“Caw and Paw is a small press nestled away in the drab confines of the English countryside! Founded by the creative poetry duo Joseph Dunkerley (writer / illustrator) and Holly Miles (writer / tea drinker), this quirky small press specialises in poetry and experimental zines. Once the global pandemic fizzles out, Caw and Paw hope to invest in a van and become the worlds first small press on wheels!”
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
We are Caw and Paw, an upcoming small press established in the midst of the 2020 COVID pandemic. Founded by 2 emerging creatives, we specialise in experimental zines and poetry chapbooks inspired by our surrealist interpretations of the evolving world and its current culture. Through our work we hope to inspire greater awareness of mental health issues and the struggles of financial inequality. Our aspiration is to one day become the first small press on wheels, travelling to book fairs and indie book shops around the globe.
What do zines mean to you?
Zines are a love letter to counterculture and underground expressionism, providing small creatives with an outlet for unbound creativity. To us, they’re the perfect medium for engaging readers, allowing us to blend our distinct styles of poetry with our in-house brand of alternative illustration.
How did you first get started with zines?
This year saw the launch of our first printed zine ‘Cough Drop Circus’, our poetic inner reflections on this year of pandemic induced turmoil and global political shifts. This first zine of ours began as an outlet to channel the mounting anxieties of a shifting global dynamic, documenting our first hand experiences with lockdown, isolation, depression and social fluctuations whilst balancing the heavily publicised dangers of being in the ‘high risk’ category and protecting a ‘high risk’ partner. Through this process we were able to create a raw and emotive time capsule of a poetry zine.
How would you build the perfect snowman?
There are three simple ingredients to the perfect snowman. They are snow, rocks, and a big juicy carrot (winter hats and scarves are optional). Make sure you start with a firm ball; several times condensed and then roll gently in the snow until you reach the adequate diameter. Repeat this one to two more times, making each smaller as you go and stacking them on top of each other until vaguely humanoid. This is where the decoration comes in, you are able to go as fabulous or as simple as you like. I prefer two small stones for eyes and a wonky carrot nose! Enjoy this creation with friends, family, warm beverages, and a fluffy companion to occasionally meow as you assemble your masterpiece.
Tell us about your zines.
To date we’ve released five digital zines and one physical poetry zine. Our physical release ‘Cough Drop Circus’ is a poetic exploration of pandemic uncertainties, fluctuating mental health and finding small joys during times of hardship; through the lens of two emerging poets attempting to claw their way out of poverty. The zine provides a contemporary critique of one’s lived experiences, laying social hypocrisies bare and diving into the invisible modern turmoil of the misplaced millennial generation, displacement and struggles through global crisis.
Our digital zines are lighter hearted in nature, exploring the mysterious joy of small oddities and finding humour in the strange and outlandish. These smaller scale releases are illustration packed bizarre wonders, printable in the comfort of one’s own home!
What resources do you use to create your zines? Tell us about your zine-making process.
We often take a multimedia approach, blending writing, physical sketches, photography, and digital illustrations into vibrant constructs of distilled imagination.
Do you have any advice for newbie zine makers?
It’s never too late or too early to get into zine making! Be creative and have fun with it, explore your ideas and create to your hearts content.
Can you tell us your favourite cracker joke?
We both made our own dismal cringe inducing jokes for this, we hope you enjoy them!
What do you call a genius snowman? Snow idea (Written by Joe)
What is most important for Christmas 2020? Elf love (Written by Holly)
What is your favourite thing about zine culture?
Witnessing all the incredible and vibrant creations, we’re always blown away by the sheer amount of imagination and creativity that zine makers put into their releases! Also, the open and heavily collaborative nature fosters a wonderful community of multidisciplinary creatives with a large focus on uplifting the voices of minorities.
Do you have a favourite zine or zinester?
There are so many to choose from but our absolute favourite so far has to be ‘My Cat Isn’t Cute Enough For The Internet’ by BigFaceGoods / Imogen Dall! It’s a wonderful little motivational self-care zine that features lovely advice and photographs of their adorable cat that just isn’t cute enough for the internet.
Why do you make zines?
For us, it was a combination of our joint interests in art and creative writing. We wanted initially to use it as a venting space for our frustrations in the pandemic and lockdown. Since then, it’s grown into an ambition to build creative spaces and communities that support one another. Projecting emerging voices on the scene and enabling self-expression for all.
How are you celebrating the holiday season?
In a rather bleak turn of events, we’ll be holed up in our very small one room flat, cooking a microwaved vegetarian nut roast (probably) and talking to family through a screen by the wonders of Facetime, Facebook Video Call and maybe even Zoom (we’re not affiliated). We have no fireplace here, so I’m afraid Father Christmas will have to use his wits and a handily placed crowbar to enter our apartment and deliver on our Christmas wishes.
You can check out Caw & Paw by visiting them on their socials…