Inspiration in Magazine Form

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I love making lists of my favorites things. Perhaps it comes from a childhood filled with The Sound of Music or watching Oprah’s show through my high school years. But when the winter weather is gloomy and my attitude matches, I simply think of my favorite things and, to quote Julie Andrews, “Then I don’t feel so bad.”

At the top of my favorite things list this season is Uppercase Magazine’s Issue 24.

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I am truly obsessed with Uppercase. When a new issue comes into Two Hands Paperie, my heart flutters at the arrival of a familiar friend. That reaction is probably because this magazine is beauty in paper form. Each full-color page is filled with lovely images and text. Uppercase is the brainchild of Janine Vangool, who was a freelance graphic designer for years before she took a leap and started her own business. She has filled the roles of publisher, editor, and designer for the magazine since it started in Canada in 2009. Her design background is showcased in full glory within the pages of the magazine. Each issue centers on a theme like calligraphy and lettering or patterns. The current issue, Issue 24, celebrates textiles. Within the theme, the magazine features how-tos, histories, interviews and lots of pictures. Readers are encouraged to contribute to the magazine through art calls and other forums.

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There are always new, inventive things showcased within the pages of Uppercase. Issue 24 is no exception with an exploration in the tactile world of weaving, fabrics, and tattoos. The art of quilt making is showcased through talents like Denyse Schmidt and Carolyn Friedlander. Gone are the days that I can simply snuggle into a hand-me-down quilt and think nothing else now that my eyes have been opened to the modern quilt movement. But the inspiration doesn’t stop there, I was interested in an article about textile scholar Andrea Aranow (I didn’t even know that was a job! What a treat that would be to put on a business card), who has just recently launched a website cataloging her 40,000 fabric collection. Though pictures of the fabric from around the world made me want to rush out to create, reading about Aranow and the pursuit of her interests was even more inspiring.

Perhaps I am reading the wrong things, but I have never see as many photographs of loom in one place. There were images of hand looms and large free standing looms in use allowing the beauty of that historic art to be showcased in photo and word.

However, my favorite part of the issue was all about feed sacks. The issue features an educational article that explores the rich history of feed sacks in American clothing. I couldn’t help but sigh for a different time in which mothers created clothing for their children out of feed sacks, which was (and is) both economically and environmentally friendly (this was then followed by a laugh picturing my own mom behind a sewing machine. But that is just me).  There is a lovely two page spread featuring photographs of a variety of feed sacks that awe and excite.

Also, Allison Bozeman, of Colorado’s own Bird Dog Press makes an appearance explaining how feed sacks are often her inspiration for her letterpress work.

The final elegant feed sack touch comes in the form of a real piece of feed sack attached to the cover of each issue.

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As a person whose first love is paper, I was motivated and intrigued by an issue focusing on the other tactile siblings to paper. Even if fibers don’t excite you, there are also articles about structuring a creatively productive day, artists who wear their art on their bodies through tattoos, and photographs of a variety of readers’ work. I guarantee, this issue won’t bore you!

This magazine is the kind of visual world you want to become a country so you can buy property and be a citizen. But since that will never be, it is at least the kind of magazine you want to buy, read all the way through in one lengthy sitting, leave on your coffee table and look at it over and over. Pick up your own copy of Uppercase at the store or on our website and you can see why this is on the list. You are sure to be inspired by all that fills the pages of this lovely magazine.