Fix Your Clothes Officially Pubs Today!

Fix Your Clothes: The Sustainable Magic of Mending, Patching, and Darning

 

by Raleigh Briggs

64 pp, 5.5×7″ paperback, ISBN: 978-1-62106-906-5

Out today! April 11th, 2017 from Microcosm Publishing

The bestselling zine is now a charming new paperback encouraging readers to save money (and the planet) by fixing their own clothes.

Clothes are expensive and the clothing industry is the 2nd most polluting industry worldwide, not to mention responsible for oppressive labor conditions. DIY enthusiast Raleigh Briggs offers a simple solution, giving readers the basic tools to fix, sustain, and breathe new life into clothes they’d otherwise throw away.

Ideal for thrifters, vintage clothes collectors, and anyone into not tossing their clothes because a button pops off or a zipper is stuck. There is something deeply pleasing and satisfying about mending and making clothes last.”— Angry Chicken

“A really solid foundation on sewing.” – Utne Reader

 

About Raleigh Briggs:

Raleigh is one of our best-selling authors, with Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills, Make it Last: Prolonging and Preserving the Things We Love, and a charming collection of zines, like Herbal First Aid and Non-Toxic Housecleaning. She lives with her husband and two needy cats in Seattle, Washington.

 

Rampant Media Consumption edition 2017!

For the first time in a while, we asked a few staff members what they’ve been into so far this year! Read on for Elly, Cyn, & Jeri’s responses, plus a gift!

Elly

My favorite media lately:

Patti Smith accepting Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize more graciously than he ever did anything in his life. Her mid-song screwup makes the performance even better.

– I read In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate — a really mindblowing and wonderful book about addiction

– And I loved the movie Kedi, a documentary about the street cats of Istanbul:

 

 Cyn

• Been catching up on the amazing graphic novel Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. The horror genre is my passion and Joe Hill consistently puts out brilliant writing, and this is some of the best: engaging, thoughtful, endlessly creative and often viscerally brutal.

• Been obsessed with song covers; my current songs on loop are Johnny Cash’s Hurt, Rasputina’s You Don’t Own Me, Janet Devlin’s Friday I’m In Love.

• Was disappointed with Marvel Television for the many, many ways they dropped the ball on their new Netflix show Iron Fist, but fell in loveloveLOVE with FX’s Marvel show, Legi⊗n, which was amAAZing (why can’t I find feminist analysis/reviews on it yet??? ).

• Recently reconnected with my college best friend watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while on the phone together, which is something we used to do (in person) when I was on the east coast. We had been halfway through season 5 when I moved, and in March we finished it via phone. It’s my 3rd or 4th time watching the show, but the finale left me (us) in tears all over again. Weeks later, they’ve taken all 7 seasons of Buffy off Netflix…

 

Jeri

Soundtracks! I am super judgmental about movie soundtracks. In fact the film can be shitty but if the soundtrack is stellar, the film is redeemed. Here is a list of films with great soundtracks. And listen on Spotify below.

 • Snow Falling on Cedars • Last Tango in Paris • Public Enemies • The Alamo (the one with Billy Bob Thornton) • The Revenant • Bridge of Spies • Let’s Get Lost • Miami Vice (the movie with Jamie Fox) • Ned Kelly (with Heath Ledger) • Last of the Mohicans • The Last Time I Committed Suicide • The Last Picture Show • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. • The Changeling (with Angelina Jolie) • In the Electric Mist • Country Strong • The Informers • Paranoid Park • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly • 

 

What are YOU reading/watching/listening to/or obsessed with this year??

Use the hashtag #RampantMediaConsumption on Twitter, Litsy, or Instagram, tag us or let us know, and get a 10% off code good for anything on our website all month, to further encourage your media consumption!

