Creating Community: Amy Burek & Awkward Ladies Club By Natalie Windt

As in-person zinefests slowly (and safely) resume, I can’t wait to get back into the thick of zinethings. One of the most magical aspects of the zine community is the ways in which it connects people. 

In February of 2020 (shortly before the pandemic) I tabled at Dear Diary Zinefest in Berkeley, Calif. where I shared a spot with zinester Amy Burek (@awkwardladies). Burek is a printmaker and book artist whose zines dive into Reddit threads, Craigslist emails, and death project management, as well as perzines,  which cover illness, change and  personal transformation. Burek self-publishes her work under the imprint Awkward Ladies Club and is currently connected with the collaborative riso space located in the East Bay area of California, Chute Studio.  

“…That night I ordered myself a pizza. The pizza you eat the night you quit your job tastes pretty good.” ~Amy Burek, Quit Your Job and Eat Pizza: Issue 1

Burek and I traded zines that day; one of which was issue one of “Quit Your Job and Eat Pizza.” This perzine details Amy’s issues with migraines and what it was like working in a pharmaceutical research lab, of which she eventually decides to quit. Amy supports her story much like a scientist would, providing the reader with cited information on topics varying from zines, prescriptions, migraines, motherhood, printmaking, etc. Weaving her narrative with facts gives support to a personal struggle, creating this beautiful balance of logic and emotion, in such a small space as a ¼ zine. 

It was interesting to hear the story right from her prior to reading her work (a unique facet of being a traveling zinester). Later in the pandemic and through social media, Burek and I once again traded some zines via snail mail, including “Never Date Dudes From the Internet,” “Half of My Head,” and “I am Trying to Hold You.”

Beyond Amy Burek’s capacity to create and expand on interesting topics, I’ve always admired and aspired to her zine’s overall presentation, which can be appreciated throughout and especially in the beautifully printed “Half of My Head” –a fold out zine featuring images of her actual brain from CT scans. Burek sent me this after I shared a social media post of pics of my own brain after finding 10 year old brain scans in my parents closet during the pandemic. 

Burek, among others, has also taught me the value of trading work with other zinesters. Having been a zine-community newb at the time, I didn’t know this was something folks even did. Since tabling at Dear Diary it’s been a great way to connect and share work with others outside of my immediate social circle.

Be sure to check out and support Burek’s work! If you’re down to trade zines with me sometime, connect with me at my Instagram; OverMyDeadCopy.

Natalie Windt is a writer, zinester, artist, public relations professional, and former radio show co-host. She enjoys all things communications; written, verbal or visual.


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