Zine recommendations from Grrrl Zines A Go-Go!

Ground Up Zine

Grrrl Zines A Go-Go (GZAGG) is a small, San Diego-based group of women who organize zine workshops and events promoting empowerment through self-publishing. They have previously published Let’s DIY, Let’s DIY #2: Taking Zine-Making To The Community, and Zine Capsule: Zine-Collecting For The Future. Margarat from GZAGG shared with us the group’s latest project.

From The Ground Up, compiled and designed by Grrrl Zines A Go-Go

Available at http://groundupzine.wordpress.com (note: a free downloadable PDF of the zine is there too–print and share with your community!)


Margarat says,”We have always been drawn to the activism aspect of zines, and produced this compilation zine on community herbalism as a direct response to issues we see arise within herbalism (and other communities for that matter) that we felt needed to be brought out for more discussion. The zine has strong ideas from many different voices, and the graphics and design make this zine a satisfyingly creative print object.”

The introduction:

Issues of class, privilege, race, and gender come into play when providing herbal care to the community, whether we’re conscious of it or not. As much as herbalists would like to have “folk medicine for the people” many people do not have access to information, clinics, plants, or plant based medicines. Class cuts across all issues when it comes to healthcare, and understanding how to best serve those who do not have financial freedom is paramount to moving toward a truly healthy community.

The herbal community needs to confront these issues on continuing basis. Discussions on class and privilege and how these inform the practice of herbalism are rarely put on the schedule at conferences, and recommendations heard in workshops can sound recklessly out of touch with the realities of many. Let’s face it, the vast majority of U.S. herbal conference attendees are White, and certainly don’t represent the full breadth of our culture.

We find the DIY intersection of herbalism and zines to be an obvious one. Zines offer an accessible technique for sharing information, opinion, and art, just as herbalism itself can provide people with afforbable and accessible health options.

From The Ground Up #1 focuses on herbalists sharing their knowledge with each other to promote more effective and compassionate care for community members who may not have adequate resources for ideal herbal healing and prevention solutions.
– Margarat & Kim

Getting To Know Your Local Zinesters: Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go

Margarat Nee & Kim Schwenk

Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go

What was your first zine about and when was it made?

Margarat’s 1st zine, made in the early 90’s, was “OYA” begun in response to the 1st abortion provider assassination (and written under a pen name due to the heightened feeling of danger in that era to those who dared to confront misogyny as Dr. Gunn had).  Kim’s 1st zine was a high school newspaper actually, that pissed off all the jocks and cheerleaders and almost got her expelled.  As a collective we have produced “Let’s DIY” #s 1 & 2 as how-to guides for others interested in presenting zine workshops and working with community groups.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?

As Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go our favorite project was the exhibit in 2009 at Mira Costa College called “Zines (re)make history”. We displayed over 300 zines which surrounded a Scrap Lounge which visitors used to create collaborative zines during the month-long exhibition. Opening night was the  highlight with 200 people filling the room – the most popular gallery opening they’d ever had, and the fact that people gathered and collaborated so openly.

From the Mira Costa event

Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.

Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go has been influenced by Gee Vaucher of Crass not only for her early graphics work with Crass, but also for her empowering visual art statements and attitude of “keep doing it.” We’ve also been influenced by Winston Smith political collage (Kim), HannahHöch Dada early feminist collage (Kim), political and educational organizing by Mujeres Libres, and herbalist community workers.


What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?

We’re working! We have jobs we have to go to, which of course takes time and energy away from what really matters to us  – never stop trying to creatively uproot media oppression!