Books & Print

Do It Together: An Interview with Jade Blood of York Zine Fest – Part 2

Image credit: Kayti Peschke & York Zine Fest

by Chin Lin Gan

This interview with Jade Blood – Northern based artist, teacher and founder of York Zine Fest – is part 2 of a 3 part series.

Just like the groceries in M&S, art is so essential to our lives; yours in particular. How did you start making zines?

I made my first zine when I was at school, and didn’t realise that it was a zine…  I was maybe like six or seven, I made this amazing book which I still have now. I cut bits out, there were funny bone skeletons, it moved around. I’ve always just been obsessed with making things, and drawing.. 

I started making postal mail art with a friend of mine at university. We started a project, called “The Postal Project”, and had this sideline where we would go to craft fairs and design places. We didn’t really make much money, and were called the Happy Cat Collective. We used the university photocopier – a really nice lecturer gave us his key card and let us photocopy them for free, which was amazing. This lecturer actually made zines as well, so I won’t give their identity away… but it was really nice and really supportive. 

I love that your lecturer abetted your zinemaking, which parallels your life as an educator now. Is there anything in particular in your role as an art educator that you feel is important in educating future artists/children?

I think my main approach is definitely to make pupils capable…  I think it’s really important that they learn, from tidying up to being left alone to get on with screen printing. I strongly believe in not imprinting my aesthetic or vision onto them. What I really, really don’t like in our education is hearing students say this teacher told me to do this and this will get me a better grade. I know we have to achieve A Levels, or GCSE, and a degree… but I don’t think that it’s a good idea to only do what a tutor tells you, to get a good mark. I really, really am against that. I just don’t think that’s what you’re in art for… it’s about expressing yourself.

If I could,  I would run a free school, where it was completely mad and experimental.  I am allowed to do that at Bootham School to be honest, because [the Quaker ethos] is very anarchic. The Quakers also say to trust your inner self, empowering yourself… It’s nice to believe that your voice is worth hearing. I want students to really stay true to themselves. But any good art teacher would say that, I hope.

Image credit: Kayti Peschke & York Zine Fest