By Morgan Leichter-Saxby

When I was a kid, I loved to tap out stories on my parents’ clunky beige word processor. I’d illustrate them with colored pencils and make little books. Each one was specific and precious to me and sharing them meant something. It was a powerful part of my play, feeling like a writer. The first time I held a zine, I felt something like that. Zines are self-published works of communicative art, handmade and bold in the way they foraged ideas. They are immediate, intimate. Zines are self-published, usually with the aid of a photocopier.


Zines are a way to tell a story, share information, and build community.

They might be stapled or rubber-banded, or made from one piece of paper cleverly cut. They’re usually collaged, stuffed with found and scribbled words and images. They have their own radical, punk, DIY Queer culture. They’re art for change, and everyone is welcome to participate.

Within their pages, you can say anything you want.

That’s why local artist (and fabulous person) Kegan Refalo loves best about zines. They said, “in an era before blogs and social media, people wanted to share ideas and broadcast them beyond their close circles. Zine is a term connected to the 80s to 00s, but people have been making small pamphlets and local newspapers as long as we’ve had printed media. If you want to say something that no one wants to make public, make a zine about it! If you’re a poet, artist, budding comic, passionate enthusiast, make a zine about it!”

That’s why the first event in our play and mental health series is a Make Your Own Zine Workshop, February 25 1-5pm, at the Rockingham Library in Bellows Falls, VT.


“The whole point of a zine is that magic being available to everyone, with only scotch tape, Sharpies and a photocopier.”

My favorite thing about zines is that they’re all different. ‘Perfect’ is not the point. The point is to share them, wave them at friends shouting ‘look!’ To make your own and share it if you want. And if you’re not satisfied? Make another. That’s central to our understanding of play, and why it’s so essential. Even though there’s so many options now for digital collage and sharing, Kegan insists they’re still relevant.

“They might be a little old-fashioned, but it’s a different experience of making something physical, even something magical about putting ideas to paper. The whole point of a zine is that magic being available to everyone, with only scotch tape, Sharpies and a photocopier.”

Everyone is welcome to this free event. All supplies included, no artistic confidence required. When asked who this workshop was for, Kegan said:

“Anyone can make a zine! And everyone who wants to, should!”


A workshop on zine making is a small part of our Play Free VT project, which you can find out more about here. If you have any questions about zines or the Play Free VT project, please email