Why we save back issues!

Sep 13, 2009

Leslie RogalskiMy allergist once asked me if I had many old magazines stashed in my home, because they collect particles which could set off my symptoms. Once I stopped laughing, I explained that I had an even more serious condition as a jewelry maker: packratism! Do I have lots of magazines? Don't we all? One of our editors refers to herself and all jewelry-makers as magpies, because we love to hoard shiny, pretty things. This applies to collecting back issues, too. To justify our compulsion, and boost everyone's creative health, here are comments from several editors sharing how and why they save back issues, and some of their favorites.

Leslie sketchbook

Save things in a sketchbook

Mostly I cut and paste appealing colors, textures and materials in my sketchbooks, leaving blank pages so i can doodle and design my own work as inspired by those snippets. I also tear whole pages and put them into folders, which are so much fun to go through again and again. New ideas come each time I see something, and there's so much I forget about. Of course, anything remaining after my dissection gets recycled. —Leslie Rogalski, Editor, Interweave 

copper spiral bracelet

Save for tomorrow what you can't do today.

I love flipping through back issues and seeing projects I meant to do but never got around to making. The one on my bench right now is Helen Drigg's Copper Wire Spirals bracelet. I save every issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. It's my metals bible. —Denise Peck, Editor in Chief Step Step by Step Wire Jewelry and author of 101 Wire Earrings.

enameling page

Save what motivates you to create

If an article, photo or feature moves me to get in my studio and create, then I keep it, and file it in my "inspiration" folder. I love the projects, learning new techniques, and seeing the intricacy in the detailed photographs. Two of my favorites are Enameling, July 09, and the July 08 Wire Works features from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. They inspire me to do my own work every time I see them. —Karen Dougherty, Interweave marketing graphic designer

Mobius project

Save the technical lessons you value most

I save all back issues that have information about hard-core metals techniques: like damascene (the art of hammering gold into steel), casting, wax carving, hammer forming, chasing, mechanisms and clasps fabrication, etc. I tag tips and tricks, and profiles or photos or both of work by my personal jewelry heroes. Chasing is a great beginner metals technique and a very low tech way of getting fantastic and sophisticated results using just a hammer and punches and a pitch pot. There are several hammer forming features I often refer to by silversmith/tool developer and designer William Fretz. In the August 2009 issue he had a Mobius Circle pendant of heavy gauge brass which was my favorite kind of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist project: inexpensive materials and all about mastering a specific technique — in this case, hammer forming a 3D object starting from flat sheet and hand planishing (smoothing metal with a special type of hammer) it to a high polish.—Helen Driggs, Managing Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

cool tools hammers

Keep must-have resources at your fingertips

No matter what your jewelry-making skill level or material you work with, there are always new tools you're going to want! I save issues that have great resource features. My favorites are the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist,  Cool Tool features.  I keep these articles out as handy references, because the great photos show you all the jewelry-making tools with a description of what each tool is used for. I'm using them to make my holiday wish list and gift list! —Jane Dickerson, Editor Step by Step Beads and author of Chain Style: 50 Contemporary Jewelry Designs.

Ginko brooch LJJA cover

Save what you love to look at again and again.

As the editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, I look at back issues all the time to see what worked, what could have been better. But I'm always amazed how compelling some things continue to be, regardless how often I look at them. I love "You Made It Real" in the September 2009 issue, where readers have turned their sketches on suggested themes into actual jewelry.  I reread "Sketching for Jewelry Artists" in the March 2009 issue because it explains how the creative process is enhanced and preserved through drawing, and then I reread Cool Tools & Hip Tips in the same issue because it describes how drawing tools work. I have to read "A Jeweler's Guide to Fossils" whenever I look at the August 2009 issue because I love thinking about ancient life on earth, I love the forms you see in fossils, and the writer cracks me up every time. I love being reminded of all the cool stones that exist when I flip through my back issues. But the issue I probably linger on the most is August 2007. The luminous Ginkgo brooch on that cover is just the most beautiful, lovely, exquisite design I've ever seen. And it's not even full of the screaming colors I usually love! —Merle White, Editor in Chief Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Editorial Director, Interweave Gem & Jewelry Group 

Leslie's back issues
And one more thing: Keep organized.

I'd hoard every complete issue of every jewelry magazine, but space won't allow it, though I do save many complete issues in inexpensive cardboard magazine boxes. It sort of keeps things organized, at least until I make time to go through them and get my favorite stuff into my sketchbooks! —Leslie

