Who are you? Where are you based?
I’m Arwitch & Creatrix Khiri Lee (she/her). I’m a fulltime artist, balancing my time between zine writing, performance art, mixed media, and live streaming on Twitch. I live in Sunny Boulder, CO with my highschool sweetheart, and do most of my work out of my home studio, which is a transformed extra bedroom.
What are zines to you?
Zines are an opportunity to express yourself. I was first drawn to zines as a way to share all the random magickal thoughts I had in my head.
The ability for anyone to write down and self-print/publish and share their thoughts, musings, truths, is so inspiring to me! I have been exposed to so many interesting ideas that I never would have encountered in mainstream media.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I never had an aha! Moment with zines. They had been on the periphery of my knowledge for a long time, and I know I encountered poetry zines in bookstores, political pamphlets left in coffee shops, and was gifted a zine at Burning Man. However, I’m no longer sure what prompted me to make my first zine back in 2018 after years of knowing about them or when I truly learned about their existence.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I make three zines. Two are printed at a shop, and the third is more spur of the moment. I write THRIFTWITCH every six weeks. It is an intimate zine exploring magick & goddesses with unique art, recipes, poems, and rituals. The 2019 cycle focused on the Wiccan wheel of the year with 8 issues. 2020 features the Elements, air, fire, water, earth, and more. Current Issues include Air and Fire. The art in THRIFTWITCH is more detailed, with each page being a complete piece of mixed media art.
52 Facets is a weekly zine, which I just started publishing digitally in light of COVID-19. The project is centered around exploring Crystals & their Magick, featuring a different crystal, mineral, or gem each week. Current issues include Selenite, Moonstone, Amazonite, and Garnet. In 2019 I completed a similar project called 52 Feathers, in which I explored a different bird messenger over the course of 52 issues.
And the third kind of zine I make is called a HeArt Zine. First developed as part of a mixed-media creative playshop for “The Body Now” Summer Retreat, I wanted to expose more people to the magick of zine making. The project involves making a piece of mixed media art, folding it up, and then composing a found poem, all guided by the heart. I’ve lead the playshop a couple times and every HeArt Zine I’ve created has been a unique uncovering. My latest HeArt Zine, BRAVO! is available as a download to my Patrons of Patreon.
What inspires you to create zines?
It’s a small way for me to stay engaged with creativity every single day. In 2019 when I concocted my plan to write 52 Feathers, a weekly zine about Birds, I was looking for a way to be more prolific and to just make A LOT more art. I also wanted to deepen my connection to ritual, nature, and magick. And it worked!
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
Zines are not pretentious or exclusive. Anyone can participate. Anyone can create one. And as I’ve gotten more involved in zine culture I’ve met and collaborated with a ton of amazing people who are simply excited to share. Since the overhead is low the pressure is low. I especially love the culture of trading zines. Each one is so unique.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I host rituals for the Pagan sabbats of the year, Imbolc, Beltane, Yule, etc… on my land, and many of the people who started coming were interested to know more, but didn’t necessarily know where to go to learn more. So I created THRIFTWITCH as a Yule gift for everyone in my circle, which expanded on the meaning of the Solstice. I loved it! So I kept making them, and now I seemingly can’t stop.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
For 52 Facets I begin by meditating on the crystal for that week, I have the year mapped out to make sure birthstones and crystals for the Zodiac are aligned to when the zine will be released. For example this week I am writing about Pyrite, which is a power stone for Taurus. Both the Sun and Moon will be entering Taurus this week so the meaning is potent. I will meditate on Pyrite and make a list of my own associations. Then I will make the art for the backgrounds of the pages in my studio. Once that is complete I will do a little research, reading about the crystal in my collection of occult books and sometimes the internet.
Once I have an idea of the themes I begin writing.
Each issue includes a small introduction, almost a mini perzine within the rest of the writing, which touches on the moment I’m living right now and how that relates to the crystal. Then I write an invocation for the crystal. After that, the format is looser. Each issue includes two or three “articles” with different ways to incorporate the stone into your life. Sometimes I explore potent myths associated with the stone, or ways to incorporate the stone into tools, or accessible meditations. Each issue has something new to offer.
After everything is written I port all the art and writing into a template I have in Google Draw. I realize using more sophisticated software could make my life easier, but using open software feels more in the spirit of zines lineage. Once everything is looking complete I print the zine at my local shop and fold them up. I sell all my zines on Etsy and also send them as perks to Patrons on Patreon. I use a one-page format, so all eight pages fit onto one piece of paper.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I hope my zines connect people to the Magick of the world. There is endless creative potential just waiting to be tapped. When I was younger I so desperately wanted magick to be real, and now I know it is! It’s not the flashy explosion of magic missile, but it is a simple synchronicity, a sense of gratitude, and a connection to nature that I uncover every week in my zines. And each time I write a zine I hope that it brings art and magick into another person’s life.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
I recently met the ladies over at Tiny Spoon Lit Mag. They are doing really cool stuff with their zine and postings on Instagram. It’s upbeat and invites participation in the culture of zines. I especially love their mini playlists that they post every once in a while, which include three or four songs on a theme. It’s really easy to digest in our fast-paced lives. @tinyspoonlitmag
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Go for it! There are very few rules and so many of us are simply excited to read what you have to say. If you aren’t sure where to start but want to make something check out my HeArt Zine playshops. A bunch of the people who have participated in them have told me they knew they wanted to create something but didn’t know where to start. Now that they are past the hurdle of creating their first zine the floodgates are open. It’s exciting to see.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
I got inspired scrolling through zines on Pinterest. It’s where I learned the booklet fold that I now use in all my zines. The simplicity of one piece of paper folded up sparks Joy in my heart, and I’m thankful to have learned it. Also learning hashtags that are active in the zine community to meet other zinesters on social media is great. This past month I met oodles of cool people through the #quaranzinefest tag. And lastly, see if you have a local zine library check it out. Connecting with the Denver Zine Library has opened up so many doors for me in the community and the people there are rad.
Plus i’m always happy to connect with zinesters old and new. I’m on social media @magick_socks.
I Sell my zines of Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtistKhiriLee
And have a vibrant growing Patreon Community. https://www.patreon.com/magick_socks
Check out my HeArt Zine Playshop on my website. https://www.khirilee.com/post/heart-zine-craft-a-long-on-march-31st
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Pictures provided by Khiri Lee