Every so often, something happens in our craft community that gets me really excited. I'm often meeting really creative people who design stunning garments or dye great yarns, and recently I met a lady who shares a passion of mine for telling some of these stories. Cait McLennan Whyte is the creator and editor of the beautiful Fabricate Magazine, and the first issue is out now. From my first read, it fills a big hole in our local market for magazines about local textile art and craft. It's got modern design, great interviews and covers a range of different textile crafts, so there's something for everyone. Cait kindly told me a bit more about her vision for the magazine.
Fabricate Magazine has been an idea that's been germinating for a number of years - where did the idea come from and how did you go from initial concept to the printing of your first issue?
I have been incubating the idea of Fabricate Magazine for some years actually. I hit on the idea right about the time that Selvedge appeared on the scene so I figured it must have been a good one as I heard that Polly Leonard mortgaged her London house to get Selvedge off the ground such was her conviction! But I had been running alterknitives since the late nineties and had watched the textile scene developing without much real connectedness. My own interest in textiles is broader than just knitting and I kept finding out about great exhibitions or workshops or suchlike just after they were finished or full or whatever so I came to the conclusion that there were all sorts of people out there who needed to know about each other. After such a long gestation getting to print was an exciting process. Karen at Artside Studios totally got the vision that I was aiming at and as she has a textile interest herself and experience in NZ style publications it all came together pretty well.
Fabricate reminds me a bit of great international magazines like Selvedge, which provide some really insightful commentary around textiles. Are you hoping that Fabricate will perform a similar role locally? What sets Fabricate apart from the rest?
I have been really thrilled since the launch of the Magazine with feedback that has mentioned Fabricate and Selvedge in the same sentence and I couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction as I set out to create a magazine that was full of intelligent content , that looks stylish and that features a wide variety of material that informs and inspires. By exploring the whole gamut of the textile craft arts rather than just focussing on one discipline only hopefully Fabricate can speak to all those who are fascinated with textile in one way or another. I wanted to celebrate the handmade and the sustainable slow stitch traditions that we must not lose. But also I want to showcase what New Zealand artists and makers are doing in our own distinctive way. And particularly to explore the innovations and creative impulses that see cross crafting and the pushing of boundaries.
New Zealand has a great textiles scene with so many creatives working in this space - do you think Kiwis are good at telling their stories about their work, or are we suffering with a bit of Tall Poppy Syndrome in this space?
I am not sure about this. It has been fantastic getting around the country and meeting and talking to makers and artists who articulate what they do so clearly. I think art textiles and craft have had such poor press that we are not used to hearing the stories and the intention of these artists perhaps. Many of them are established and recognised in the niche that they occupy and the newer practitioners are embraced by the NZ audience which relishes innovative ideas and forms.
At the moment you're a print-only magazine. Has this been a conscious decision to encourage people to hold something in their hands?
Definitely I decided to produce a print version only since textile people are tactile people and the interface with a medium that is physical encourages a paced and considered engagement with the material I think. The byline -in touch with the material world – means exactly what it says . Maybe one day we will get a digital version up and running as well but for now I hope Fabricate makes a statement that stands in time.
Where can people get their hands on a copy?
Fabricate is available in selected stockists around the country and directly and by subscription from email@example.com