This week we met with Steve Carlton and Liz Murray Jones; creators of Young Explorer, who have just taken over the running of the Salford Zine Library at Nexus Art Café. Young Explorer began as a zine, and the title now also encompasses Steve and Liz’s various other creative endeavours, such as embroidered brooches and cushions, organising gigs and a blog that always features different material to the zine. The first issue of Young Explorer came out in May 2012 and was created especially for the Victoria Baths Zine Convention, inspired by friends who had made their own, the pair agreed to a stall at the fair before they had even begun, which is indicative of their general attitude towards creativity – to just do whatever they fancy, whenever they fancy.
Steve and Liz are also partners, and started the zine as something fun to do together as a hobby outside of their jobs. Liz studied textiles at University and enjoys drawing, so she takes care of all the illustration and embroidery, whereas Steve loves music and writing, and so he’s responsible for interviews. Everything that goes into Young Explorer is done from Steve and Liz’s living room, with interviews conducted via email and all the folding and sewing done at home. As well as attending as many fairs and conventions as they can, there is a Young Explorer etsy shop where you can purchase embroidered badges, temporary tattoos and back-issues, the vast majority of which is £5 or less. Liz explained how the prices aren’t necessarily reflective of costs or time, but rather are based on what she would consider paying for something similar – which admittedly isn’t an option for everyone, but it does make their wares particularly affordable and tempting.
Each issue of Young Explorer is themed, and the aim is to explore the theme in all its possible permutations. The very first issue’s theme was ‘Home & Away’ (not the Australian soap, sorry), with ‘Collecting’ next and the last issue was themed ‘Food’, with a lovely illustration of cheeses on the front cover. The theme of the next issue, yet to be released, is ‘the Past’, in terms of both history and nostalgia, with writing from the boy least likely to and an interview with Julian Koster of The Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel. Young Explorer are no longer taking submissions for the ‘Past’ issue, but they are for the issue after that on the theme ‘Craft’ – to be understood in the broadest terms, encompassing things like witchcraft as well as the sorts of crafts you’d find here at Fred’s. The Salford Zine Library is also open for submissions, with no criteria except that it must be self-published.
Written by Lauren Velvick / Photos by Elle Brotherhood