I grew up in Oregon. I lived there for 24 years, I read (and eventually wrote) my first zines there; so it was with a certain nostalgia that I enjoyed WELCOME TO BEND. I don’t know Bend that well – I was raised on the coast, while Bend is farther inland and quite a bit larger than Coos Bay, but like most towns in Oregon, Bend is not very big and is surrounded by wilderness.
Oregonians tend to have a fond relationship with the woods, and the many rainy weeks and lonely winters do foster a predisposition to crafting and general indoor hobbies. Issues four and five of WELCOME TO BEND perfectly encapsulate that way of life.
The delightful thing about issue five is that it is both a helpful chronicle of the ways you might fill your time when the winter weather has you isolated, and a product of that same process. Laura’s winter activities include standards like jigsaw puzzles, mah jong and listening to music, along with more personal fare like sewing projects with her family and collecting objects she finds on the ground. Little tales about this winter wiles have been typed on a manual typewriter, cut into strips and laid over nicely reproduced photographs commemorating her winter projects. The individually decorated covers feature scraps of Laura’s abstract paintings, and bits of leftover cloth and mail art are machine stitched into the cardstock. The zine is a lovely piece of art on its own – probably similar to what you’d find among dedicated mail artists around the world, but to me it was also distinctly Oregonian. (Posted on 8/13/12)