At Work With Sam Walton, Hole & Corner
Sam Walton is an art director who has worked for most of the UK’s major publishers, with titles including Vogue, Elle Decoration and World of Interiors on his CV. He also led the creative team at Spring Creative, where he worked for brands such as Harvey Nichols, COS and Nicole Farhi. Last year he launched quarterly magazine Hole & Corner; we join him as issue four is published.
Where are you today?
On the road as it happens; Dorset to East Sussex to collect some copies of our new issue. Our previous three issues were printed a little closer to the office – it will be couriers all the way for issue five!
What can you see from the window?
Some pretty incredible Autumn landscapes today, the A31 through the New Forest is always so stunning – pity it’s got a huge road running through it though!
The view from my office window is less dramatic but it’s not to shabby (although the window frames are) – I live in part of a converted Brewery with an office/shed in the garden (below), a small stream runs between the office and the house, the stream (which was used to brew the beer) flows from a Spring in the village.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Mornings, due to a combination of 10 years of early starts (fatherhood) and clarity of thought between 7am and 1pm. I’m often on the train to London in the morning and that can certainly be the most productive period of my day. Reduced communications and downloaded Spotify playlists seem to be a good combination.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Today is about Hole & Corner of course but Apartamento and World of Interiors are the only publications that I buy on a regular basis. I’m really enjoying the resurgence of independent print, there are some lovely ideas out there.
Tell us about the name Hole & Corner – what does it mean?
‘Hole-and-corner’ is an old English term that means – by its dictionary definition –a life lived away from public glare, conducted in a secret place. Our subjects can lead somewhat reclusive lives that are often led at their own pace, which we feel is something that needs to be celebrated and supported.
We wanted a magazine about real people – amazing people, experienced and talented people. The influence of moving out of the city also played its role. Perhaps the humility that it brings – listening to people and not being so focused on our own busy lives which living in a bustling city tends to breed.
You caught the zeitgeist with a magazine about craftsmanship. What attracted you to craft, and do you worry about wider interest in it peaking and fading?
The strength of Hole & Corner is that it is an idea much bigger than simply a craft magazine; it is an outlook and an ethos. We’re interested in developing the whole idea of a ‘Hole & Corner’ life – and that means an authentic lifestyle and things of real substance. That will always transcend whatever’s on trend, so we’ve got no worries about our subject matter not being in fashion. It’s true that a lot of brands are trying to focus on their heritage and craftsmanship at the moment – but that’s not something you can fake.
We believe it is as relevant to people in London or Dorset, Melbourne or New York; provenance food culture is now mainstream, lifestyles and consumption are being considered more. We’re focusing on the things in life that really matter: skills and passions and beauty. People aren’t going to suddenly decide they don’t value those things any more; it’s always a given. When people discover the magazine, there is a sense they’ve been longing for something like this to come along, we’re talking to latent desire. Far from worrying about the trend declining, we’re hugely excited about the next few years; we see Hole & Corner going from strength to strength as more people discover it!
In a world of small-format independent magazines, Hole & Corner stands out as resolutely large-format. Was that a conscious decision?
I held many magazines in my hands and procrastinated but ultimately I was lead by what I felt the imagery would require. The format fits a traditional medium format photograph, which is a ratio I enjoy working with. In terms of the economics – we’ve tried not to waste too much paper, but I haven’t looked at the comparative costs for a smaller format. However we do have lots of plans in the pipeline which may see us explore formats for special projects.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
Getting the new Hole & Corner back and finishing another issue of Telegraph Luxury (now that is a large format).
What are you least looking forward to this week?
Getting the new Hole & Corner back and searching for the mistakes – never enjoyed that element throughout my career. Same for us all of course – always room to improve!
What will you be doing after this chat?
Trying to build up the momentum to get cracking on the social media – Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – and flog some print. Follow us on all of those, why don’t you!