Small Biz Spotlight on Chin Music Press

 
Chin Music Press is a fascinating indie press currently based out of Pike Place Market. Started in Japan in 2002, Chin Music blends Japanese aesthetics and literary beauty into eye-catching, magical books. You can now get a selection of Microcosm books at their shop, and we wanted to know more about this lovely company and the story behind the books.
Elly asked co-founder Bruce Rutledge a few questions to get the details…
1. How did Chin Music Press come to exist?
Yuko and I were living in Tokyo. I was working for a magazine and a TV station, and she had recently left a wire service reporting job. This was around the turn of the century. I came up with the crazy idea of starting a publishing house that focused on Japan partly because I wanted to get away from the grind of daily journalism and work in a longer form and partly because I saw the mainstream media paying less and less attention to Japan (this was in the early 2000s, as attention was shifting to China). I thought, “This is our chance!”
2. There’s a lot to be said about your books, but the thing I keep coming back to is how beautiful they are as physical objects. Can you talk about your design principles and inspirations? This also brings up a taboo topic in publishing: the economics of it. It’s no secret that book production values have plummeted along with the publishing industry’s race to the bottom in the past decade. How do you continue to make beautiful books in an era when everyone else seems to be trying to pare away any extras?
Our first hire turned out to make a huge impact on the press. We hired Craig Mod, a young designer just out of college, and somehow finagled a visa for him to work in Japan. He was inspired by Japanese bookmaking aesthetics and principles, so from the start, our books had a different look and feel than other American books. We included sewn-in bookmarks, washi paper, we printed straight on the cloth covers (now common but not so much in 2004-5). Our first book, Kuhaku & Other Accounts from Japan, was beautiful, but it also was a financial disaster — except it got us a distribution deal with Consortium, which is very hard to do when you have just one book. That helped ease the financial pain. But what really turned matters around was our second book, a response to what was going on in New Orleans after Katrina. The US government response was so outrageously inadequate that we were compelled to put together an anthology, structured like a jazz funeral, called Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? It was a hit in New Orleans and is now in a third printing. The book was profitable, so I rather foolishly thought that I had gotten the hang of this publishing thing and went full-speed ahead. I had no idea how hard this business is.
Your question about how we create these physical objects and still stay in business is a good one. We’ve scrape and claw to get by. We believed that as everything started going digital, people would begin to long for well-made things. A beautiful book would take on more meaning today than it did in 1980 or 1970. I think our assessment was right, but it also means our profit margins are slimmer. We needed to sell more books directly to readers than your average press to make up the difference. That’s one of the reasons we opened our store in Pike Place Market.
Over the years, we’ve gotten a reputation for making beautiful books. That has led to some projects where we’ve helped businesses or individuals put out their own beautiful books. That has made the difference on the bottom line.
3. You’ve been celebrated as one of the rare publishing houses that operates a bookstore. Can you talk about how you decided to do that and how it’s been going? Any lessons learned for others?
These things go in waves. We think we have this unique idea, but across the country other like-minded people are coming to the same conclusions. There was a wave of indie presses around 2004-2005 that came about largely because they could use the Internet to find readers. Us, Two Dollar Radio, Exterminating Angel Press and many others. Microcosm, Akashic and others took advantage of the early Internet in the mid 1990s. Now, I see a wave of publishers opening their own shops. Melville House, Milkweed, Curbside Splendor and others have all opened their own stores in the last few years. So we’re part of a wave. For us, it is about having a place to build community. I suspect that’s true of the others too.
 The bookstore is connected to our office. It makes for a healthy learning lab. Our staff can see what sells, how people interact with the books, who is attracted to what.
 As for lessons learned, I would say don’t rush into this. Retail is hard, Make sure you don’t over-leverage yourself where the store starts taking up all of your time. Keep your sales goals modest. Keep your eye on community, not on maximizing sales. That approach will bear fruit in the long run.
4. What are some of your favorite books lately, both in your publishing list and on the shelves of your store?
We are about to release Ghosts of Seattle Past, an ambitious anthology of lit, art, comix and photos that looks at what we’ve lost in Seattle to gentrification and other forces. The book will include seven hand-drawn maps. It’s a massive undertaking for us, and we can’t wait to unveil it on April 11 at Elliott Bay Books.

We’re also very proud of our first children’s book, Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Kaneko Misuzu. We’ve had to go back to the printer twice since September to meet demand. Who says poetry doesn’t sell?

We’ve just added a sample of Microcosm’s books to our collection. I love the aesthetic and the intention behind the books. In fact, I love being an indie publisher in this part of the world. From Wave and Copper Canyon poetry to Fantagraphics and Dark Horse to the amazing talent that comes out of the Ooligan program, like Overcup, and the sterling literary presses like Forest Avenue, indie-press culture in the PNW is flourishing.

