Zines and self-publishing: Lara Hembrow

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In the spirit of self-publishing and zines I sent some interview questions to my friend Lara. Her words speak for themselves- my heart is beating out of my chest I’m so excited to purchase some of the zines and look into the distros she’s suggested!

Enjoy x

Lara and Kathleen Hanna

Lara and Kathleen Hanna

Tell us about yourself

“My name is Lara Hembrow. 27, I like to play in my bands, read zines, watch crap telly series like GIRLS (not so crap), get my hands dirty in the garden and I’m going back to school full time next week studying fine arts/arts.

I first heard about zines when I was about 18. I had started playing in a band with my two best friends and this slightly older guy they had met at our local open mic hang. He was my sisters age and had grown up as a teenager in the 90’s so he knew all about the “counter culture” and “underground” music. He had a whole stack of zines that he had collected and he lent them to me. This is pretty shitty but I stuffed them in the drawer under my bed and read them from time to time whilst they fell apart from crappy stapling. I’m not sure if I ever gave them back to him or not when I moved away. I think the first zine I really remember was the crimthinc* D.I.Y one that I got when I ordered a book from them. In it there was a ‘how to d.i.y abortion’ section that just blew my mind!

Lara's zine

“I also remember getting a copy of D.I.Y Health Care for Wimmin. During that time I was super cautious and constantly worried about getting pregnant so I was really into drinking parsley tinctures a few days before my periods… just in case. So I was learning lots of stuff and I ended up making a D.I.Y Gynecology zine.
…I used to go to this place in Brunswick, Melbourne, maybe some community youth place, I’ve forgotten the name but we had a little diy screenprinting operation going there and you could use their office printer for free. That’s when I made my first zine. Some weird little one made from a single A4 sheet of paper folded up. I think it was about my period pain and the types of facades you put on when you’re growing up and trying to navigate adulthood.

dorisdiy

Additionally, when I first came to Tasmania I got a hold of Doris. It is written buy a woman named Cindy Crabb from the US. She has been writing zines for like, twenty years and then she had them compiled into two anthologies. Doris – An Anthology, aptly named, and The Encyclopedia of Doris. They are amazing. They inspired me a million fold in my early 20’s. Read them. [Click here for Doris Distro and here to see Cindy Crabb talk about her zines.]

What are your favourite zines- what topics do they cover?

I like a lot of different ones. My recent favourites are The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes #1, 2 and 3 by Amber Dearest, and All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues by Julia Eff. I’ve been recommended Vanessa Berry from Australia so I’ll have to get some of her stuff soon. I also really love D.I.Y guides for things like mental health, body health, how to grow etc.. and perzines for experiences with body image, feminism, punk rock lifestyles, anarchism and subversion of mainstream culture.

Usually when I have something to say/a strong opinion/something I’ve just learned about that I think is kind of unpopular or not well known is when I get inspired to make something. I usually just pass out my zines to my friends or at gigs if I feel it’s relevant. I used to drop zines off at PolyEster in Melbourne about 6 or so years ago when they would sell them on commission for you.  If I were a more serious creator of zines I would probably look into getting it distributed by online distro’s or at Sticky in Melbourne. I am also part of a zine/book distro collective in Hobart. We distribute mostly anarchist/d.i.y kinda stuff. We will also be setting up an alternative library very shortly. Get in contact if you want to know where our next stall will be. You can email out-cry@riseup.net

ziness

“…Giving Kathleen Hanna my zine was a highlight and now I kinda wish I had made it a bit better. It was titled after a Bikini Kill song ‘don’t need you’, but I’m proud of it none the less. She looked happy to get it and it felt like it just completed some sort of circle. Like, something she use to do in her youth and her actions inspire other young women to write about shit and then that comes back to her in zine form again.. or something.. I am most certainly NOT constantly checking my email for a comment from her..

The distro’s I buy from currently are Fight Boredom and Stranger Danger Distro.
I have also bought from Microcosm in the past and AK press, all based in Canada and the US. Also a lot of zinesters sell their zines through distro’s and independently, so I try to buy direct from them if I can. You can also get stuff online from Sticky Institute in Melbourne, Take Care Zine Distro and doingitourselves.org/zines, all based in Australia. Even good ol’ Etsy has a plethora of people selling their zines.”

