Zine Review: Beanstalk Volume 1 – the hat edition

Beanstalk Volume 1 – the hat edition
Jess Hast, Annemiek Dekker, and Cassidy Shipp

Beanstalk Volume 1 is an A5 black and white zine with a variety of art and written pieces around the theme of hats.

Three friends getting together to make a collab zine? I started liking this zine before I even opened it.

Beanstalk 1 opens with a letter from Jess Hast, one third of the creative trio behind this zine. In the letter, Jess welcomes the reader to this, the inaugural issue, plans for the rest of the series, and even a fun story behind the Beanstalk title. (I won’t tell. Hehe.) Page one gives you an overview of the 22 pages (and who created what) as well as brief bios of each of the trio.

What follows is a variety of paintings, drawings, sketches, favourite hats list accompanied by notes, and more. There’s even a fun origami project so you can make your own paper hat. As noted in the TOC, some pieces are acrylic while others are ink, digital, fabric, and so on. I like that there’s nearly as much variety in medium as there is in the number of pieces.

One painting – Crazy Hat Lady by Annemiek – reminded me of a character from one of Clive Barker’s Abarat books (the first, I believe). A short man who wore a bunch of hats for sinister reasons. I immediately wondered if Crazy Hat Lady had an intriguing story. I do have to give a hat tip (wink) to the Mad Hatter reference in a later piece as well.

One little thing – and I’m being really nitpicky here – is the lack of page numbers or piece titles in the TOC. Or both. I had to count the pages every time I wanted to know who made what or what was used to make a piece. A small thing but a thing that would have made the zine experience flow a bit smoother for me.

I wouldn’t have thought that hats would be all that inspiring as a theme as I don’t often find myself cold enough to have the opportunity to wear one. I’m quite happy to say I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of pieces in this zine, how many made me smile, and how hats could be as special to people as teddy bears or favourite sweaters.

I’ll behave and not make any more hat-based puns. I will say that if you like hats and/or if you like zines that have variety, then this is one to check out (and it’s a series!).

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