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artistavie wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 10:51 AM
dear leslie i love everything you maked you are a genius and what would be fantastic it's you shouls right a book or books of all of you're creations and i love the way you teach.everything i learn from you by watching whats on t.v. online and on you're web site i have no problem to doit after,you are my favorite designer and it'sfun to make you're finger food i can stop to maked those faboulus rings!thank you leslie and you're poodle beads i love it anyway i love all of youre projects thank you again and think about the idea to make a book,i will be the first to buy you're book. sylvie
on Sep 14, 2009 3:50 PM
Besides inspiration and instruction I like saving back issues because you never know when you might learn a new technigue that you were not interested in before. When this happens then I go back thru by back issues for articles about that technique. For example I recently took a class in polymer clay, so now I'm looking at back articles on polymer clay.l Taht is the reason that I don't like to cut out the articles that I am currently interested in, because you never know what will be of interest in the future.
ingridteboe wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 4:23 PM
I totally agree that keeping back issues is a MUST! To stay somewhat organized I now buy cat litter in boxes. Sounds odd but since so many of us who bead have kitties I thought I'd share what I do. First take the whole lid off the box, next measure up about 4" from the bottom on one side of the box (the narrow side). Now with a straight edge and a marking pen draw lines from the top side to the corner of your 4" mark on both sides. Using a box cutter cut all 3 lines and you now have a magazine holder. You can paint it or cover it with contact paper or wallpaper to make it fancy. And label the short side so you know what magazines are in it. I keep a plastic litter bucket by the litter boxes so I make one the same day I buy litter.
NancyR@73 wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 5:13 PM
I would love it, it Interweave would publish a book at the end of each year of the projects listed in the magazines or maybe just the most popular projects. This would eliminate the need to keep all those magazines which I do because of all the above reasons mentioned. I finally had to throw some away after years of hording. This is also one reason why I stopped some subscriptions, I couldn't bear to get rid of them. But if I new I had a book of the projects to buy the next year... well I might not feel so bad subscribing to more mags knowing I could get rid of them after the book came out. Thanks Nancy
Happibooker wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 5:54 PM
How funny that this would be the topic today. I spent a good of the weekend going through my back issues because we are having a "girl day" after work today and I am teaching my staff to string a simple bracelet and make a pair of matching earrings. I brought several magazines for inspiration. As to the topic, I clip from magazines and catalogs and place on black paper and organize with sheet protectors into a binder. My daughter has taught me to scan your favorites and create an inspiration folder. You could make ones for bracelet, earrings or categories like colors or birthstones. I like to keep the issues intact because of all the great training articles. Keep up the great work!! Cheryl C
TReno wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 5:59 PM
I have allergies too. I couldn't get books from the library or buy used books because they would cause me to itch badly. So do old magazines. Relief came in the form of digitized books and digitized magazines. I get a crochet and a knit magazine on-line. I would subscribe to a beading magazine if it too was digitized. EKunsman
LyrlA wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 7:57 PM
As Philonese said, one never knows what may turn one on months later. I save all my beading magazines whole and wallow through them periodically.
masaint wrote
on Sep 14, 2009 8:02 PM
I not only have all Beadwork back issues, but also Handwoven, SpinOff and Interweave Knits. I used to have 96 issues of Fine Cooking too, but Taunton Press saved me-they put out a 15th Anniversary Archive with all issues, 1-96. I have been wondering for some time why Interweave Press does not do DVDs of the magazines (think 10 or 15 years per DVD). Aside from the obvious point, a DVD takes up less space, it also addresses those pesky "sold out" back issues, especially for those among us who would like to have every single issue, puts the kabosh on allergy problems, and still keeps the tutorials, pretty pictures, luscious ideas, etc. right at one's fingertips. This cannot be too difficult --Interweave must have archives for every issue-digitizing is so commonplace and not so expensive. The Fine Cooking DVD -96 issues Years 1994-2008 was 99.00--very reasonable given the volume of material and it is a snap to pop the DVD into the computer and pull up exactly what you are seeking. Even my husband's various medical journals (talk about a storage nightmare!) are available in DVD sets now. Just think, 1 study with full bookcases and 1/2 an attic =just a few inches in DVD space. 1masaint
catnap1 wrote
on Sep 15, 2009 1:58 AM
I've had to pare down what I purchase these days, but I found some wonderful plastic cases that stack, so I can keep the magazines flat but can still see what's in the box! I don't ever want to cut apart one of my beading magazines, because with my luck I wouldn't keep an article "today" that I would end up loving "tomorrow"! My "what will you want to do next" crystal ball is always cloudy, so I'd rather just keep them complete. Hurrah for all the storage options available these days!
JayelF wrote
on Sep 15, 2009 8:20 AM
I am both a knitter/crocheter and a beader. I used to keep back issues in binders, using those lovely plastic magazine organizers that allow magazines to hang by their spines. But after a decade (or two!), I got tired of having to flip thru all those ads to get to the designs, patterns & instructional articles I wanted. I actually started indexing my favorites when recovering from surgery too. So when I started running out of room and patience, I started ripping into those magazines literally, tearing out what I wanted, putting it into sleeves and filing them under tabs by project type. Now I can see at a glance all the, say, necklaces that inspired me from a number of different publications all together. I can keep them together by technique as well, keeping my knitted jewelry separate from strung, for example. When my notebooks get full to bulging, I cull my collection. My tastes and preferences are ever evolving, so out go the out-of-favor pages. I haven't regretted a cull yet. And there are always new inspiring ideas and online archives to keep my happy.
beadhappy wrote
on Sep 29, 2009 6:16 PM
I try to save as many issues of beading magazines as possible, but now my bookshelf is full. So, I've developed a system. Once I do the projects I like in the magazines, I cut out my favorite articles to keep in a folder, and I donate the rest of the magazine to a friend for inspiration.
JUSTME@4 wrote
on Oct 14, 2009 11:15 PM
Some magazines list ALL of the "projects" included in that issue in a column at the back of the magazine. Your magazines could accumulate all that information in subsequent issues. As the year progresses, all of the projects would be listed along with their page and month, primary technique and name. And, at the end of the year, ALL of the year's projects could be listed on a tear out, binder ready, heavy bond page. ...and that is what would help us magazine issue savers. Ruth (its just me)