Croq Zine (Issue #7)
Remember reading or making your first zine? It was most likely folded in half, stapled and sold, given or traded to your friends. Staying up all night at your local Kinko’s, you felt inspired and part of a something bigger-something revolutionary. You went to your local bookstore and bought zines made by people you didn’t know personally, but felt connected to in a way that no magazine ever could? Croq is like that.
Edited by Heather Mann of Portland, OR, Croq Zine is focused on crafts and crafting culture. After the reclaiming and subsequent mainstream popularity of “craftiness”, it is refreshing to see something reminiscent of it’s DIY (and I don’t mean the cable channel) roots. It’s a quarter page-sized, paper zine - staples and all. Features include hand-drawn illustrations and some full color photos. A cute button, with the green crocodile logo was pinned on the cover. Croq Zine’s website, www.croqzine.com, says that it “came about due to a mutual frustration in regards to the current craft resurgence”; the political importance of maintaining authenticity in the craft world isn’t lost on these ladies.
Issue #7’s strongest pieces were "How To Make Maternity Jeans" and "How To Make a Little Red Riding Caplet." Both projects were easy-to-follow yet challenging enough for readers who have used a sewing machine in the past decade. Croq is about more than just ideas for crafts, but also about ideas for what to do with the art we create. An interview with Melissa Detloff, who raises money for various animal charities through a craft sales website called “Crafters For Critters”, was particularly inspiring.
Also notable was "How To Write A Press Release." Because many crafters are in the business of promoting their work, information like this can be empowering. However, the example of a press release, which accompanied the piece, contradicted its own rules of keeping it interesting and to-the-point.
Articles that were less about crafts and more about the writers’ personal experiences, childhoods, etc. were at worst- out of place and mediocre, and at best-mildly entertaining in a “reading someone’s live-journal” sort of way. Next time I find myself tempted by the glossy pages of Martha Stewart or zoned out watching Trading Spaces on TV, I’ll try to pick up Croq Zine and a sewing machine instead.