5. Looking into your crystal ball, where do you see Chin Music and the book business as a whole in the next 5 or 10 years?
We are about to sign a five-year lease for our shop in Pike Place Market, so I see our store still going strong, still building community, adding to the literary ecosystem in Seattle and the PNW. I don’t see e-books taking a larger slice of the pie — they’re a flawed product in many ways because we don’t own them or share them like books — but I do see digital marketing and data mining being more and more important. A decade from now, indie presses will still be the trendsetters, the ones taking the most risk. That’s our role, and I don’t see that changing.

 

 
Get more info and check out their amazing stuff at www.chinmusicpress.com, or visit their Pike Place shop.

Small Biz Spotlight on Brown Bear Herbs

Zines featured at the Brown Bear Herbs store

In an ongoing effort to tell the world about the great places that valiantly stock Microcosm’s work, this week we’re highlighting Portland’s own Brown Bear Herbs, an herbal apothecary in NE PDX.

Founded and run by herbalist Arati Ursus, Brown Bear Herbs stocks herbal cigarettes and blends, crystals, tinctures, teas, and a curated selection of wellness zines. Curious about this magical place, we asked Arati a few questions about what they do at Brown Bear…

 

1. What’s the story of Brown Bear Herbs? What makes you most excited to get up every morning and do what you do?

I like to help people wake up or become lucid with their personal stories. For me, herbal healing has been one of the biggest sources of “aha” moments and realizing that my reality is not as fixed as I thought. We can transform our realities. Calling certain things “bad” is poisonous to our minds and not at all conducive to deep healing. I like to make “bad” things “good”. I started with herbal chocolates that address the reasons people supplement with chocolate–mostly emotions. Now I primarily work with smoking blends and the reasons behind smoking. People can heal their
addictions by the same means that binds them. This is transformation!

I love hearing success stories from people who have quit smoking using my herbal cigarettes. Breaking free of addiction and dependence on greedy corporations is super empowering. It makes me smile to see it happen.

“Mother Earth, we are here to learn.”

2. Thanks for selling the books and zines we publish and distribute! What are your favorite ones that you get from us?

“Blood and Boundaries herbal bath, a chunk of raw hematite to ground intense energy and “What the Ladies Have to Say” to read while you’re in the bath.”

We have really been enjoying the School of Life Designs–but also like to have on hand political zines and books to help people get out and make a difference.

3. What’s your favorite thing you have in the shop right now?

A trio of support/empowerment: Our Blood and Boundaries herbal bath, a chunk of raw hematite to ground intense energy and “What the Ladies Have to Say” to read while you’re in the bath.

4. Based on your interactions with customers in the last couple months, what’s your prediction for our political/cultural future? Or what would you like to see happen?

I am inspired by the level of outrage and activism I see. I’d love to see a increasing surge in loud, voices and sharing personal stories. Everyone’s voice matters and everyone deserves respect and human rights. I want to see the realization that we (the collective minorities and undervalued and those who believe in human rights for all) are actually the majority and we will get what we demand.

Check out Arati’s shop online at BrownBearHerbs.com and in the real world at 309 NE Wygant Street, PDX, or follow them on instagram: @brownbearherbs or on Facebook.

The team at Brown Bear Herbs

Good Trouble Giveaway

Greetings!

One thing I love about my new position at Microcosm is that now I get to give away books — free! I mean, not all the time… but a lot, and it is becoming one of my favorite things to do.

Here’s the deal: This year I’d like to spend time telling the story of not Microcosm but the people who work here, make us what we are, and helped build this business along the way. But for each month I’d like to host a great big book giveaway of past books! Each giveaway (hosted on Goodreads) will offer up 50 copies of one back-list title.

For the first, though, we start at the beginning:

Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s is the memoir of Joe Biel, Microcosm’s founder, and the story of Microcosm itself; how it came into existence, the troubles it (and its members) faced along the way, and how it became what it is now [a thriving indie publishing house with books and zines all over the world, of course]. The history involved is deepened by Biel’s rocky childhood and (at first un-diagnosed) place on the autism spectrum. Published one year ago to mark Microcosm’s 20th anniversary, Good Trouble dives into all the shit and splendor that’s gone into making us who we are, from the very beginning.

