I wrote an article on Kinfolk Magazine for Desktop Magazine, but I wanted to include a more personal, reflective take on the magazine here. Plus this gorgeous magazine deserves all the attention it can get. It is, of course, aesthetically brilliant. There is a warm, personal and subjective quality to the style of the magazine. I have to admit to finding many entertaining magazines formulaic and bland. Some do lack heart - flicking through their pages, I feel like I'm gazing at an untouchable and unrealistic world that has little to do with me or how my friends and I entertain. In contrast, Kinfolk Magazine is all heart, and its philosophy resonates with me. Based on a love and appreciation of smaller gatherings, the magazine explores what lies beneath the surface of the entertaining process. When I read Kinfolk's manifesto, I immediately thought of this quote by Gaston Bachelard:
in our houses we have nooks and corners in which we like to curl up comfortably. To curl up belongs to the phenomenology of the verb to inhabit, and only those who have learned how to do so can inhabit with intensity. (Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (1958), translated from French by Maria Jolas, Boston: Beacon Press, 1994, p. xxxviii)I can't help thinking that Bachelard's description here fits with the tone of Kinfolk Magazine. Those smaller gatherings with close friends and family are really a form of 'curling up'; they shield and embrace us through intimate relationships and the bonds that are formed when we share our food, our time, our conversation and ourselves. This is why I always feel like there's a warm glow enveloping a table around which the people I most love are gathered. And those solitary 'gatherings' with ourselves are also a form of snuggling within an interior and subjective 'nook'. To me, Kinfolk Magazine is a dual philosophic and aesthetic expression of inhabiting our lives, ourselves, our relationships and our entertaining spaces, with intensity.
I think Kinfolk Magazine is quite unique, so I was interested in talking to the people behind it. The magazine's editor, Nathan Williams, has kindly agreed to answer a few questions here. Thanks Nathan, I really appreciate it. Have a peek at all the other talented people involved in the creation of the magazine. I hope you enjoy this mini-interview as much as I did:
: : Hila Shachar: Where did the idea for Kinfolk Magazine come from?
Nathan Williams: The concept for the magazine came from what seemed like a gap in the entertaining resources available, especially for a younger crowd. If you're planning a wedding, thanksgiving dinner, or an elaborate dinner with all the bells and whistles then no worries - you're set! If you're looking for some casual, creative ideas for this weekend with a couple of friends then where do you go? We're hoping Kinfolk becomes that place.
: : Could you tell us a few words about the people involved in the creation and production of Kinfolk Magazine?
The idea for the project was conceived with a group of friends enjoying dinner around a table (surprise!) while I was living out in Hawaii last year. We started reaching out to other artists and every single person was immediately on board. Kinfolk is very much a community project, relying on over 40 contributing artists. We do, however, have two designers working on layout (Amanda, Jane), three writers working on our online journal, a web developer for the site, and support for the sales and packaging of print copies.
: : How would you describe the magazine to someone who has never read it?
This is an entertaining magazine with a focus on keeping things small-scale, simple, and uncontrived.
: : There are many lifestyle and entertaining magazines, and yet Kinfolk seems different. What do you think is unique about the magazine’s perspective and approach to entertaining?
There are already magazines for recipes, drinks, and decorating. Kinfolk has an underlying focus on people and what goes on between them at these small gatherings. We keep this in mind when selecting features to include, though it may not be obvious. Table setting ideas suggest smaller flowers and centerpieces, to not detract from the friends on the other side of the table. We included an article on conversation, and getting together with friends more often during the week. This subtle connection to strengthening relationships, not just recipes or decorating skills, makes Kinfolk unique.
: : A lot of people would be interested in the process of creating and launching a new independent magazine. Could you briefly describe the process involved?
1) develop the concept
2) create a production timeline
3) build a team behind it
4) determine design elements
5) establish publishing/reading platform (along with any copyrights needed)
6) create a marketing plan (our outreach has been completely organic, from those involved in the project)
: : Lastly, what’s your personal favourite small gathering moment?
The time right after a meal with friends is finished. Napkins dabbing, table settings undone, conversation lingering, and the anticipation for dessert.
: : That sounds just about perfect, thanks Nathan.
The print version of Issue One of Kinfolk Magazine has, unsurprisingly, sold out. However the magazine is available to read online. I definitely can't wait for the next issue.
All images © Kinfolk Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Special thanks to Nathan for letting me feature the magazine images here and on Desktop Magazine.