Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beautiful Magazines

Handwoven was the first weaving/textile/craft magazine I discovered and subscribed to in around 1995. I used to look at every issue from cover to cover; I loved that the entire magazine was so carefully and beautifully produced, (as were all Interweave books,) and I especially liked Linda Ligon's last page essays. About the time Madelyn van der Hoogt became the editor, I became bored and stopped subscribing. The appearance of the pages became messier and the magazine started to try to offer something for everyone. (I still pick up back issues to find out about the latest weaving books, but that's about it.)

And it was, and it wasn't Madelyn's fault, but apparently there weren't big enough market for two weaving magazines. I mentioned I discovered Weavers magazine just before they closed that department. Nowadays, I can't make sense out of the supposed-XRX website; it takes half a dozen clicks to get to their weaving books page.

I subscribed to VAV with English translation for one year, and without for another, but this became old quickly; I then subscribed for the first year or two of Weaver's Craft, and adored the little magazine for the personal and loving feel, (much like early Handwoven,) but by then I was looking for articles on complex weaves.

For a long time, Threads filled my magazine void, and I loved the back cover's detailed description and photos of old costumes/garments, but since I don't sew much, and I was starting to be annoyed with the proliferation of machine-embroidery, I quit that. I subscribed to Fiberarts a few times, and this is a stunning magazine, but again I'm thinking of quitting.

Nothing appears to be as fresh, rewarding, or enjoyable as when I first discovered Handwoven. I'm partial to Ornament; that nobody in New Zealand sells it so I must subscribe if I want to see it is tricky. I can stick to Fiberarts, because I have nothing specific against it. I've had dalliances with the Australian Craft Arts International, but this I can buy only the issues I want in Nelson. (If you've never seen this last publication, I can recommend it; I've only ever seen spectacular issues, or even better issues. Those Aussies do a cracker job in making craft, and then making a magazine out of craft.)

The next issue of Fiberarts is the last I'm getting if I don't extend my sub. Maybe it's a good thing I'm broke and can't do that just now. Maybe it's time for a change.

Which magazines do you relish?

5 comments:

  1. National Geographic, Selvedge, Nest (no longer in print), La Moda Fashion mags (best images of The Shows).

    I have a very visual memory so I mainly look at images on the internet and keep my most favorite linked on my blog.

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  2. I am partial to Ornament myself, but I haven't been getting any magazines lately. The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers published by the Online Weavers Guild is a lovely publication.Of course I am currently most partial to Syne Mitchell's new publication: WeaveZine, the first and only on-line weaving magazine. This magazine is geared for the newer weaver, but there is the opportunity to write for this publication. If you haven't seen it, do check it out.

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  3. Where is the challenge in the mags?
    Its one thing to publish to encourage the new participant but those who have supported the mags over the years need inspiration and challenge.
    Thank goodness for those who share on their blogs.
    Have you noticed how mags like Fiberarts and Textile Fibre Forum have moved away from what I would call the "original" fibre arts and now we see lots of paper and basketry and other fringe things!

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  4. I am a new weaver so the mags are good for me, but knitters complain of the same thing- many of the knitting mags seems to assume that their readers are all graduating (just) from their first garter stitch scarf. Maybe the online e-zine is the answer, catering to both newbies and those looking for a complex challenge?

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  5. National Georgraphic - sub'ed for 10+ years but quit this year. They kept missing issues, which could have been NZ Post's fault, but I did get tired of ringing them. There have been some nice pics, though; an article on moss around May 2002 comes to mind.

    Selvedge - I was lukewarm about that one.

    La Moda Fashion - never seen it - will go looking, but in Nelson, it's a hit-or-miss.

    Lynne, I do bookmark nice web sites from time to time, but I prefer the tactile pleasure of a real mag; such a Luddite.

    Bonnie, The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Online - never heard of the online version, just found the URL, seems LOVELY.... but I'll probably end up printing out the stuff I like.

    WeaveZine - bookmarked the URL; probably not for me but will follow for a while. You never know what you can pick up.

    Dianne, exactly. I started to feel a bit uneasy when, from memory, I started to see felting in Handwoven. Just about every magazine is turning into a lifestyle mag.

    Taueret, I think you're right; like newspapers, all but the most general magazines may disappear. Which is not a bad thing for the trees, though not good for fossil fuel. And I can't carry my laptop to the couch, or bed, and I don't have the thrill of turning a page, or stretching the middle fold to declare "this is my magazine, and I'm going to read it."

    I wonder if the solution here is for me to a) get the "real mag" fix from whatever is beautiful and appeals to me in the bookshop on the day, and b) to learn things more and more online. And if weaving books become downloadable files, I think I'll switch off and head for the mountains.

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