Check out this book trailer from a kickstarter project launched for the book’s release:

So, starting today and ending March 31st, just before the start of Autism Awareness Month, enter to win one of 50 copies of Good Trouble, and get a nitty-gritty glimpse behind the Microcosm curtain.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Good Trouble by Joe Biel

Good Trouble

by Joe Biel

Giveaway ends March 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Stay awesome and good luck!

Cyn

Indestructible, Edition 3, Now Available

While our web-shoppers have been able to snag the new edition of Cristy C. Road’s rad intersectional memoir via our website, the rest of the world has had to wait– for today!!

Starting today, Indestructible: Growing Up Queer, Cuban, and Punk in Miami is now available wherever your favorite books are sold!

And, you know… on the website still too…

But what’s it about?

In her Miami high school, Cristy Road fought valiantly to figure out anddefend her queer gender identity, Cuban cultural roots, and punk-rock nature, and just be her own damn self. Her illustrated memoir of those times is particularly ideal for today’s social climate. Through daring writing and illustrations Cristy reminds us of the strength and ability of punk youth—for addressing things like rape, homophobia, and misogyny. This is no exception; giving a voice to every frustrated fifteen year old girl under fire from her peers for being queer or butch or punk.

Is it any good?

We think so! And other people do, too; here’s some of the praise it’s gotten:

“Literally drawn from the intersection of Road’s Cuban identity, her queerness, punk rock, …this portrait in black and white is electric.” — BUST Magazine

“Refreshingly candid, Indestructible is a worthwhile read for teenagers who are struggling with their journey in to adulthood, particularly gay teens, and for adults who have forgotten how difficult the teenage years are.” — Mass Movement

Road’s novel is a testimony of survival ­ a powerful reminder of how we must create (and re-create) our identities ­ whether the mainstream is with us or not.”— Feminist Review

“[Road’s] artwork is a party on the page, or a riot, or a revolution. With language and imagery she is creating a mural of radical joy.” – Michelle Tea


Who’s Cristy C. Road?

Cristy is a Cuban-American artist and writer currently in Brooklyn, NY. Her previous works include Distance Makes the Heart Grow Sick, GreenZine, and Bad Habits: A Love Story. She can be found sharing her radical art and magically rad new tarot deck on her website.

Getting in a rebel mood…

This month we asked a few staff members to share something they dig about a few of the books & zines in our new Rebel Alliance Superpack

Jeri Cain:

Edible Secrets: “Seems like the CIA tried hundreds of times to kill Castro, and still he died an old man.  He vowed to not die until he saw the destruction of America.  Then Trump was elected.  Castro died soon after….”

The Spanish Civil War: “A fascinating read with lessons to be gleaned in our current political climate.  Hemingway’s participation as a war journalist led to his penning For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

Cyn:

Coping Skills: Social and political burnout is getting more and more real by the day, people! I’m exhausted! Dr. Faith’s very useful zine is getting me through it one tip at a time. My favorite parts:

“Escapism is intentionally moving to another space in a mental and emotional way… It gives you a chance to soothe your tired self without getting trapped in a nasty cycle of perseverating on memories. Seriously. Go to a thrift store and buy up all the Babysitter’s Club books, run a bubble bath, and escape the fuck up outta this mess. Doctor’s orders.”

and

“4) Put something new in the world that didn’t exist before. Destruction, as you well know, is not an abstraction. It’s a very real entity we cope with on a daily basis. … When other people out there in the world take away from you, create back.”

Everyday Bicycling: One of the things we love about bikes here is the level of freedom they allow for so many different types of people. When I first started riding (I couldn’t afford transit tickets and was about to lose my car) this useful tome gave me a really good foundation to start from. And if you think about it (we do!) if the apocalypse comes, bikes are going to be the way to go, so start learning now!

Tomy:

Six Days in Cincinnati: Socially relevant, informative, and poignant… this is exactly what comix journalism is all about! It’s a must read for everyone who lives in this time of turmoil and social injustice, especially those who need to be reminded of what happens when the United States falters.

Projects Worth Kicking

Our Biketopia kickstarter campaign is going well (only 4 days left to be a part of it) and I just wanted to highlight a few other projects going on too that we love, and just had to share.

