“Fuzzy Cherry Zine is the creation of DC and PA-based zine enthusiast Ira Golthi (me). After a childhood spent making stapled-together books, a teenage-hood spent collecting zines from Etsy and the local record store, and college years spent too busy for hobbies, I decided to make 2020 the year that I seriously start making my own zines! My zine work consists of mainly black and white drawings and text, although that may change in the future. Each issue of Fuzzy Cherry is about a completely different subject, and I intend to keep it that way.”
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Ira and my zine series is called Fuzzy Cherry. I’m 23 years old, and I’m from Pennsylvania, USA. Pre-COVID I was living in Washington, DC working as an event planner, but I’m currently back home in PA working remotely as a virtual event planner. Luckily both DC and PA have active and wonderful zine scenes! 🙂 I love art, reading books, plants, tea, tarot cards, music, playing the accordion, journaling, social justice/feminism, and collecting things.
What do zines mean to you?
Zines for me are the ultimate form of self-expression and DIY spirit. They are accessible, community-based, and have very few barriers to entry. I just love the idea of wanting to create a publication and then taking it upon yourself to use the resources you have to accomplish that goal. I also love that there is no pressure to be perfect when creating zines.
How did you first get started with zines?
As a child, I absolutely loved magazines, and would devour any magazine our household received, whether they were about the news, gardening, or food. I would take printer paper and staple it together to make my own magazines filled with crayon and pencil art and collages. The first “real” zine I ever encountered was at my local record store as a teenager. I saw this small neon-green, photocopied, collaged booklet selling for around $2 at the register, and I just had to have it. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and when I googled “zine” (the unfamiliar word written on the back cover), I discovered that I could make something that cool too! I was also fascinated by the rich history of zines, especially as someone who was already attracted to fringe subcultures. From there, I started collecting zines (mostly from Etsy), and I incorporated zine-making into a couple school projects. After college, I finally had the time again to seriously pursue my hobbies, and making zines was at the top of the list!
How would you build the perfect snowman?
I think the perfect snowman is whatever one I build with my younger sister. Bonus points if we have an extra scarf that we can give him!
Tell us about your zines.
I like that my zines don’t have a particular theme. Like many people, I feel that my interests and opinions span such a wide range of things, and the nice thing about zines is that they can accommodate all of those things. At the time of this interview, I’ve so far released three zines: a perzine, musings about living in a simulation, and thoughts on desserts flavored like other desserts. No relation between those subjects whatsoever! I’ve got plans for future zines featuring marker drawings, photography, fanzines, and more! I have so many ideas!
What resources do you use to create your zines? Tell us about your zine-making process.
I have a notebook where I write every single zine idea that comes to mind; only a small fraction of those ideas actually have enough substance to become zines, but it helps me to just write things down on paper. When I decide to take an idea and turn it into a zine, I dump all my ideas into a Word document. Then I get to work organizing and polishing my ideas and deciding how the pages will be formatted and all of that. Then I get to work drawing, cutting & pasting, etc. My favorite part then is photocopying the pages and putting together finished zines. Back when I was still in an office, I would sneak into work early to photocopy my zines! I don’t really know how to use programs like photoshop or indesign, so all my zines are made by hand with glue and paper and pens and markers (and of course microsoft word for any typed text). That being said, I would like to learn how to use those digital tools in the future, but I think making things by hand will always feel most natural to me. No fancy skills needed for my current process– just paper and writing utensils!
Do you have any advice for newbie zine makers?
My advice would be to just make your first zine without regard for perfection, or even worrying if it’s going to be good at all. Just give yourself some kind of constraint to work within such as “I’m going to write about strawberries only” or “I’m only going to draw in pen so I can’t erase any mistakes.” And then just go, go, go until you’re holding a finished product in your hands. The hardest part is getting started, so if you just push through until you complete one zine, I think that gets the ball rolling quite well. If you’re super new to zines, I would advise doing the classic 8-page zine made of 1 piece of folded-up printer paper– that way, you don’t even have to think about the number of pages, as it is already set for you!
Can you tell us your favourite cracker joke?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Christmas cracker! I don’t think they are very common in the US, but if I ever come across a good cracker joke, I’ll let you know!
What is your favourite thing about zine culture?
My favorite thing about zine culture is how welcoming it is, and how easy it is to become a part of it. There is no gatekeeping as to who is and isn’t considered a zinester. If you make zines, you are part of the community! I love Instagram for connecting with zinesters, but in the age of social media it can feel like you need a huge following to be considered a successful artist. But even as a zinester with less than 200 Instagram followers, I have made sales and trades and conversation with fellow zinesters and zine enthusiasts all over the US and the world! It really is such a great community.
Do you have a favourite zine or zinester?
Oh man, it’s difficult to choose. “Lucid Dreaming: A Condensed Guide” was the first zine I bought from that record store all those years ago, and so it has a special place in my heart for sure. That one is by Laura Lane, aka @rezilynt.femme on Instagram.
Why do you make zines?
I make zines because I love them. I like making art and writing, and I feel like I have a lot to show and say to the world. I also am a laggard when it comes to technology– I like physical books, vinyl records, cassette tapes, writing in a journal, having snail mail penpals, etc. So making zines feels very natural to me. Sharing on social media is definitely a big part of my life, but it doesn’t scratch the itch the way real paper zines do.
How are you celebrating the holiday season?
My family and I will be heading into the Pennsylvania woods to stay in a log cabin for the holidays! I’m looking forward to taking in the tranquil natural surroundings (and of course seeing if the trip sparks any zine ideas!).
You can check out Fuzzy Cherry Zines by visiting her on her socials…