2nd birthday zine fair!

As part of Coin-Operated Press’ 2nd Birthday celebrations, we held a tiny zine-fair at Blunt Knife Co. in Edinburgh. Marion and Emma, who run the shop on Thistle Street have always been such wonderful supporters of us that we couldn’t think of a better place to hold our first ever in-person zine fair. And the fact that it took place on our company’s birthday weekend was just the cherry on top!

We had 5 artists join us in the event space on Saturday 21st May. It was wonderful to host such a diverse group of people, all with such beautiful gifts to share. 

We met Kelly Zou at the University of Edinburgh’s Bookmarks Festival in March, and we absolutely adore her illustrations. Kelly is an illustrator based in the UK. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2021 with distinction and is  the author of the comic book – “Micro Drama” and the illustrator of the children’s book – “The Lost Flower Children” by Janet Taylor Lisle, which was published in China. 

Some of our favourite pieces by Kelly include her “Lost in Space” zine, “Asian Gardens”, and “Cats in the Market”. We look forward to including Zou’s book, “The Scared Pencil” in our Distro very soon!

​We met Isaac Burnett when he came along to our mini-zine making workshop in Dundee. Isaac is a comic-book artist, currently finishing up his Masters at DJCAD. He makes zines and collages about his latest obsessions, with his work mostly concerning punk politics. This was the first zine fair Isaac had participated in, and we were glad to see his work went down so well! We can’t wait to see what he does in the future. 

We were absolutely delighted to be able to finally connect with the folks at Lavender Menace. We’ve been following their journey for quite some time, and it was wonderful to be able to have them at our birthday zine fair. 

Lavender Menace is a queer LGBT+ books archive, first established in the 1980’s. They aim to give space to hard-to-find and out-of-print queer LGBT+ books and want to make them accessible to the community by establishing a ground-breaking digital and physical archive. 

Lavender Menace will be launching A Space for Us at an open weekend on 4th & 5th June, with readings, books, music, and more! We encourage you all to go along and support this important cause!

As something a bit special, in honour of our birthday zine fair, we invited Elder & Rowan Tarot to come and offer readings to patrons of Blunt Knife Co. Robin has been studying tarot for 25 years, and can usually be found delivering card readings on the Royal Mile. I’m told he massively appreciated the change of scene, and the chance to give folks more in depth readings. We are glad that we could give people the chance to create important human connections during this event, through the work that Elder and Rowan does. 

We are excited to hopefully have Robin back at our Halloween zine fair in Dundee in October!

Our last table spot went to our very own Chloe Henderson. As well as co-owning and co-operating Coin-Operated Press with me, Chloe runs her own very prolific arts company. Chloe is based in Edinburgh, and is an interdisciplinary artist.  She is an illustrator, filmmaker, zine-maker, and jeweller. She makes art inspired by the natural world, mythological creatures, faerytales, and nerd culture. Her work is inspired by her penchant for the fantastical. She developed her drawing process through the metal-etched jewellery she created for her undergraduate degree show collection. The crisp black and white lines have become her signature style, and can be seen in the cover art she creates for the monthly Coin-Operated Press collaborative zines that we publish. 

We were thrilled to have made it to our 2nd birthday, and we celebrated in style, with balloons, banners, and vegan and gluten-free cupcakes made by Elaine Henderson (Chloe’s mum!) They even had the Coin-Op cog and logo, with yummy pink icing!!

We wanted to say a huge thank you to our tablers, for making the event so special. To Emma and Marion at Blunt Knife Co. for giving us a wonderful home in Edinburgh where we can continue our zine-making adventures. And to everybody who came through the doors that weekend, chatted with us, swapped stickers and zines, and bought stuff from our tablers – you supported a bunch of small DIY businesses that day!

We can’t wait to host more zine fairs in the future – keep your eyes on our socials @CoinOpPress and sign up to follow this blog so you don’t miss the callout for our Halloween fair, which will be going live very soon!!

Don’t forget to check out our events calendar for more workshops, zine fairs, and events – we have a tonne coming up, including our Pride protest banner making workshops. Come along, make a banner, and march with us at Edinburgh Pride on 25th June.



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