Our founders, Emma Dakeyne and Katharine Perry talk us through the first zine published by the6ress ‘An Echo in the Heart Cave’, their inspiration and mission to ‘melt the minds of the mainstream’

How did you meet?

Emma: Katharine and I met on Instagram about 9 months ago (9 years in pandemic time) and through perpetual liking of each other’s poems, we decided to make zines together for her publishing venture ‘The Mum Poem Press’. So far, we have 3 zines out and an anthology on the way.

But, not only is she a zine-queen and poetry publishing powerhouse; Katharine is also a pro in cajolery and inspired me to set up the6ress over several late-night zoom calls, taking advantage of my sleepy acquiescence.

Katharine: Working on our first few zines together, I knew that Emma had to make her own zine – because I really wanted to read it. Emma had to have complete creative control because her artistic eye and imagination are so brilliant and I just knew I would love what she created.

White and Red Tent - Charlotte Brisland
White and Red Tent - Charlotte Brisland

How do you work together?

E: We each lead our own zines and support each other with our individual talents. Katharine knows the technical side of publishing, social media and editing so she bosses that, and I am a graphic designer by day, so I set the theme of the issue and design direction.

We both have kids and day jobs, so everything happens at night when the rest of the house is asleep. We’re like teens gossiping on the phone about ideas, art and poems we’re totally obsessed with.

K: Emma is the auteur behind the6ress. I’m just here to make her do it!

Boy on the Bottom - Liv Wood assisted by Julia Anastazja
Boy on the Bottom - Liv Wood assisted by Julia Anastazja

Where did the name the6ress come from and how is it pronounced?

E: the6ress is a publisher of experimental art and poetry, so we needed our name to reflect that. It’s pronounced ‘The Press’, as if the 6 were a P. Because, why not? Who can trust letters to behave? As visual poets we are always shifting their shape, playing with their meaning, reordering and redefining them in flux.

K: I still pronounce it differently every time.

Reflections - Charita Nichols
Reflections - Charita Nichols

What’s the idea behind the theme of this issue?

E: ‘An Echo in the Heart Cave’ is inspired by the countercultural bible ‘Be Here Now’, written by the guru and psychedelic explorer, Ram Dass about his life-changing encounters with psychedelic drugs in the 70’s. Much like the transcendent experience of psychedelics, the idea of obliterating the idea of ‘self’ by collecting and promoting the work of others felt perfect for our zine. And of course, the mystical experience itself is naturally rich with opportunity for creative expression – we love the duality of its delight and mystery existing alongside our normal everyday lives.

We’re proud to donate funds from each sale of the zine to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS.org), supporting their work developing medical, legal and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful use of psychedelics and marijuana.

Mood Swing 62 - Mark Watkins
Mood Swing 62 - Mark Watkins

What do you look for in the pieces that you feature?

E: Our mission is to adore, promote and publish the weird and wonderful work of artists and poets that melt the minds of the mainstream. We love creative expressions that astonish, astound and transform. Our reaction to the submissions we receive is always instinctive, rather than rational, so it’s bloody hard to be any more specific than that.

We’ll be opening submissions for our next theme in April, so keep those eyes peeled.

Our first issue: ‘An Echo in the Heart Cave’ is available to buy from our Etsy store now.

© 2021 the6ress