Being "in the know" through reading arts and crafts magazines
As a writing and literature instructor, I have many times told my students that the best way to be a strong writer and reader is to read. While many balked at the idea, they became a little more engaged when I advised that reading graphic novels and the newspaper did count. In my practice of art, I believe that the same holds true. In order to stay on top of new trends, products, or practices, I voraciously read many of the craft and art industry’s publications. It is simply the best way to keep a pulse on the changes that most affect us as artists. It is also a great way to keep up with what far-reaching friends are up to.
I am currently poring over four beautiful and informative publications. The first is Somerset Home, a magazine devoted to all things homey. I loved Isabel Wagner’s Vintage Flower Seed Pillows, the Glasshouse Collection by Kelsey Glass, and the Antique Bobbin Photo Holders that Johanna Love created. All of these are gentle, evocative, and timeless. Another favorite was Kristin Gambaccini’s Blessing Board, which you can see on the front cover. This piece is so versatile and so in the now with its Modern Farmhouse look.
I also picked up the newest edition of Art Doll Quarterly. I have always aspired to create dolls. While I have yet to move too quickly on that desire, I enjoy thumbing through the magazine to see what is going on in doll world and witnessing the many ways that dolls can be made. The current issue is chock full of Halloween dolls. One, in particular, really struck me for its use of color and its connection to fairytales. Rebekah Naomi Cox’s The Red Shoes will delight you in a very eerie way! I also thought that April Ginley’s Scary Annette Dolls rocked! I really loved her mermaids.
Part of choosing which publication to buy comes from recognizing artists whose work I know and love. If I see them, I buy. No questions asked or any hesitation. Ask my husband and our bank. This is the case with the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. I flipped the magazine open and who do I see? Seth Apter! Seth took some time out to celebrate his art process through a self-designed artist residency. The result is fantastic! If you missed the photos of his creations on Facebook—and even if you didn’t—you have to pick this issue up and read all about his experience. I know that it will cause you to start designing your own residency. Chris Cozen is also in this issue exploring abstract painting.
Finally, I picked up my favorite title: Somerset Studio (July/August 2018). I just love, love, love this magazine. There is tea bag art, journaling, alcohol ink, tiny treasures and more! Do I sound like I am advertising for these publications? Yes, I am! When I picked this issue up, I was already prepared to buy but, if I had any hesitation, it went straight out the bookstore window when I saw Mary Beth Shaw’s article. She walks you through using alcohol inks with stencils. Yes, it’s a thing you can do!
I know it’s not winter yet, but I think I’ll settle in to my favorite reading couch, light the electric fireplace, and re-absorb all the juicy deliciousness that these publications offer. Which one are you planning on scouring through?