Looking Back: Guest Post –Zines and Dreams by Simonetta Mignano

See Stories has partnered with Anchorage artist and curator Simonetta Mignano to lead the workshop, ‘Zines & Dreams at The McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage.  ‘Zines & Dreams is a ‘zine-making arts workshop where each participant will explore their dreams through zine-making. A ‘zine is a homemade, easily replicable magazine, “‘zine” for short. This workshop was led by Simonetta Mignano with the participation of paper-artist Susan Joy Share, in  collaboration with See Stories and The School of Nonfunctional Studies at the  McLaughlin Youth Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Here Simonetta shares her reflections on the experience this past spring. 

The Zines & Dreams program was designed for participants to explore their dreams  through zine-making. In this second iteration of the workshop, each participant was  invited to develop their own zine— a do-it-yourself, hand-bound booklet dedicated to  their thoughts and imaginings, using a variety of narrative and visual forms. In each  session, the participants explored and learned about their present and future dreams, as  well as tapped into their dreaming reality through a series of group activities. Dreams  were shared collectively, and each dreamer wrote or drew creatively in free forms, and  practiced Deep Listening© in dreams. These exercises fostered the production of  individual dream-zines. The last session was dedicated to assembling and binding the  zines into an accordion-style booklet— an active format that surprises the viewer as it  opens, stretches out and reveals the book contents. This technique was taught by Susan  Joy Share, who led the participants through the process in the last session.

Some thoughts by Susan Joy Share on the experience:  

I was honored to take part in Simonetta’s Zines and Dreams and enjoyed working in this  program. Simonetta and I met early on to discuss concepts, agree on the bookbinding  style and prepare paper for the Zines and Dreams pages. I attended the final in-person  session at McLaughlin. There were 12 participants and we sat in a circle.  

I distributed new materials in this session. Everyone chose from different colored papers  that included a long strip to fold into an accordion and two covers. Our goal was to divide  the strip into 16 evenly folded narrow panels and the add covers. Everyone had a series of  detailed text and image pages they had created earlier in the week with Simonetta.  Finally, we glued the pages into the accordion pleats.  

The students accomplished this beautifully. Many were self-directed, had inventive ideas  and made the books their own. Once the binding was complete, they continued to make  cover designs, write titles, draw, and color. They were engaged, helped each other and  most were eager to share their stories. 

This project was generously funded by the Alaska State Council on the Arts Cultural Collaborations Grant!

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