 

#RESIST Through Our Eyes is a documentary telling the experiences and concerns of deaf and hard-of-hearing people living in these turbulent cultural times (are there ever not turbulent cultural times?), and how they work to make their voices heard.

From the kickstarter: “… will follow and document Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s personal experiences and concerns when their human and civil rights are violated, challenged and threatened in the current political climate of chaos, toxicity, propaganda, “alternative facts” and uncertainty that exist under a regime Administration.”

 

This LGBTQ+ webcomic looks cute “af” and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before this kickstarter, but I’m now in love. “Go Get a Roomie!” is looking to print the 2nd volume of the webcomic (and reprint the first).

From the kickstarter: Go Get a Roomie‘s first book focuses on Roomie’s wild hijinks and the characters’ personalities. The second book softly branches out to a more tender and spiritual look on these growing bud(die)s, by focusing on the relationship.

Bringing oldies back and breathing new life into superheroes,“Not Forgotten,” A Public Domain Superhero Anthology is doing one of my favorite things — making something old new again, and being creative as hell while doing it. Assuming they give due credit to the original creators and bring diverse voices to the table, this looks like a rad comic project.

From the kickstarter: Reimagined by top creators in the industry, this anthology collects over 20+ short stories paying homage and tribute to some of the greatest heroes and heroines lost to time with brand new, never-before-seen, exclusive tales bringing these amazing creations back to life!

An Honourable Mention goes to “The Little Particle That Could,” Particle Physics For Kids, which is already funded but just too fantastic — I’m a firm believer in teaching young kids science in creative ways.

 

And if you haven’t checked out our campaign for Biketopia yet, check out the video below and help support the writers and creators involved….

This Valentine, would you be our… Patreon?

This year we’re diving into Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows YOU to be more involved in what WE do, particularly when it comes to our DIGITAL content.

First, it’s our way of putting all of this digital goodness together in one place. Second, it’s a way to send you zines and books that we love and recommend and believe in and think you will too.

While you can support us at pretty much any level… Might I suggest our new Zine of the Month club? A new zine sent to you every month and our latest e-book. You basically can’t go wrong.

Consider it a collection of tools and resources for the rebellion—the inspiration, motivation, and reminder that you aren’t alone in your fight.

See more here!

Happy Birthday Microcosm!

This year, Microcosm celebrates 21 years of getting shit done and growing your small world.

More fun than a beer in a bookstore, and much better for you, punk rock press Microcosm Publishing is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. After so much time in the biz, 2016 was our best year ever and we have the world’s zinesters, readers, and fans to thank.

Established in 1996 and still true to the same mission, Microcosm uses a unique vertical integration model to thrive in an industry many thought dying. We now have a backlist of over 400 empowering books and zines, plus a friend and fan network across the globe. “Microcosm replaced my own drinking and it’s amazing to watch how self-empowering books that help you create the life and world you want to see are needed more than ever. Now, 21 years later, we are focusing around our own sustainability in order to amplify marginalized voices,” says founder Joe Biel. This year we’re diving into our mission more than ever, working to build diversity in the industry, tell even more outsiders’ stories, and empower readers around the world, one bad-ass book at a time.

This year, we’re building a rebellion and healing our selves with books like Unfuck Your Brain, getting wild with cultures in Basic Fermentation, growing with Cats I’ve Known, and having all the fun with our idols in a new edition of Henry & Glenn Forever

Joe Biel and Elly Blue sharing Microcosm with the world, 2016

Microcosm has long diverged from established publishing culture and industry practices, not least by focusing on publishing marginalized voices: representing women, people of color, queer folks, people who are transgender, people living in poverty, and those with disabilities. Now that we have entered what Roxane Gay has called “this rising age of American disgrace,” we are committed to doing this even better. Women of color, autistic queer kids, anyone who is thriving and forging ahead despite the odds, we want to hear from you.

To celebrate this milestone, we’ll be blogging, vlogging, sharing, snapping, and tweeting about our history, staff, and community. Later this year we’ll also be releasing a special 21st Anniversary zine compiling original content about the people that got us here and why we do what we do.

For more info, check out our blogifesto, catch up on our history with our latest comic-poster catalog, join us on patreon, or subscribe to our newsletter.