HannahSpeltBackwards

Content Writer Hannah Miller

Category: zines

Self Publishing

When Salford Zine Library put a call out for zine makers to participate in a documentary project last year, I recorded myself answering some of their questions. Being used to being the interviewer rather than the interviewee, it was quite difficult being in front of the camera. Especially since it was just me and the camera, with no one to prompt me. I ended up being a bit of a perfectionist with my answers since I wanted to be sure to give a useable sound bite. I still didn’t know if they would use it at all, but it turns out I might make an appearance or two if the final film. I’ve popped up in a couple of preview chapters that the filmmakers have put online.


Craig Barr interviewed self-publishers across Manchester, including OWT Creative, Vapid Kitten and Manchester Municipal Design Corporation, as well as inviting international film submissions. The film is showing during an exhibition from October 15 to January 29 at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park Crescent, Salford M5 4WU.

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Ugly/Beautiful Online

The entries from the Matchbox Zine project are now online at the Australian Book Arts Journal and will be exhibited there for the next 6 months. Project organiser Linda Douglas wrote, “We were overwhelmed  with and inspired by the standard of the works we received.” My entry is one of four of the zines from this project, which were chosen to appear in the printed December Issue of the journal. The gallery of entries is well worth a look. I especially like the concept of the one titled, “Why Did I Burn All The Matches?” Some really intricate binding techniques featured as well.

No Crying Over Spilt Yolk

Dodgeball

I’ve been editing the content for Issue 2 of Still Warm and I can’t help but reminisce about our Post-Incubation issue. My story about a summer games day made it to print but hasn’t yet appeared online. Here’s an excerpt.

– The egg and spoon looses its innocence.

Childhood games: some encourage team work, some test our wobbly developing limbs, our balance and our coordination, but all of them contain a significant dose of competition. Within the blissful bubble of childhood we may manage to stay sheltered from the concept, but of course there comes a time when we realise that winning is important. Usually this message was reinforced for me with each pelt of  a dodgeball until I began going to the sick bay every time the bag of balls was brought out for PE.

Some children will triumph and some will be picked last. The egg slides from the spoon into a gloopy mess on the ground, gleefully trodden in by your peers as they pass you by.

A somewhat unhealthy combination is an uncoordinated, vertically-challenged child who stubbornly can’t diminish her competitive nature. Yes, through school I must have learnt that sport would be a lost cause and I would be better off whooping ass in the more nerdy arenas.

But I suppose it was this competitive strain that allowed me to push any memories of the misery of loss aside when my adult (sort-of) friends had the brilliant idea of reliving school sports day at our local park. It was to be a day of coloured teams, sweat bands, fun and games and coveted first place medallions. I certainly don’t regularly engage in any athletic pursuits that would give me reason to believe that I could easily take on these games with any better results than in the past.  But my inner child beckoned to me. And there was always the factor of excessive alcohol intake that may set my friends/opponents at a disadvantage.

It all started out with the retro flashback of the egg and spoon race. We lined up with our eggs and spoons at the ready and clarified the rules; one hand only, thumb not allowed to hold egg in place, other hand behind the back. Ready-Set-Go through the megaphone. And we’re off. Oops, my balance is bad and the egg rolls off. But, aha, it doesn’t break on the grass – not having far to fall due to my short stature. Pick it up. Not remembering if a fallen egg means starting again I allow myself to take in my surroundings. My peripheral vision registers a mess of limbs and colours and eggs. Instant free for all. I set off towards the half way mark, already behind the pack. From my right, an arm swings under my spoon and launches my egg through the air! I am indignantly stunned. What happened to the rules? I should have known that one adjudicator and at least twenty racers means that the appropriate level of rule monitoring would be impossible, but somehow I was still trusting the nature of my competitors. How could I be so naive? Whilst I did glance my foe, I still have eyes only for my egg, which again has not broken. Following its path along the ground I scoop it up and continue. All around me eggs are flying. I pass a marker post and am on the home stretch. I put up my defences, more aware of people around me now, but she gets me again! The same person! My egg shatters and I trudge to the finish-line in the midst of the egg and spoon chaos.

Evil grins were splashed across the faces of the cheaters. Eagerly they confronted their victims. Claims came from all around me.

“I got you”

“I just ran with my other hand under the spoon.”

“I was holding my egg and spoon in my fist.”

Thus, in the short few minutes of that race, my opponents had molested my inner child, taken her candy, cut the strings of her helium balloon and run over her dog.  But I patted her on the back, wiped away her tears and pep-talked her for the next race.

Photo credit: Lauren Olney for Still Warm

Matchbox Zine Project

That thing I made, a post ago…it’s a matchbox zine for the Australian Book Arts Journal. Obviously the challenge was to make a zine which fits inside a matchbox, but can become three dimensional when removed from the box. The matchboxes we were given in our kits were actually a little larger than average matchbox size so we didn’t have to work with the truly teeny tiny kind. I have been interested in using pop ups or paper craft with my zines for a while and so I considered making a tunnel book. But since it would be my first tunnel book attempt, I decided that I might save that idea for when I can refine it at a normal size, rather than try to squeeze it into the matchbox. I looked up different book folding and construction and settled on this style of making fold out albums – a bit of an extension on your average concertina style book. Constructed from individual squares, it leant itself well to the images I had in mind. I wanted this zine to be more visual, since words would just lead to eye strain anyway! On my recent trip to Spain and Portugal I had been fascinated with patterns and textures – particularly tiling – and I amassed quite a bit of photography featuring these patterns. In Portugal many houses have these glossy tiles on their exterior walls, that I can only describe as ugly, yet beautiful. I used these clashing photographs to make the resulting zine titled: Ugly/Beautiful. The matchbox zines will appear on the Australian Book Arts Journal website in November.

I Made Something Yesterday

More details soon.

Issue 3

Issue 3 of People I’ve Slept With was put together very quickly just after my trip to the Burning Man festival, in Nevada, USA.  It features sleepers from Black Rock City, the temporary metropolis that exists in the desert once a year for the festival.  I’ve dubbed this issue “Burners I’ve Slept With.”  The sleepers are mainly other members of our camp, Camp Maybe as well as a couple of people from neighboring camps who stopped by to crash on our couches or in our hammocks.  In this issue there are even some coupled sleepers who bunked down together.  The cover image is of Anna having a  rest stop on one of the sculptures in a desert dust storm.  It is a available at Polyester bookstore in Melbourne and I have just sent off some copies to Bird in The Hand distro.

People I’ve Slept With Gets Around

So I’ve returned from USA, and have managed to deposit People I’ve Slept With # 2 with various zine stores and distros along the way.  Most excitingly look! PISW has its own page at Stanger Danger distro. People I’ve Slept With and Still Warm (my other zine project) are also now available at: Quimbys, Chicago, IL. Needles and Pens, San Francisco, CA. Pilot Books and Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA.  Pic: Both zines on the shelf at Quimbys!

PISW Edition 2



My zine, People I’ve Slept With, is a cute little booklet about just that, but clean and sweet as can be. I just recently finished the exhausting photocopying, cutting, folding and stapling process for edition 2. I’m off to the USA tomorrow and this little booklet is coming with me, hopefully to get itself some exposure. Stranger Danger Distro is already going to take a few copies, so fingers crossed I can deposit the rest of the copies around the place. I’ll also be sleeping with new people so lots of opportunity for new pics and stories to go into edition 3.