern, an exhibit showcasing artists and their contemporary fiber abilities, which is a fancy way of saying textile art.
But New Weave is the kind of exhibit born out of tradition and then made brand-new by techniques and the adventuresome spirit of the three artists on display: Kristy Bishop, Camela Guevera and Judit Just.
Through sewing, hand weaving, design, dyeing and embroidery, the three artists take their direct sensibilities and create a new approach to a craft that is rich with history and rife with distinction. Everything old really can be new again.
What: New Weave exhibit
Where: The Southern, 2 Carlson Court, Charleston
When: July 29-Sept. 4, opening 8-9:30 p.m. July 29
Reach Scott Elingburg at email@example.com.