At Work With: Amelia Gregory, Amelia’s Magazine
Amelia Gregory is a photographer who launched her own magazine, Amelia’s Magazine, in 2004 and produced ten issues until the final print edition in 2009. Since then she’s continued to publish writing, photography and illustration on the Amelia’s website alongside the occasional book. We look ahead at her week as she launches her first Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising funds for a book based on an open brief to artists and writers (details below). The book will mark the tenth anniversary of Amelia’s and if the campaign goes well it may be followed by a new print edition of the magazine.
Where are you today?
I’m sitting at my desk contemplating the imminent launch of my Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Amelia’s Magazine. I am producing a limited edition artists’ book with a beautiful gold foiled cover and at least 72 pages of artworks and writing on the theme of ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’. The submissions have been found via an open brief on my website, which is open for a little while longer, should anyone reading this be tempted to take part. Alongside this I will be printing the best artworks as editions of ten featuring real gold leaf on them – and I hope to raise at least £12,000 to make this all happen!
What can you see from the window?
Today I am at my parents house (they help to take care of my toddler whilst I work) which means that I have the most wonderful view of their garden, seen through a curtain of Russian Vine which is crawling across the window. At the moment there are two huge crows pecking at the undergrowth under their apple tree and sometimes I see fox cubs gamboling on the lawn. Most of the time I work in the living room at my own house in East London, just off Brick Lane. I sit on the sofa with my laptop on a little table in front of me, and often my child is playing on the floor in front of me – or throttling me with a car/train/bus.
Are you a morning or evening person?
I definitely function best in the morning after a good nights sleep, but that’s in short supply these days and I usually work into the night once my toddler is asleep. I can get a few hours work done most evenings, and I also work when he has a nap during the day – though that is diminishing – so sometimes I only manage to check my emails which can be somewhat frustrating.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
I’m a big fan of other indie magazines. Oh Comely for a bit of unusual inspiration, Anorak for its wonderful artwork, National Geographic for great stories and images, and I like cheesy craft magazines because in my downtime I knit and crochet as a way of doing something creative that does not involve looking at a screen.
Tell us about Amelia’s Magazine since the last print edition – what have been the big events/stories online?
Well, I made two books about illustration shortly after the last print edition of the magazine: ‘Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration’ and ‘Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration’. I have continued to work with illustrators to produce stunning images that go with my online articles, which are updated daily.
I had my child in 2012 and since then I have been working on ideas to revamp the website and relaunch the magazine in print. I redesigned the website nearly a year and a half ago but made some bad decisions with regards web development so had to put that on hold when I ran out of money half way through this year.
When I realised that I was not going to be able to get back into print in time to celebrate my 10th anniversary I cooked up a new plan to produce this special artists’ book and the limited edition fine art prints. I couldn’t let my tenth birthday pass without doing something beautiful in print!
It feels like there’s been a growth in the type of creative activism you promote via Amelia’s. Has the been reflected in interest in your project?
Yes, I think that’s definitely true and a very astute observation. It seems that people are really channeling their creativity to make a difference in the world, and I am fascinated by movements like Craftivism, which seems to have really captured people’s imagination across the world. I love to find out about these projects and would urge anyone who is involved to get in touch with me: I think it’s super important that creativity is put to good use and is not just about creating pretty objects, which is why I always set out to tackle interesting subjects when I create my open briefs.
How do you view the differences between print and digital – what’s brought you back to print?
I think the two have a very interesting and sometimes uneasy relationship, and it is something that really fascinates me. I have always tried to balance them but at times one has been more dominant than the other. Obviously the website has been very dominant since I decided to stop making the magazine in print. I can produce more content at a faster pace, that could potentially reach a far bigger audience, but there are downsides to being without a print version of the magazine. For whatever its reach a website is never as well-respected as a print magazine – we still revere print, and I think that is because it is so tangible.
When I do something in print I really make the effort to do something beautiful and unusual because I think that is part of what keeps people coming back to the printed object: the fact that it is real and can be held and treasured. How often do we revisit our favourite pages on the web? It would be a very rare thing to chance on an old favourite by accident, but that is what happens with books and magazines - you might come back across a much-loved story or rediscover something new that you never saw before. I adore the printed medium, and that is reflected in the vast amount of publications that fill my house.
It goes without saying I’m super excited to be heading into print again.
How can people help you get the new publication become a reality?
I am producing an artists’ book to celebrate the 10th birthday of Amelia’s Magazine (illustrations from the book above and below) but if this first campaign is a success then I plan to use Kickstarter to raise funds to redo the website properly and relaunch the magazine in print. This is a very exciting time for the magazine so if you would like to see it back for good then please do get behind ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’.
If I raise more than anticipated then I will be able to put money towards the new magazine in advance of another campaign. I think crowd-funding is going to become ever more important to small publishers such as myself, because it’s a much safer and more sustainable way of creating publications.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
I’m really looking forward to launching the Kickstarter campaign. The crowd funding model is nerve-wracking but also very exciting, and I really hope that I can persuade Amelia’s Magazine fans new and old to get involved and help make this a reality. And I am offering great rewards!
What are you least looking forward to this week?
It’s going to be a difficult week when it comes to juggling childcare and work… but I am sure I will manage it.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Knuckling straight down to work. I try to concentrate really hard since I have to pack everything that needs doing into such a short time-frame every day.