Tiny Boat zine shop springs to life in Islington

Zine man: Lu Quade at his new Tiny Boats shopfront on Maitland Road, Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Zine man: Lu Quade at his new Tiny Boats shopfront on Maitland Road, Islington. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

One of the newest creative pockets in Newcastle is Maitland Road in Islington. Here’s a short chat with Luke Wade (aka Lu Quade), an artist with a business called Tiny Boat who has just moved into a space on Maitland Road.

What inspired the idea for your zine space?

I had a Renew Newcastle studio space three storeys up above the mall for the last couple of years. It was a great place to make stuff but also often felt a bit isolated and removed from things. When I was offered one of the shopfronts at Softys I wanted to create a space that I could share with others, and to support the creative endeavours of others. There hasn't been a zine shop or space dedicated to zines and zine culture in Newcastle for quite a few years. There's a great place in Melbourne called Sticky Institute that has been running for about 15 years and I always visit it when I travel down there. I wanted to create something like that here. A place for people to make stuff, meet other people making stuff and also stock their creations, so there's a place people can find them.

Where did you get the idea for the name?

The name Tiny Boat came directly from a drawing by my friend Ned Sevil who died in 2010. He was a big influence on me starting to draw. I also like the symbolism of the name: lots of people all together in a tiny boat, or a tiny little boat on a great big sea. Feels kinda brave to me. The name is also good because it can sail off to another space if it ever needs to. The project is called Tiny Boat @ Softys because the building it is in is called Softys.

Tell me about the space and the people involved in creating it? 

Some fantastic people called Rachel (King) and Jamie (Oorschot) own, live and work in the rest of the building and have all sorts of interesting projects happening under the Softys banner. Tiny Boat lives in one of the two shopfronts at the front of the building. I'm going to be sitting at the big table in the shop working on my own projects and interacting with people who come to check out the zines. I'm also looking at running regular drawing nights and zine making nights. My friends Jo and Tim have brought a great energy to the beginning of the project and have been instrumental in setting up the space, bringing in their own big zine collection to get the Tiny Boat zine library off to a flying start.

What zines do you create? 

So far I've written and illustrated a lo-fi children's book called The Original Aeronauts, and another little one called This Owl. At the moment I'm writing and drawing for quite a few different projects: right now i'm making a zine with my left hand called Fun Things to do with a Broken Wrist! (my wrist is broken).  

Why do you value zines?

Zine culture is super diverse. They can be about anything and everything. My favourite zines feel like having a conversation with someone, I particularly love zines with prose and illustrations. My current favourite is a Newcastle publication called The Line that's full of short stories, poems and illustrations by locals.

If you'd like to put your zine on a shelf, make a zine, do a cute drawing, come into the shop Thursday, Friday or Saturday or contact us via facebook or instagram.

The grand opening of Tiny Boats, 20 Maitland Road, Islington, is Sunday from noon.