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Phew. Thank you so much Lara for sharing your wisdom!! All images were supplied. :) Let me know if you check out any of the distros or have bought and read any of these zines! I’m off to buy Doris !!!

Cosy Oranges and Pinks

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Gin

Yum Yum!

I’m cuddled up on the couch with my hot water bottle watching the Olympic ice hockey game between the US and Russia. It has been storming tonight with lightening and thunder- my favourite kind of night.

Just last weekend we had a huge storm and our lounge room window blew in (cutting up our couch) and our gate tore off. Now that was scary! While Tassie’s weather is unpredictable at the best of times, I feel like we may be heading into Autumn.

In celebration of the changing season I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things that I’ve found online lately. Loving cosy oranges and pinks at the moment! Click on the images to visit the shops to purchase.

Koala Softie
Queer Pride collar clipset

Queer Pride collar clipset

Autumn Flower Posy

Watermelon Seeds Sweater

Oh my!

Oh my!

Metalicus Leggings

Metalicus Leggings

For all the single ladies: Pocket Manfriend Ray

For all the single ladies: Pocket Manfriend Ray

I hope you’re dry and warm, wherever you are. Russia just scored a goal!

Let me know if you find any cosy jumpers online, I’m in the market!

:)

 

Sharing some love and nostalgia <3

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‘I love me’ patch by dirtsquad. Click on the image to visit the shop.

 

I remember being in high school and always hoping someone would put a flower in my locker for Valentines Day. It just seemed so romantic and ‘out of the movies’. When one of my friends received a rose in her locker I felt insanely jealous and wondered what was wrong with me (no doubt it was because I was ugly). It didn’t matter that they were ‘just friends’- a rose was a big deal. A public acknowledgement of specialness was enough to keep the gossip going for the day.

I did get a card in year 11 and was so elated to have actually received something but alack I’d already moved on from crushing on him. Ah. The trials and tribulations of teenage lust.

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Strange expectations.

I remember a girl at uni showing me a photo on her phone of all the crap her boyfriend had bought  her for valentines day- I nearly vomited at how cliche it was- chocolates, a single red rose and a white teddy bear. I felt smug at how lucky I was not to be given such cringe-worthy presents and rather something meaningful- but three years later she’s still with him (going strong) and I’m single. Maybe there is something in overpriced red and white crap and cliches?

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Regardless of your relationship status, I hope you spoil yourself silly :) I know I’ll be treating myself to a latte in the morning and wearing my favourite, comfy ‘granny’ underwear and overloading on the jewels.

Also looking forward to telling some of my favourite gals how much i love them for Galentines day!

:) Let me know how you treat yo’ self.

x

 

 

Vermicomposting: My new hobby

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wormfarm

Last week I treated myself and bought a worm farm and 1000 red wigglers! I’ve had heaps of fun already feeding the worms and making sure they’re happy.

I purchased the Tumbleweed Worm Cafe which has three working trays, but it’s easy enough to build your own if you’re more handy with a drill than I am.

wormfarm start

In one week I’ve made quite a bit of worm tea. Worm tea is the liquid produced after the worms have eaten their food. It’s basically a highly concentrated magical tonic for plants but must be diluted 1:10. Flushing water through the worm farm once a week means there is plenty of this magical liquid for our garden.

I’m also feeling good about composting our organic kitchen waste. Tonight after (attempting) cauliflower crust pizzas I had plenty of cauliflower stems and eggshell to feed my wormies that would have otherwise gone straight in the bin. This way the matter is recycled and given back to the earth. Win-win!

worms first monthworms even later

Let me know if you want some worm tea for your garden :)

Illustrations by Cecilia Macaulay

 

 

Tasmanian Made: An Outfit

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hands

Pot Kettle Black necklace and pen marked fingers

Today I worked a shift for Smallshop at Salamanca market. It was such a lovely hot day but there weren’t too many customers because of the long weekend. I bought my necklace at the start of my shift, it’s by Pot Kettle Black (for sale at Smallshop) and my shift dress is by Louise Grahame from upcycled, thick vintage cotton from the 1960s. I couldn’t resist buying it even if it is a little bit too big in the bust (damn you cash-in hand jobs and walking back through the market to my car!).

