Tag Archives: buttons

30day Photo meme- day 24 and my new zine

Day 24- Something important to you

Portland Button Works

Clearly Portland Button Works  is important to me, so important that I have been ignoring this blog. It’s been 3 months since I worked on this meme. Normally this time of year I would be posting photos of my garden. The irises have come and gone and the borage is on its way out. Paul presented me with the first strawberry of the season and the cats are happily hanging out with me during the small amount of time I have actually spent  in the yard working.

I have a new zine! It is two tiny mini zines about my experiences at Coachella! I’m only selling them through the Portland Button Works brick and mortar and the online shop.

2 day of Alex Wrekk’s adventures at Coachella helping Zine Works teach the glory of zines to the masses and sleep in the desert. This is two short mini zines about about meeting new friends, getting yelled at for climing lemon trees, seeing awesome music, and amusing observations about the sights and sounds of Coachella.

$1 and only available at Portland Buttons Works. See, that’s the trick. I’m hoping that you’ll go to the site and see other rad stuff you want to get and them too!

I swear I will finish this meme!

Day 25- Graffiti you have seen
Day 26- Something you do everyday
Day 27- Your favorite place
Day 28- A favorite piece of clothing
Day 29- Something you like
Day 30- A photo of you today


I’ve been busy

Generally I don’t like to make excuses for my absence from wherever. It just means that my energy has been diverted to some place else and that with the ebb and flow of life I’ll end up back at someplace comfy. Lately the Portland Button Works shop has consumed me. I’m here everyday from 9 or 10 am to 3 or 4pm. It has been a long time since I had a place to go with specific hours for work and I’m still adjusting. I mean, my commute has gone from 10 feet vertical, to 2.5 blocks from my house.

The shop is open and people trickle in but we are still working to build our space in the neighborhood and also online. I’m slowly transitioning Small world buttons and eventually my Etsy shop into Portland Button Works. Right now we are working on getting all the zines in the shop up on the website and well as all of our buttons. It is a tedious project but we are making headway everyday.

I’d sort of rather being working in my garden, and I know Jackie and OJ would rather have me there too, but growing this shop is something special too. Please check it out and see what I have been up to:

Portland Button Works

Portland Button Works facebook

Portland Button Works tumblr

Portland Button Works flickr

Portland Button Works: 1322 N Killignsworth Portland, Oregon 97217

Portland Button Works, or the thing that has been in the back of my head for months…

Portland Button Works has been an idea kicking around for months. I walked by an empty store front last autumn and thought “It would be nice to have a shop. I could sell buttons. I could sell my custom buttons from an actual shop. I could let  people make their own buttons and have the machines lined up on a bench. I could sell zines too!”  The reality busted in “Shops have a lot of overhead. You would have to be there a lot. What would you do when you left town?” So, I tucked that idea into the back of my head.

Then Derek gave me the large percentage chance that he was moving back to Portland. I was stoked that he would again be working on the Portland Zine Symposium and having him closer would make it a lot easier to put out episodes of Nobody Cares About You Stupid Zine Podcast. Derek also makes custom buttons and someone asked him what he was going to do when he moved back and if he and I would have turf wars for button business, then that person suggested we form a collective.  We joked about it and I told him about my button dream.

The next day he told me that he had a dream that night. In the dream we had a button business called One Hour Buttons, where people could pick up their buttons in about an hour. Something came out of that dream, we started to talk about the things we would want and not want in a shop. We talked about business and physical locations all the idea that we were dreaming about, but every time I would say something about an opinion I thought he might not like, he actually agreed. It was really exciting to think about but it was still just a dream.

Then a space was open that would require us to look at it immediately once we got back from the Chicago Zine Fest. We thought we would look at that and a few other spaces but first, we had to have a serious talk. So, we sat down over breakfast. It was fun to make lists and share googleDocs of ideas but the brass tacks of it were scary and involved leases, insurance, promotion, and deciding what to do with our individual businesses.

The deciding what to do with our individual button businesses was a big thing, still is, especially for me. I’ve been making  custom buttons in Portland since 2000 and working under the business Small World Buttons since 2006. I have a lot of repeat customers in Portland and beyond and I had to build all of that back up since I left where I was working before.  The truth is that I can see my personal capacity coming at me. There is only so much I could do alone from promotions to the actual button pressing. I’m tired of going at it alone in business. Derek is a good friend and hard worker. I have organized the Portland Zine Symposium and a podcast with him. He”l, we’ve even traveled two days on a train to Chicago and didn’t get on each other’s nerves! Derek is clever and funny and excitable and has lots of skills that I don’t. He’s good at encouraging me and pushing me when I need to be pushed. We have a lot of compatible values, ethics, and politics. And even though he is straight edge, I know I will enjoy this new business partnership in my life.

So, the past 2 weeks were about business filings and setting up credit union accounts and getting all our ducks in a row. We have approached a small handful of zines we would like to carry, we have build a website, I’ve purchased a new button machine in 2.25″ size that will make bottle openers, we have worked out a logo, and more things we can’t actually talk about yet. I am really excited about this!

