Kinfolk Magazine Interview

Monday, 25 July 2011



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.


Nancy Baric *negfilm said...

congrats on the article!!

synaesthetisch said...

Truly mouthwatering! There is nothing better than wellwritten texts combined with such adorable photos.

E. said...

Great to read this little interview! I adore Kinfolk mag (featured it on my own blog as well) and the concept behind it. I really feel its an expression of a growing movement around the world, of people choosing a sense of community over individualism, of warmth over coldness. It makes me hopeful.

I really like your blog btw, discovered it only recently through Lola is Beauty. A ballet-loving, cat-loving academic with a background in English and Cultural studies ... you could be my Australian twin! :-)

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blogpost on Norway. It is always great to hear from a new reader even if it is in such awful circumstances. It is indeed horrific to think about what those kids must have gone through.

Love, E.

gracia said...


"To curl up belongs to the phenomenology of the verb to inhabit..."

How adorable. How true. Am going to "curl up" now. Tomorrow, more films call. Rest up now, while I can. Cosy dwelling. Winter. Bliss.

Thanks for the interview, Hila. And for this "more personal" and extended take.

Mandy said...

It's so beautiful! Congratulations on your publication :)

Rebeccak said...

What a stunning magazine. Thanks for drawing my attention to this! I can't wait to check it out :)

Alyce said...

I am in love with this magazine. It's truly magical.

andrea despot said...

i have yet to read this magazine because i wish so much that i could buy the print version and curl up in a quiet corner. it seems the kind of magazine that should be read when being held in your hand.

i already know from a quick flip-through that i will absolutely love it, and after hearing so much about it around the blogosphere lately, i'm that much more excited to finally read it! i think the idea of small gatherings is surprisingly obvious and i'm so glad someone actually thought of creating a magazine for it!

for the first time, i can actually see myself taking inspiration from it and using it in my own life - it's very realistic for a girl like me who's on a small budget and still wishes to entertain!

bronwyn said...

Bookmarking the online version to read later. This is just the sort of entertaining that I do - small, city apartment, close friends, nothing fancy. I like the thoughtful perspective of this magazine. Thanks for sharing.

Olga said...

I love this kind of magazine. They are real and they make you happy to read them.

tywo said...

The images are so pure, and beautiful!
I love magazines that adore beauty in simple things.


mary shouvlin said...

there are no words for how beautiful and necessary I think this whole concept and magazine are.


P R I M O E Z A said...

nice one hila! i was very impressed with the online version of the magazine.

Sasha said...

What a fantastic magazine. I'm quite intrigued. I think I'll be bookmarking their page.

Julie said...

what a lovely write up-"inhabit with intensity" sounds like a fantastic way to live.

ann.meer said...

i'm all overwhelmed by this fulfilled perfection of kinfolk! thank you for being, you are my incarnate of beauty!

naomemandeflores said...

Kinfolk have what other magazines don't: the human factor. The focus on keeping things simple is a great idea. “The simplest things are often the truest.”

Camila Faria

hila said...

nancy: thanks!

synaesthetisch: I agree

e.: it's always lovely to meet a fellow ballet-loving, cat-loving academic :)

gracia: curling up is precisely what I'm doing today - we're having a blast of a winter in perth!

mandy: thank you :)

rebeccak: my pleasure, glad you like it.

alyce, tywo, ann.meer: thanks!

andrea: I totally agree, it's such a wonderful little magazine - most entertaining magazines make me feel bad for not being able to afford or live up to their stylised ideal. This one is more 'real'.

primoeza/elizabeth: thanks elizabeth! I was really impressed too.

sasha: so glad you like it.

mary shouvlin: yep, I agree.

bronwyn: yes, I do things small too - lack of space, and lack of money.

olga: I know, they do make you happy.

julie: yes, I love that quote.

camila: I was just thinking that the other day - it's surprising how many magazines lack the 'human' factor.