Get to Know Seleena Laverne Daye

A Black woman with mid length hair stands in front a painted pink brick wall. She is wearing a turquoise tee with black dungarees and pink cardigan accessorised with bright yellow beaded necklace. She has on glasses and is smiling with an open smile at the camera

Our new zine, JOYFUL NOISE, is being designed and curated by experienced zine artist, Seleena Laverne Daye. This July some of you may have met her through our zine making workshops. But many of you won’t have. So we thought we’d do a proper introduction, so you can find out more about her practice and what brings her joy!

Seleena Laverne Daye is a self-taught textile artist, workshop facilitator, retail worker and zine maker who creates bright and playful works using traditional sewing techniques. Her work is centred around race, class, gender and sexuality.

A diagram of how to make a mini zine is drawn in a cartoon style. It shows the 8 steps to make this from one piece of A4 paper.
How to make a 1 page zine – Seleena Laverne Daye

She makes zines about the things she loves and her identity, such as Without You I’m Nothing, Happy Alone and the Brown Girl zine series. She also co-hosts Poor Lass, a podcast sharing working class stories and aims to make art, crafts and creativity as accessible as possible.

How long have you been making zines? What is it that you like about them?
I’ve been making zines around 21 years now.  I really love the DIY aspect of them and they’re fun to make. There’s something about cutting things out and sticking them down that sparks joy! also really like that a zine can be about anything and everything, and each one is completely different. And that you get to hear from marginalised groups in zines, sharing their story in their own words.

A white cover of an A5 zine. Printed in black ink are two fists that have the words 'Brown Girls' written across each finger. The title Brown girls is is bold lettering above and below the fist illustration in slanted typeface.

Can you tell us about previous zines you’ve worked on or created? 
Most of my zines are about race, class and identity, oh and fandom; I love making zines about the things I love. I’ve made a couple of long running zines with friends, One was called Sugar Paper which was a crafty how to zine and another called Poor Lass which was all about working class stories. I’ve also made zines for and with organisations and groups with subject matters ranging from safety for sex workers to community activists.  

A felt portrait of Angela Davis. She is wearing a red polo neck and has a net afro hairstyle.

You make things with felt too, how did you get into craft?
I’ve been crafting since I was very small. Part of it is growing up with not much money, so having a DIY approach to most things in life has been passed on from my mum, and I just really enjoying making things. My mum taught me to sew when I was little and her dad, my grandad also made a lot of things. I did GCSE textiles at school but beyond that have had no formal training, more just a hobby that developed over time.

What’s it like being based in Manchester? Do you feel connected to other artists or creatives? 

I really love living in a city, I think it’s influenced me a lot in what I make. My mum grew up in a village in South Yorkshire, so a lot of my family visits were there, but I think I was made for city life. I realise how lucky I am to have access to free art spaces and meet other creatives, which happens everywhere, but more so in a big city. And I’ve met a few artists in Manchester whose work inspires me and who I’ve collaborated with.

What other zines do you love?
One of my all time favourite zines is Shotgun Seamstress by Osa Atoe, which is a zine about Black Punks, with reviews, interviews and more. I also love zines by Holly Casio. I am biased as she is one of my best friends and the person who was instrumental in me getting into zines as much as I did, She makes zines and comics about fandom and sexuality and life.

What do you hope to achieve with Joyful Noise?
To spread some Joy!!! The past 18 months have not exactly been filled with joy and I think we all need to allow ourselves space and time to experience joy. And as with most things I create, I hope to encourage people who aren’t always able to take up space, to TAKE UP SPACE!

A cover from a zine by Seleena Laverne Daye. It is yellow and has the words 'Happy Alone' painted in blue writing with a heart and two 'x' in the middle

What do you do to cultivate joy?
Dance! I love dancing, it always makes me feel good. Create something, chat rubbish with friends and eat crisps. They’re the main ways I cultivate joy.

Finally, have you got any advice for someone wanting to make a zine?
Just do it! I know that’s easy to say, but don’t overthink it. Don’t feel like you aren’t ‘artistic’ enough or whatever. If you have something to say or share just note it down, put it in a zine. You don’t have to show anyone when it’s done. There’s no right or wrong way to make a zine.

Thanks to Seleena for being interviewed. We hope you feel inspired to have a go, either to make your own zine, or submit something for JOYFUL NOISE.

Find out more about submitting creative work on the theme to our new zine by clicking here. Deadline for submissions is 24 September!

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