Booklyn Artists Alliance

Karen Switzer, Artnoose and Kerbloom!, Pittsburg, PA

Kerbloom! III, 2007


Ker-bloom!, Collection #3, with issues July/August 2003 #43 through Nov/Dec 2006, #63, edition of 50, letterpress.

Ker-bloom! is over eight years old and one of the only letterpress-printed zines around. Each issue contains a personal essay that relates an event or situation—from epic to banal and everything in between. So, there's usually some topic that's pretty evident by reading the story, and an underlying socio-political theme to think about. Topics over the past eight years include: bicycles, love lost, substitute teaching, zine conferences, anarchism, and domestic violence.


Ker-bloom! has been featured in The Utne Reader, clamor, Morbid Curiosity, The Zine Yearbook, and the Invisible Ink radio show on KALW FM. It's available at Bound Together Bookstore (SF), City Lights (SF), Powell's Books (Portland), Needles & Pens (SF), Reading Frenzy (Portland), The Long Haul Infoshop (Berkeley), Left Bank Books (Seattle), and through Parcell Press Distribution.


Booklyn Artists' Alliance has landed Ker-bloom! in public and private academic collections across the country—including UCLA and the MOMA. As if that wasn't enough, Booklyn has also bound two volumes as brick-like hardcover collections. We are also pleased that it is in the University of Michigan's Labadie Collection, one of the largest collections of radical literature and ephemera in the world.


All this autobiographical text is set letter by letter in lead type and printed on a Vandercook flat-bed printing press. Each issue is printed in a numbered edition of 250. Ker-bloom! is rather small—quarter-sheet size to be exact—with eight pages of text. But don't be fooled, what Ker-bloom! lacks in size it makes up for in passion.

Ker-bloom! comes out regularly every two months. You can order the most recent issue in the Crafty Cards website. Due to Ker-bloom!'s collectibility and popularity, many back issues are no longer available.

You can periodically find Ker-bloom! represented at various literary and craft fairs.

In 1993, Karen Switzer moved from San Diego County up to Oakland—the homicide capital of California, to attend college at CCAC. While at CCAC, Karen made weird little pictures out of type. These culminated perhaps in her series of Saint cards, reminiscent of Catholic prayer cards. Each has their own strange autobiographical twist. Upon graduation from CCAC and into the barn/printshop of book arts legend Betsy Davids, Karen printed and bound The Martyrdom of Ss. Crispin & Crispinian, a three part visual story depicting the torture and execution of two early French martyred saints.

You can check out Kerbloom! on the Crafty Cards website.


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