28 May 2011


Today, I close my zine review blog.  I have read through my four boxes of zines and have even had the chance to review a couple of trades.  Looking over all of my zines has been a useful review of my youth.  With hindsight, I can see how important zines and the independent zine culture have been to my identity as an artist and to my motivation to continue to create and to organize creative groups. 

Tomorrow is the Ravenswing Craft & Zine DIY Fair in Minto Park in Ottawa.  We'll have over sixty vendors selling crafts and zines, live music from local bands, skill-sharing workshops and the Clothesline Project.   I'm giving out my zines to volunteers and selling the rest to help pay for fair expenses.  Check out the Info Table for a great deal on some great zines!

Keep reading and keep thinking for yourself! xoszio

27 May 2011


In John Isaacson's second issue of his Do-It-Yourself Silkscreening series, he brings us to the street to show us his experiences with joining an outdoor market to sell his hand-designed and printed t-shirts.  I enjoyed this issue because it covered most of my own experiences with selling my crafts at fairs and markets.  Overall, it can be a real pain in the ass.  However, John turns it all into a great comic that is worth the read whether you have ever tried selling your own art on the streets or not.

John's zines are among my treasures.  They are sincere and make you feel like you've become his friend by the end of every issue.  You can buy the whole series of  Do-It-Yourself Silkscreening through Microcosm, or visit Octopus Books and see if they have a copy or can order you one.  You can also visit John's page on the web.

This Sunday, you can find your own fair share of crafters and zinesters in Ottawa at the Ravenswing Craft and Zine DIY Fair.  Along with an excellent crew of artists and writers, I am anxiously putting the final touches to our plans for the fair.  With live music, skill-sharing workshops, public feminist art, crafters and zinesters, it's going to be magic. 

25 May 2011

THE ARTICHOKE [by Verwho?]

In The Artichoke, Verwho? transforms the act of eating an artichoke into sensual pleasure.  Using the image of peeling, preparing and eating an artichoke, she takes the reader through a seduction of the protagonist, removing her hard defense to uncover her softness within. 

When I received Verwho?'s zine, I wasn't expecting much.  It was short.  It was a comic.  However, when I opened it up, I was amazed.  Not only was her zine attractively illustrated, it was beautifully worded as well. 

Damn, this zinester is cool.  Check out her website and buy her art: www.verwho.com.

24 May 2011

ONCE [by Kera Willis]

Once is a record of one of Kera's visits to Burning Man.  It is told in her poetic voice, which flows from image to image and makes mystics out of her characters and narrative voice.  She is also a true artist when it comes to her zine design, using cardstock and golden ribbon to make a unique cover. 

23 May 2011


Combining portraits of Ottawa neighbourhoods with comics of encounters with people passing by while he was drawing, Colin White has created a unique document of the nation's capital.  In fact, since its publication in 2006/7, it has already become an archive of how Ottawa used to look like.  For example, he has an image of Bank Street and Laurier before the massive condo was built on that corner.  It is weird to note how quickly the city can change. 

When I worked at Octopus Books, I hand-sold Colin's zine like mad.  Any tourist who came through the doors was guaranteed to leave with his or her copy of Colin's zine by the time he or she left.  The zine shows a more intimate and gentle side of Ottawa than the typical tourist merchandise of the city, and I always felt happy knowing that Colin's portraits of my hometown were being sent out into the world for strangers to show their friends and family.

To admire more of Colin's work or to order your own copies of Cool Drawing, Dude, go to his website.  Alternately, you can visit the Ravenswing Craft and Zine DIY Fair this coming Sunday at Minto Park between 11am and 4pm.  He will be there with his zines and I am confident that he would be happy to sell you signed copies.

22 May 2011


In one week today, Minto Park in Centretown Ottawa will transform into a celebration of art, music, skill-sharing and kindness toward women.  In other words, the Ravenswing Craft and Zine DIY Fair will take over for an afternoon. 

In June 2005, Festrell (aka Faye) and I began Ravenswing as a monthly craft and zine fair at Jack Purcell Community Centre.  With a mutual love for zines and independent art, we brought together a small community of zinesters and crafters and poured our time and love into organizing the fair. 

In January 2006, Festrell made a zine for Ravenswing with vendor's bios, a list of skill-sharing workshops and short articles by her and me.  Reading this issue was nostalgic for me.  Following is an excerpt of my impressions of our second-ever Ravenswing fair:

"Everybody's spirits at the fair was uplifting and positive.  Throughout the afternoon, I was surrounded by the fantastic buzz of people chatting.  Nothing compares to that sound of several conversations merging into the noise of an event.  You can get lost in it, trying to imagine what each conversation is about.  And people were talking about all kinds of things: crafting, writing, music, weddings, the art of culture in Canadian cities, and much more. 

I have high hopes for Ravenswing.  I can dream it as a space for people to gather, to share their creations, and to make a few bucks for a drink, for groceries, or for a new project to be unveiled at the next fair.  Nothing compares to the excitement of something green and wanted by the community.  I feel gloriously grateful to be helping organize an event that creates a space for us as artists to breathe in the city."

The zine itself was well designed by Festrell, filled with great backgrounds of found images in a cut-n-paste feel.  This year, we are going into our 5th annual outdoor fair and we are fortunate to have Festrell designing its program.  We will be giving out a limited number of copies throughout the day, so come early to make sure you get your copy.

See you there!  Fore more information on Ravenswing, see www.ravenswingottawa.com.