So, along with creating this website here: Portland Button Works, the Facebook page: here, and the Twitter page here we have also started an IndieGoGo campaign. I have a bit of money but having more will really help. If you can give anything it will help us out.  We wanted your contribution to be an investment for you to get something you would already want so reward levels range from copies of our zines, a Portland Button Works bottle opener, pre-orders of custom items, and lifetime discounts on custom orders.  While your monetary contributions would be greatly appreciate, we would also love it if you could help promote this project and spread the word about our fundraiser.

Please go here to help out!

Thanks so much! Words of support and encouragement are greatly appreciated!


long post about the past two weeks…

It has been a hectic two weeks leading up to the Portland Zine Symposium and the aftermath workload has stretched me to my limit but I think I’m just about caught up. Currently I’m house/dog/car sitting for my sister at her house up in Kenton. I have had a bunch of buttons orders to take care of and I’e been chilling in the ait conditioning with her dogs.

Here’s a small recap of my past 2 weeks. Tuesday the 28th was my housemate marc’s birthday. He and my Paul, Lisa and other paul are in a band called The Tagalongs. Marc wanted to play a show on his birthday so they decided to play in other Paul’s basement for their very first show.

It was fun! I really like them. Afterwards I sat in a hammock on the back porch and we realized that Shawn Granton is the connection between everything! We also decided that the Tagalongs would be my “backing band” durring the IPRC benefit show. I thought I would have other people reading from zine but it turned out that it was just bands and DJs and that made me feel a little weird so I thought I would add a band to my alloted set.

So the Tagalongs second show was at Holocene. They played well.

I was late getting to the Holcene show because I was freaking out at the IPRC trying to place people at tables for the symposium. We made it way too difficult for ourselve and we didn’t even realize it until Thursday. here is why:

1) we offered tables per day so we had people who had 1, 2, or 3 days that we had to seat.

2) we limited the full tables to 30 which left 120 half tables to place people with 3 days each table. There were a ridiculous amount of possibilities.

3) There were over 250 tablers that all had to be corresponded with including about 15 cancelations mostly due to economic reasons.

4) I had the bright idea to put the names and locations of the tablers in the program this year. I think it was a  great idea but it was way too much work.

After the IPRC show a bunch of us headed back to the IPRC and started making copies of the program, stapling and folding. I got home around 1:30am and got up at 5 to start working on things. My throat stated hurting and needless to say I was a bit sleep deprived but I had work to do.

I forgot to take a lot of photos and most of the symposium was a blur. I filled two cars with zine symposium crap like workshop supplies, old symposium merch,  donated food. Just lots of stuff that had to be hauled.

Most of this stuff stays in my basement for most of the year. How did the Portland Zine Symposium acquite so much crap?!

Most of this stuff stays in my basement for most of the year. How did the Portland Zine Symposium acquite so much crap?!

I think I spent more time making coffee than actually sitting at my table. I think things wenpretty smoothly. We had a lot of food donations and lots of coffee. Friday was pretty chill but I was beat by the end of it and headed home to crash.

Saturday was rad. I helped with a workshop about the Cascadia Zine Coaliting, an idea that came out of the zine librarian “(un)Conference. The idea is to promote zines in the pacific northwest. It was really rad to get everyone together and as soon as I’m back home with and all the symposium stuff is finally packed away I’m going to start some work on it.

I didn’t take too many photos but this one is a bit odd. I have never taken this shot at the symposium. Basically, if you walk out of the ballroom with all the tables and take a left this is what you see. From here you can take a skybridge to the Cramer building which is where all of our workshops are.

hallway to Cramer

hallway to Cramer

The Multnomah County Library always brings a huge library card to events and has people get pictures taken with it.

Androo Robinson and Paul Burke

Androo Robinson and Paul Burke

Me with the library card.

Me with the library card.

My walking brainstorm of a friend Rustin and his chapbooks including one full of poetry about staplers.

My walking brainstorm of a friend Rustin and his chapbooks including one full of poetry about staplers.

That’s about all the photos I took. The symposium breezed by and next thing I knew it was time to pack up all the stuff and head home again. We only ended up with one houseguest out of 3 we were supposed to have which was weird. I now how a huge pile of symposium supplies in my livingroom that I didn’t have time to put away.

Monday was spent tying up a couple of loose ends and Tuesday morning Paul and I headed to the airport to catch a plane to Oakland and BART to San Francisco to see Jarvis Cocker. We flew in on Tuesday and got to our hotel in Japantown that was on the corner of the hotel with a neat veiw out two windows. It was between 90 and 105 degrees in Portland and we were in San Francisco wearing sweathshirts wishing I had brought some leggings. weird.

Chase in the corner of our cozy room with nice screens for the windows.

