Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Molly, I’m 23 years old, and I’m based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love bees and being outside! I read a lot of poetry and am extremely extroverted.
What are zines to you?
To me, zines are a way I can express myself and make something using my hands. There’s something so satisfying about being able to create something and then hold it in your own two hands and say “I made this.” On a more communal level, I have found that zines are an amazing way to disseminate information within small communities. The way that I personally make my zines are more based on creative expression and less in providing information, but I really love to collect and buy all kinds of zines.
What was your first encounter with zines?
I had heard a little bit about zines in college and I’m sure I encountered them on a casual level at some point. The Seward Community Cafe in Minneapolis has a whole wall of zines for people to peruse: zines about anarchism and queer theory and activism and community and so much more, those really caught my attention and I thought it was so cool that an establishment would have the art and words of the community (many of whom hold marginalized identities) up on their walls, for anyone and everyone to look through. I would say the first time I truly and deeply interacted with zines was at the Twin Cities Zine Fest in 2018. It was amazing to see all the different kinds of zines made by all different kinds of people.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
The majority of my zines are collage-based, I would say. I do a LOT of cutting out from magazines or just other colored pieces of paper. I really like it when my zines have depth and texture to them, so collaging and pasting is really huge for me. Content-wise, my zines are all over the place. Some of them have been interpretations of different poems, others have my own words and poetry in them—often times I will just sit down at my workspace with a particular theme or image in mind and let the zine take me where it wants to go. Sometimes the images I create are more realistic or representative, while others can be more abstract and just reflect the essence or vibe of the words and phrases I’m interpreting.
What inspires you to create zines?
I feel like I just have this deep need and desire to be creative and express it somehow. I write poetry and have written poetry for a long time, but recently I’ve found it really hard to get the poems out. Usually, they just come to me, but during this weird time of isolation, the words have been pretty silent. Zines, on the other hand, feel like they’re flowing through my arms and out my fingertips. Right now, the zines come to me like poems used to, and I am deeply grateful for this ability to express and create.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
I love the wide variety of zines that exist. People really have their own amazing styles and methods that they like to employ and it is so impressive to see where people take their zines. I love that zining can amplify the voices of those who otherwise may not be heard. So many of the zinesters I follow and keep up with are queer people, women, people of color, disabled folks, neurodivergent people, or any combination of those things, and it is so wonderful to see their creations and see other people’s interest in their creations. Also, I typically only make what would be considered mini-zines (from an 8.5″x11″ piece of paper) and I really love how small and cute they are.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
Ah! The first zine I ever made actually not that long ago—September of 2019, actually. My friend Lizzie (@lizziehutchins_) is a wonderful zinester and had me and a friend over to teach us how to make zines. My best friend Paul had just moved away about two or three weeks prior (from Minnesota to Florida) and at the time I was dealing with just how deeply I missed him and how it felt to move through the world where I could no longer see him or hug him or do things with him on a moments notice. I was sad in a way that I didn’t know how to express through words alone. The first zine I ever made, I made for Paul and mailed to him. It was about my experience of missing him and my faith and confidence in the future of our friendship.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
I talked a little bit about this in an earlier question, but most of the time when I’m making a zine, I sit down with a theme or image in my mind of where I would like the zine to be and then let it take me where it wants to go. I have a whole stack of magazines I work with, as well as scrap paper. I have a notebook where I’ll plan out some of the words I want to put in the zine and how I’ll break them up, page by page. Once I have an idea for a page, I’ll lay it all out to make sure it looks how I would like it to, before gluing it all down. Sometimes I’ll listen to audiobooks while zining, but a lot of the time I’ll just be listening to music, letting myself groove.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I hope that my zines make people feel seen and understood and special! Many of the zines that I make are ones that I make for other people and are one-of-a-kind. Since I don’t have a scanner or anything, every zine I’ve made thus far has been unique and will probably never be remade exactly. I hope this fact makes the people who receive my zines feel special because they are special!! Everyone deserves to feel seen and loved. Maybe one day I’ll get a scanner and a printer, I see a lot of value in that!! I also hope that my zines help other people see that they, too, can create something beautiful. I never considered myself good at visual art and I didn’t think it was something that I would ever be good at, but here I am now, creating things every day that I really am proud of!
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
This is such a hard question!!! I really love and admire my friend Lizzie (who I mentioned above) her zines are truly thoughtful and loving and reflective of the way she feels and thinks; I am truly grateful she really introduced me to zines as a thing that I could make, too! Also, I’ve really been enjoying the zines of Sydnie (@staysanemakeart), her use of color is amazing, the way she lays out her pages is really pleasing to the eye, and it really feels like her zines are true to herself.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Honestly, just go for it!!! Like I said, I never thought that I would be someone who created visual art, I just didn’t think I could do it. Don’t worry about things looking bad or messy because 1) those views are subjective and I love things that are bad and messy, and 2) it takes time and practice to get where you want to be.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Honestly, I really just look at the zine content on Instagram! I’m still pretty new to the zine world, so I don’t have any resources to recommend other than the platform and content of other zinesters!
Molly’s Social Media
🙂 I take commissions through DMs!
Interview conducted by Solansh M
Pictures provided by Molly L