Libby was kind enough to take some photos of my outfit!

Greenshift

Sweating by the flowers

greenshift2

I’ve been quiet on here lately because I have been totally focused on (and loving!) my new job and getting my body into a routine.

I’m having problems with my throat which I’m hoping to resolve as soon as possible. My doctor and I are trying to figure out what’s wrong. The prognosis is looking like chronic fatigue syndrome which explains a lot of how I’ve been feeling the last few months- sluggish, tired and brainfuddled. Another explanation could be that I’ve damaged my throat from singing, in which case I’ve got a referral to a speech pathologist. Blah.
I just want the pain to go away!

Regardless, it’s time to get back into the swing of things!! xx

Story of my life
Story of my life- CF?

Friday Feminisms: Eliminate Girl Hate

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Sticker by RadicalGirls. Click on image to redirect to Maya's Etsy shop.

Sticker by RadicalGirls. Click on image to redirect to Maya’s Etsy shop.

 

Stop comparing and start supporting

Next time you think a nasty thought about some ‘girl you don’t know’, stop yourself and frame it as a reflection on your own thought patterns and feelings, and not her.

Are you jealous? WHY are you jealous?

Is it because she is wearing the coolest clothes you’ve ever seen? If yes, tell her! Get over yourself and tell that fabulous woman she’s fabulous. She could potentially be your new BF and may let you borrow her clothes and offer fashion advice.

If you’re comparing yourself to people to feel better about yourself (e.g. comparing yourself to somebody who you feel is ‘inferior’ to you so you feel superior- richer-prettier-smarter) STOP. You need to find some other way to boost positive self-esteem. Stop and reflect on why you might be doing that and address why your behaviour is not okay.

Having said that, embrace your chronic resting-bitchface and a big FO to anyone that tells you to smile.
 

 Be there for women in your local community

It may be buying their wares, acknowledging their hard work in whatever capacity, nominating them for a local award (E.g. this one! the deadline has been extended). Find out what is happening in your area put on by local women and just go along! Show your support.

Share the love

Tell your best friends why you love them. Send them a text, bake them a cake. Acknowledge your friendship ‘faults’ and work on them. Take the time to be a better listener.

Get loud

Write a letter to your local newspaper when you feel they are reporting inappropriately or being sexist. Check out No More Page 3’s campaign against nudes being featured The Sun newspaper. Speak up when there is unfair or unjust reporting.

Start a band/art collective/book club/facebook group.

If there’s anything the world needs more of besides girl love, it’s girls getting loud together and mobilising to create change. Consciousness-raise. (Now might be a good time to mention I met freakin Kathleen Hanna last week!!!!!!)

Holly, Lux, KATHLEEN HANNA and I.

Holly, Lux, KATHLEEN HANNA and I. reeeeeling from her awesomeness

Reclaim your girlhood (if you would like to)

“Feminism is the idea of equality (of course)
but also an identity that one can define for themselves with the basic idea of gender equality.
To me, it’s that and reclaiming “feminine” / (for lack of a better term) “girly” ideals and style, a reclaiming it.

The patriarchy deems anything that is associated with women as weak and stupid, and I want to take these things back as a strong and powerful individual who loves pink pumps and dresses.” Midge Blitz, in BettyMag

Click to read the author's thoughts on what this might look like

Click to read the author’s thoughts on what this might look like

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And last but not least, appreciate Lesley Power’s genius in the form of this picture- The Myth of Other Girls!

Lesley Power's genius

Yes.

Please let me know if you have any other ideas to eliminate girl hate, I know it’s something that may need to be worked on.

After all, we’re taught to hate ourselves, why shouldn’t we feel jealous of other women doing great stuff?

love to know your thoughts

x

Book of the Garden: Paper and Plant Life

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Elissa RitsonBook of the Garden: 
 
An exhibition of new works on paper by a group of emerging contemporary artists, each with their feet planted in the garden and their heads in the clouds.

I had the absolute pleasure of being taken on an exhibition tour by curator Elissa Ritson last week.