Chase in the corner of our cozy room with nice screens for the windows.

view from one of our windows

view from one of our windows

We walked around about 5 miles and found the San Francisco Bewery which was alright. One the way back to our htel we stopped at BevMo! for our first BevMo! experience and loaded up on neat beers and a rad bottle opener that looks like a key but has a bottle opener cut into it.

At the Filmore we had the most expensive beer we have ever drank. Our mouths dropped at the $24 price tag for 2 beers! Holy Crap! good thinkg we had some beers before we left!

Jarvis put on an absolutely amazing show. I knew it would be. Were really close and to the left of the stage. I didn’t bring my camera so here are some photos from my phone.

i think this was either during Fat Children on Black Magic

i think this was either during Fat Children on Black Magic

On the way back to the BART station after eating at Herbivore we walked by that stupid Full House Park and the Full House House. There were tons of people standing around taking photos of the house. We thought it was hilarious!

So, we stopped and took a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. Paul actually took a photo of me taking a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. I dont have that one though.

So, we stopped and took a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. Paul actually took a photo of me taking a photo of people taking photos of the Full House house. I don't have that one though.

and to round out this wacky post here is a cute home improvement cat

hi OJ!

hi OJ!

And one of our blooming artichokes that Pauls friend was amazed by.

And one of our blooming artichokes that Paul's friend was amazed by.

Tonight is our last night with the dogs and my sister’s air conditioning then it is back to my messy and hot house. Time for some serious cleaning and sorting.

Zine Symposium, OPB interview, buttons buttons more buttons

I spent better part of the day working on the program for the Portland ZIne Symposium. It doesn’t look as fun or interesting as my zines usually do but it’s there to have information and it has a lot. We are even including tabler and their table numbers this year which is an improvement. Actually, there are a lot of improvements this year! mainly that we have an awesome crew of people and it’s not ust 3 -4 of us doing everything like last year!

Tomorrow Morning at 9am I’ll be on 91.5 OPB talking about zines! Go here for more info.I talked with a woman today for awhile and the usually problem can up that I talk way too damn fast when I’m excited and it’s hard for me not to be excited about zines!

I also did layout for a bunch of buttons because I have over 3,000 that I need to get out in the next week. They have all been notified of my impending symposium deadline so at least that give me a bit of a break.

The Zine Symposium starts in 1 week!

The Portland Zine Symposium starts one week from today! We pretty much have our workshop matrix sorted an dare working on tabling placement next week after we know who has dropped out and who is staying and whatnot.

I spenta  few hours yesterday driving around in rush hour traffic doing pick ups and shipping for items the symposium needs with fellow organizer Katie. I think we have most of what we need for symposiumn and for the 24 hour zine challege that is happening at Cosmic Money Comics this Saturday. We also have received several awesome donations.

On top of all that it seems that everyone wants buttons and they want them right now. I made 1,000 buttons on Tuesday and 900 buttons yesterday. people seem pleased with how quickly I have been getting them out but I don’t want to leave anything to chance when I know how much of a time suck the symposium is going to be next week.

I have been asked to take part in the IPRC‘s writing and comics certificate program. There is more information about it here and the Mercury even wrote a bit about it here. It is basically a year long course in publishing writing and comics. I’m going to be turning Stolen Sharpie Revolution into a lesson plan with the help of my mom. I’m hoping I can pull a lesson plan together with the spirit of SSR that there is no wrong way to make a zine and that my instruction is just a jumping off point. I think it should work out awesomely! Get in touch with the IPRC if you are interested in the courses.

Ok, back to button making!

Happy International Zine Month!

So, we have made it to July and it is International Zine Month!

What are you doing to celebrate? Here are some ideas listed on the IZM site:

Make a 24 hour zine. Set up a zine reading, a zine swap, a cut and paste party, a zine fest, or even a simple zine workshop at your local library or community center. Write a letter to every zine you read, leave your zine at random places around town like buses, bathrooms or universities. Order zines directly from the creator, make a shirt with iron on letters that says “ask me about zines”, make buttons with phrases like “zines saved my life” or “do you read zines”. Send out zine fliers with your mail or leave them around your town. Approach shops in your town about carrying zines, donate to zine libraries, start a zine library, and the list goes on!

Here’s what I have been doing:

-wrote long over due letters to zine pen pals.

-thought about doing a 24 hour zine about beer.

-wished lots of people happy International Ziner Month.

-Worked on the International Zine Month site trying to collect all the zine activities in July in one place.

-Put two buttons up on my Etsy site for 20 cents each. One is a design by Emma Jane Falconer (my Etsy team zine co-leader) and says “Up For Trades” to be worn to zine events so people will know you are trade friendly. The other is part of my “Ask me about” series and says “Ask me about zines”.

-Also I’m an organizer for the Portland Zine Symposium. Tables are almost filled up. Saturday is completely booked and there are a few half tables for Friday and Sunday I think .We are also looking for volunteers and some more workshop leaders.

Ok, back to work for me!