Debbie Turpen Creates Zines
Debbie Turpen with a folder of some of her ‘Hijinx’ Zines Photo supplied

Local artist Debbie Turpen has focussed on books, book-binding and art for most of her life, and has currently turned her attention to creating ‘Zines’, thus managing to merge all three.

According to Wikepedia,  “A zine (/zi-n/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine.”

Zines began life as a subversive, do-it-yourself medium in the early twentieth century, used by sci-fi enthusiasts, then punk, and on to marginalised voices to disseminate information.  It is now used to publish creative work about whatever you love.

Debbie’s art journey started in her home country of America, where she operated a business called ‘Bound Expressions’, selling book-binding materials performing a book-binding service and presenting Book-binding and Printing tutorials.

A qualified Environmental Engineer, Debbie also has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of Auckland, where she majored in Print Media.

She first came to New Zealand in 1979, and returned here in 2001 with her husband Greg.  They raised their two children here.

While studying for her arts degree, she fostered her love of books by working in bookshops.

From her studio in the Kawarau Gorge, she creates installations, paintings, fibre art, prints ….. “My studio is chokka!”, she says.

From 2008 till 2019, Debbie focussed on painting, but when she discovered Zines, she says, “I just decided to go back to my printing and book-binding roots.”

Debbie also writes poetry.  She calls her Zines Hijinx’. Her first one was inspired by a poem, When Summer meets Winter, and she intends to continue the poetry/art combination in her Zines.

Over recent years, she has enjoyed learning from Megan Huffadine and Michael Harlow, as well as working with friends Jenny Hill and Sue Lind. Debbie can be contacted on

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