She explained to me that Book of the Garden is a direct reference to the inspiration behind the exhibition-Reader’s Digest Complete Book of the Garden. I can’t stress enough how beautiful and dreamlike this exhibition is, everything from the leafy flower garlands that greet you at the entrance way to the careful placement of pieces. Elissa had a two-month time frame to plan, organise and curate the exhibition-she’s done an amazing job especially since she is the only Hobart-based artist in the exhibition. Whilst I’m writing a review for the upcoming edition of BettyMag, I just wanted to stress that if you have the time between now and January 30, visit this exhibition.

-I could have laid on the centre couch and slept amongst the flora forever.

 
The show is about seeking knowledge, about mystery, about being humble under the wing of the earth. Collecting, grafting, observing, drawing, and cataloging, are all part of the pseudo-scientific process of art making for Book of the Garden.
 

Other artists include Priya Vunaki-Singh, Alexandra Palmer Bull,  Gonzalo Celballo and Brain Foetus.

Running till the 30th at The Stable Gallery (behind Cooleys Hotel, 145 Main Rd, Moonah).

Let me know if you do visit the exhibition

x

 

Writing: What’s stopping you?

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Let’s start at the beginning.

I keep this blog, I self-publish a magazine, I write lists, I write poems, I write stupid notes down in my phone when someone says something funny. I’m writing everyday, but I’m not confident in my abilities to call myself ‘a writer’. I can call myself a youth worker, a feminist, a shortarse and a sloth but I can’t call myself ‘a writer’.

I associate ‘writers’ (-as a collective, even though it’s one of the most solitary things you can do with two hands-) with degrees in creative writing, journalism, fancy (but minimalist) blogs and articles in every second magazine.

My inner critic can be a total bitch. I carry this idea that to be ‘a writer’ you must be selected and secretly invited a la Eyes Wide Shut to secret writer orgys where you read each others work in masks and gush about how great you all are. And that’s before you publish your novel which sells two-hundred million copies and is published in 26 different languages. I see writers as more famous posthumously or white upper-middle class white men who have previously been English professors.

I want to change this. I don’t want to play it safe. I want to be loud and share my writing.

To start with, I want to enter the Rachel Funari prize for fiction, awarded by Lip Magazine (more about Lip and independent media in coming weeks).

Do you want to join me?

The theme is IDENTITY. What better way to start the year off than (finally?) submitting a piece of writing off to a competition?

The challenge is to write half a page of a word document/or ten minutes a day until the second of February.
That’s two weeks of consciously putting your ideas around the theme down to paper.
Submissions are due before the 28th of February, so that’s over three weeks afterwards to write and polish your piece.

It may not be the Booker, but it’s a start. Check out this link for some awesome tips to start yourself off.

Please let me know if you want to join me in this little adventure and we can support each other. Click on my email and let me know! <3 (Yay for computer penpals!) I’m getting excited!

Laura

Words for Emma <3

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My sister is travelling around Asia at the moment with two of her closest friends. I’m making a conscious effort not to download viber so I can let her enjoy her holiday and not burden her with regular calls!

I was thinking about her last night and I wrote a few things down and it kind of turned into this love letter!

em

A love letter to my Soul Sister <3

She is my fashion, hair and make up icon

My biggest confidante- she knows all my secrets

One look and I know what she’s thinking-

My one true rival on the dance floor

She’s here for me as a sister and a best friend, gumnut babies forever!

Our pear-shaped bodays match down to our stomach and chest freckles.

Thinking of her makes me smile, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

I miss and love you Em! Enjoy the rest of your trip x

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Women’s Writing

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independentpublishing  I’m super excited to be working on some spanking content around self-publishing and writing. Radical self-love goddess Gala Darling posted a quote by Lena Dunham yesterday and it resonated with me so much, in particular with regards to how I feel before I press ‘publish’ on each of my posts or launch a new BettyMag into the world.

“Girls are trained to say, ‘I wrote this, but it’s probably really stupid.’ Well, no, you wouldn’t write a novel if you thought it was really stupid. Men are much more comfortable going, ‘I wrote this book because I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear.’ Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you’, you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’ “  Lena Dunham

I have a unique perspective that the world needs to hear and so do you. Are you ready to push yourself with your writing and communicating your ideas to the world?

Let’s get this writing party started!

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