the chapess

The Chapess is a quarterly zine showcasing the work of women writers and artists from around the world. Since 2011 the zine has operated on an open submission policy with contributions coming from women of all ages and experience.

from the Chapess #6 exhibition launch @ Doomed Gallery, December 2014

The zine was started by Zara Gardner in the summer of 2011. At the time we were both working in the art department of a rural college and would often introduce zines to our students to help engage them in design, research methods and self publishing. The first issue of the Chapess included contributions from female students and staff. When I took over as sole editor in 2013 I wanted to use the Chapess as a platform to champion some of the ace women writers i had been introduced through running my zine distro Synchronise Witches, as well as the work of photographers + artists I loved. I wanted to produce something which spoke to young women (especially) in a format that was accessible and trusted. I have been making zines for over 10 years and have never for a second doubted the power of DIY publishing; total creative freedom with plenty of room to fuck it up + start again.

Since the book came out in July 2016 I’m kind of re-thinking how + when I put the zine out. There will be future issues but i’m not sure exactly what form they will take or when that will be. In the meantime you can still send me your work if you want to.

A few guidelines for submissions:

  • the zine is printed in black and white, please bear this in mind when submitting photography/artwork
  • please send your piece(s) to with a couple of lines bio and any web links (as you would like to appear in the zine listing if your work is chosen) This doesn’t have to be anything formal, just whatever you’d like next to your name.
  • We are not currently taking submissions from dudes. Come on guys, there are about a billion other places you could get your work published. Please save your own time + mine.

Each issue of the Chapess showcases the work of women of all ages from around the world, employing an open submission policy, underlining the need for opportunities for women artists to show their work, particularly those who have not taken a route of education or training which had otherwise encouraged them to do so.

In July 2016 we published Gut Flora, a selected collection of work from the first 9 issues.

Buy a copy here + all the original zines here

If you’d like to distribute the book, would like a copy for your library/school/community centre, you’d like a review copy, or anything else drop me a line. As well as the printed zine we put on shows and run workshops + educational sessions with adults and young people. If you’d like to get us involved with your project drop us an email at the address above.