Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Periodical Preoccupations

So this is yet one more blog on materials that I used prior to setting up the business. This one centers on magazines that I perused.

Most sewers of all kinds know about Threads. Published by Taunton, Threads has been a standard, trustworthy, regularly published periodical for several years. Currently, not only is it an industry staple, but it’s one of the few out there that isn’t actually about promoting a pattern company. It doesn’t focus completely on quilting, either, which is fantastically refreshing! The quilting world dominates the home-sewing market right now, in my opinion—at least those that are into home crafting. I pick up Threads when I can, and usually find something of interest to some degree or another. Lately, I’ve been looking at it with a different eye, and seeking out more of the “art garment” ads and stories. There have actually been quite a few. So if you’re into home sewing to any degree, I would suggest Threads so you can add it to your library of resources. It often has stories that help the beginner (their how-to stories on proper fitting clothes are particularly useful).

But I felt I was looking for inspiration that was directed closer to my field. Threads is good, but it’s very very general in it’s approach.

Enter Craftstylish, also published by Taunton.

I quickly found a slew of periodicals published by a single publishing conglomerate: Somerset.

Digital Studio, Altered Couture, Belle Armoire, and Somerset Studio all offered fantastic pictures and articles that inspired me. I am especially interested in Belle Armoire because it doesn’t focus exclusively on recycled and refurbished garments and it almost always have several full garments as well as articles on accessories. It’s bimonthly, which is sad, but then again almost all of the Somerset publications are not monthly Some of them are even quarterly. But they’re juicy. They’re just as expensive as a book, frankly, but the photographs are stupendous.

Craft is a magazine that’s published 4 times each year. It’s quirky, non-traditionally sized, and it’s definitely got a style of it’s own. The layout is to die for, and the stories really expand the definition of craft by addressing fascinating topics like making your own bitters, music made from knitting (I know, I know… What?!? It’s in Volume 10 and maybe I’ll find time to talk about it later…), knit bow ties, and Adobe Illustrator tutorials… It’s very eclectic, but a good read.

American Craft is almost an art magazine… In fact, the line between art and craft is very blurry anyway, so no use criticizing this magazine’s take on things. The issue I picked up was on the arts and crafts market and scene–something I wanted to make sure I read about.

Fiberarts is another staple of the crafting community. The issue I looked at had garment-oriented articles that elevated attire to “arttire”. Museum-esque displays of the garments and artists, this periodical again blurs the lines between art and craft. This one made me feel good–like there was indeed a world of people out there that thought along similar lines as I did, and that there was room for me.

Ornament is, from what I can see, primarily jewelry oriented, but I can’t help but find jewelry fascinating. It seems the trend is squarely in the world of “multi-ethnicity”, and using international inspirations that can be clearly recognized in the different jewelry pieces. I thought I had this magazine figured out, but the more I looked at it the more I realized that half the stories in the magazine were about clothing–there was even one on Yves Saint Laurent! Well worth picking up.

Surface Design was a magazine that elevated the quilter/fiber artist/fabric manipulator to the level of artist. Museum shows, art displays—less about how-to and more about showing off what’s possible. Fun!

Then I started getting into international publications, and these were very enlightening.

Crafts, an English publication, published a story about the difference between art and craft, and that really got my attention. I’m saving that discussion for another blog post. Good good mag. Non-traditional size. Nice photos. Broad topics. More about the state of the industry than a how-to book.

Selvedge, another English publication, was a work of art in itself. Stylish, heavy, top-notch photos and very slick layout. Again, another inspiring mag that made me feel not so alone.

Okay, this is enough for now. If I keep posting these “forever long” blogs, I’m gonna lose you all before we even begin! Hang in there!

I am actually working on stuff. Below is a pic of my first sample wrap. I’ve had to paint it before I can sew it together because I have no room to paint it after it’s assembled… So I’m movin’ forward! More soon! Until then, live life with relish!


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