Last Sunday, I made my first contribution to a zine. I went to a zine-making workshop; part of a series of events connected to the Sick! exhibition – an exhibition about living with invisible illness created by…artists living with invisible illness. It was really fun and very therapeutic, and that was just the chat! I am not really arty (as in, I can’t draw), but zines don’t have to be about drawing, writing is good, and collage, and all sorts as long as you can print it on paper/card. I enjoyed creating my page for the zine but the best bit was meeting other people living with a wide variety of invisible illness (although anxiety and depression seemed to be a common theme, alas) and sharing our experiences. I felt less like an alien when I went out than when I went in.

It is ridiculous, really, because I read stuff about chronic and/or invisible illness all the time, I know lots of people (at least online) with congenital heart defects and others with anxiety and depression (more of them in real life, some of them the same people) but I still find myself feeling like I’m the only person going through such things. I guess it’s those ‘dark night of the soul’ moments (if only they were just moments); it’s very easy to feel alone when you’re in the slough. Since I went to the zine-making workshop I’ve tried to think of the people there who were such excellent examples of how to live with chronic illness and take inspiration from them to get through some difficult moments. It has helped.

Anyway, here are some pictures of zines and zine-creation:

INTRA, where the action happens!
A selection of zines for inspiration
How to fold the paper to make a zine
Pages from the finished ‘test’ zine
My page for the zine

In a very small way, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for years – make some art out of my medical records (photocopy of an ECG as background). I hope the page is OK – I think I should have done the writing and the background as two separate pages and then the risograph is used to put the pages together (see picture with stick person in, above). But I expect Xtina can make it work, somehow, for she is a printing genius!

Thanks very much to Xtina, Zara and everyone at INTRA for a lovely, creative, and useful morning.


Phoneography Challenge: My Neighbourhood

I went out this morning to take these photos for the Phoneography Challenge. After a lovely, sunny weekend last week, the weather has turned cold and grey again, so my neighbourhood isn’t really looking at its best. The filters/effects I’ve used probably haven’t really help it look any better, but I think I was inspired by the grey day!

I’m in two minds about photo editing. Sometimes its worth doing, particularly if you need to correct something, but sometimes I feel like I do it for the sake of it, just because I like messing about with pictures and trying out all the effects. It’s fun, but I could probably spend my time more productively.

The park is lovely – I love living near so much green and being able to look out across the river. The town we live in has a bit of a bad reputation; but where we live is pleasant, near to the shops and the station, and we have great neighbours. There’s a nice community feel to our road, because people actually know one-another’s names (not everyone, admittedly), and stop and chat, and we all follow the adventures of the neighbourhood cats, of which there are a few. People help each other out by mowing their neighbours’ front lawns, gritting their paths in winter and lending them things…the neighbourhood is definitely friendlier than it looks in these photos!

The pictures were taken on an HTC Desire C, and edited using Pixlr Express.