Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Miranda Holly Rogers. I’m based in Hobart, Tasmania but originally from the more isolated and rural North West Coast of Tasmania. I’m an artist and trained as a printmaker. I was attracted to zines through my love of paper and storytelling.
What are zines to you?
Zines are a vessel for creativity. I love how zines can be made about anything and by anyone. Zines can be these highly polished and produced works of art, or they can be quick and grungy. I love that zines can be something to collect and treasure or something to use and educate. Zines are a tool for education and beautiful works of art and self-expression. What a fantastic accomplishment for something to be able to be all these things simultaneously!
What was your first encounter with zines?
I first encountered Zines on holiday in Melbourne as a teen. I stumbled across this great zine shop Sticky Institute. It was just a little rectangular shop, and it was stuffed with zines of all kinds stacked high on shelves to the ceiling. I had such fun choosing and collecting zines there and was so excited to look through my first stack of zines. I wanted to make my own almost instantaneously!
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
The zines I make are art and mental health zines. I have also made poem collections and zines about traveling. I normally start with a drawing and add words after. Depending on the length of the zine I’m making, the idea can take a long time until I actually print and sell it. Other zines I make are very quick and one-off. During COVID, I started my mini zine project as a way to keep making in a time when I wasn’t very inspired to make. I made one-off mini zines about whatever I fancy, sometimes with words sometimes just with drawings, then I read them alone and post the video on my Insta. I find one-off mini zines very low pressure to make. I can sit on the couch, put on a movie, and churn out four or five mini zines in themes ranging from my fear of the supermarket to frogs. I’ve been reading out my mini zines on Instagram as a practice of routine and creativity in the mornings, it started as a ritual just for myself, but I’ve had a great response from the zine community from doing it. It’s nice when the community gets what you are trying to do.
What inspires you to create zines?
I’m inspired by my own experiences; sometimes, my mini zines are a bit of a disjointed diary. I’m also inspired by wanting to help people; for example, my zine “The official bunyips handbook” was inspired by my mum and wanting her to know I was there for her as a friend, so the zine became a guide to being a friend. I’m inspired by children’s stories and characters. I’m also always inspired by animals and the environment. I’m also sometimes very uninspired! I like that I can make a zine when I’m in a bad mood or a good mood. It makes my making brain happy to make something silly or experimental, just the act of trying I find very healing.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
My favourite thing about zines is that anyone can make them. I love that they are art for the people by the people. I also love that they are made from paper, beautiful paper that can look like, feel like, and do so many things.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
My first ever zine was called the ‘New Arrival’; it is a simple photocopied zine of my drawings. I made it because I had made lots of small drawings about outer space and wanted to see what story they told if they were put in a book. I put them into my zine in a random order to tell a story (and truthfully, I did not know much about how to order zines in a story at that stage, so random order also quickened the process). I still love this zine because the images meant a lot to me, and it was great to make them affordable for people. What the ‘New Arrival’ was missing was words, and after making it, I wanted to learn more about how to pair words with my images and tell a bit more of an obvious story.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
My zine-making process normally starts with getting inspired by a word or emotion and wanting to make art about it. Sometimes, I don’t realize what I am making art for is a zine until near the project’s completion. For example, for about a year, I made little comic strips about everyday moments that gave me peace, like swimming at the pool and drinking cups of tea. After looking back through the comics, I came up with poems about the situations and states of mind within them very easily. So from the comic and the poems, I created my zine ‘Breathing.’ Other zines start with the words first. I wrote a story about Griffles (a feeling of carrying a sadness). After the words for ‘A Guide to the Griffles’ were set, I illustrated the story and turned it into a zine. Sometimes I find it harder to make a zine’s words first because then you have to decide which thought is worthy of an image, and it can be harder to layout the page.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I hope people enjoy my zines as works of art. I love the idea of everyday people being able to afford works of art and build a collection. A lot of my work is about mental health, so I hope people can also get a little bit of education from my zines or at least feel like they are not alone.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Make zines; there are no rules! Make five mini zines in an hour and see what ideas your brain wants to make. You can always polish up a zine later if you want to. Swap or buy zines and make a collection. The zine community is so inspiring. Check out your zine community on a local level as well as worldwide online.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Once you start finding zine resources, it’s easy to find more. Again I recommend starting on a local level, but three places I always keep an eye on are; Sticky Institute (Zine shop in Melbourne but also good for online stuff). Small Press Zine (For Hobart and Tasmanian based zine info but also zine fair links both in real life and online). And F*EMS Zine, which is a Melbourne based monthly art zine that includes great fem artists every month.
Rogers’s Social Media:
Miranda Rogers @miranda_h_rogers
Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Photos by Miranda H. R.