Our 10th installment of Zinesters in LCF Special Collections features Joe Carlough, their zine Getting Thrifty can be found in our zine collection.

Name and location:
Joe Carlough, Philadelphia PA, USA

How long have you been making zines for?
I put out my first zine, Today Terrific, in the summer of 2008.

What do you like to create zines about?
Anything. I put out some of my own poetry, fiction, a lot of non-fiction essays – sometimes personal, sometimes not. I’ve lately been really enjoying putting together zine compilations around a theme, like MOON, a small zine of stories about the moon, or PETS, a series of tiny books about different peoples’ pets. I’m currently working on the second issue of a zine I made called Blue Suitcase, about a mass amount of scribbly writing I found in a man’s apartment when I was cleaning it for work after he’d died.

What is your favourite zine/comic/book?
Let’s see, right now I’m reading a lot of Missy Kulik’s zines – particularly her Dork Lifestyle comics collections. Katie and I run a reading series and zine library of about 500 zines from our house, so I’m always reading through the older stuff we’ve collected, too. Another zine of note I was just looking at was Haiku and Holga by Michelle Spadafore, that’s a pretty series.

Tell us a bit more about your creative process…
Well, I guess I have 2 ways of making zines: sometimes I’m working on some piece of writing that I’ve spent actual time thinking about and planning out, or putting together a small anthology of writing. That’s the more sensible way to start a zine. But sometimes, I like to start with the design first. I run a small business designing and printing chapbooks for people, so I have dozens of cover samples that I’ve made that didn’t work out for one reason or another, so sometimes I’ll wade through the rejected covers and find one that I really love, and then make a zine to fit the cover. In fact, I find myself doing that more and more lately, or going back and reissuing old zines with new designs.

What does it feel like to have your zine/s in the London College of Fashion Library’s Special Collections?
It feels great. And I’ve already made a new penpal – a lovely young woman who read my zines in your collection thoughtfully wrote to me about them. I’m so glad that more official libraries are taking an interest in zines, keep up the good work!

What influenced Getting Thrifty?
Ha! We like to set up shot online and at some markets selling old vintage items and antiques, and thought it’d be a hoot spending a day documenting a trip around to the four Impact Thrift Stores in our area. We really found a lot of neat stuff – unfortunately, we have the problem of wanting to keep most of what we find…

What one piece of advice would you give UAL students about zine making?
Don’t get bogged down in the details. That’s the magic of zines – you can always reissue, redesign, rewrite. If you decide you want to spent a few months studiously researching a topic and writing an academic dissertation in the form of a zine, you can! If you see a broken glass on the sidewalk and want to write a 4 page zine about it, you can! It doesn’t matter what you want to make, but the more you make, the easier (and better) everything else that you make will get. You just have to actually do it.


Find out more about Joseph Carlough at Displaced Snail Publications