". . . book shops and libraries . . . those literary counterparts to the opium den . . ." Phillip Adams

I've told you before:
I'm a magazine junkie, 
and I wasn't exaggerating. 

Not. One. Bit. 

I am, in fact, the type of junkie who knows on what day of the month magazines are released and hangs around the periodical aisle, inventing a need for ketchup or kleenex in order to justify a trip to the grocery store at just the right time.  (Now Russ is having an "aha!" moment as he reviews 29 years of my grocery patterns . . .)

Actually, that's "Vintage Susan." 
"Modern Susan" subscribes.

So when I moved to o-l-d magazines, it was just a natural extension of a preexisting addiction. And since I already had a collecting addiction, an all-things-vintage addiction, and a definite nostalgia for certain eras (the 1930's, for instance) it's amazing it took as long as it did for me to become completely hooked.

But I realized sometime last fall that my vintage mags were taking over my studio in a way that had become work prohibitive.  So I began wracking my brain for some way to corral them that would cater to their delicate natures (old paper is fragile!  and can be smelly, but we forgive those we love for smelling) yet leave them accessible for illustrating my blog and sourcing text for my pieces.

As part of my January clean up, I finally hit upon the perfect solution (after a series of near-misses) and am delighted with the result.

No more piles of magazines 
on the studio floor!

Plenty of new room for piles 
of other things!

And I also sorted my ENORMOUS floor piles of current magazines into files, ready to be transported to my new studio which will have ever-so-much more shelf space.

That being done, I felt the weight of 2 Barnes & Noble gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and decided to go hang out at the newsstand for a bit and peruse some of the publications I don't regularly purchase to see if there was anything NEW and anything at all that I desperately NEEDED.

But the surprising answer to both questions was: No.

Nothing new, and perhaps even more surprising, nothing I needed.

For years I devoured every decorating and craft and art magazine wondering why nothing I did ever looked as SOMETHING as the things the magazine people did -- wondering why my projects just didn't have that "je ne sais quoi" that landed them in the magazines in the first place.

This is the kind of magazine feature that can induce an existential dilemma

And I yearned to be able to make things that looked like their things.

Actually, even when I spent 8 years being the person who did make the magazine projects, I wondered why my own art didn't ever measure up to the things the featured ARTISTS made.  (Which is just an illustration of how warped the yardsticks with which we measure ourselves can be, but that's another post . . .)

Perusing the books and mags at B&N there were plenty of things I thought were cool, and I did catch myself a few times thinking "why don't any of my pieces look like that?" and there was even a brief second where I thought of trying something that would look like one of the pieces, but the inclination faded quickly.

Because it seemed that with each page I turned,

the sea of sameness grew.  

I suppose many people make things that look alike for the same reasons many people dress alike --

no need to detail those reasons here, but it makes sense that in magazines for fashion or for making, similar rules would apply.  So I shouldn't have been surprised.

The surprise was how glad I felt that my work DOESN'T really look like any of those things.  
Glad for the first time! 
Seriously. Took long enough. 

Granted, I don't get featured in all the magazines either. Oh well.

Just like marching to my own fashion drummer in junior high didn't make me popular, creating my own kind of work puts me out of the mainstream a bit, I suppose.

It's the same with this blog.
Initially, I wanted it to be like all the other lovely art blogs out there.

Ed. note:  The problem seems to be that most Small Works posts have a nasty habit of "plumping when I cook them."  

But it has recently begun to dawn on me that I'm just not a regular art blogger (for one thing, I can't use a camera -- but that's another post, as well . . .)

So I shan't hold my breath waiting for the folks at "Artful Blogging" to come knocking.


Luckily there were enough people in school who overlooked my weird clothes that I didn't have to spend every day in the lunchroom by myself.

And by the way . . . thanks for stopping by.

(What's in your lunchbox? Want half a sandwich?)



luanne said...

We must be channeling discontent. I went to B&N yesterday and despite scouring the mags and the craft books, couldn't find any fresh inspiration to bring home. It all just felt like more of the same, same, same.

The joy of your work and your blog is that they don't look like everything else out there. Yay! You're a unique island escape in the vast sea of sameness. Something to be glad about indeed.

Daryl said...

Susan, you are my favorite blogger, you and the Yarn Harlot. I'm so glad you aren't anything like all the other art bloggers. You talk about real issues, in a humorous way, and your work is thoughtful and meaningful, and it doesn't get any better than that. (And I loved that Dilbert comic when it came out).
My lunchbox in 4th grade: sardine sandwich with mustard and raw turnips. I win...

Allie said...

Haha- love the cartoon - so glad you aren't like everyone else, you wouldn't be Susan anymore! Your work is wonderful because it's unique and your personality shines through it.

Karen said...

Susan, your blog and your artwork are a real treat. Not a rose, but maybe a funky, brightly colored daisy, on top of the icing on the cake! And I am so glad to hear you, and your commenters voicing what I've been feeling about the magazines and craft books. I've been leaving the store empty-handed lately, too. Artful Blogging could use a dose of you!

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks, Friends!

Sardine sandwich with mustard and raw turnips??? Ewww . . . Please keep both halves of the sandwich, Daryl, but I'm delighted to sit by you anyway.

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one suffering magazine ennui. I guess it's time for the really great minds (ours, of course) to put our heads and hands together and come up with something new.

VO said...

I love craft magazines. I hate craft magazines.

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