Linseed Journal #1
New magazine Linseed Journal immediately impresses—its large pages and multiple papers are physically pleasing, and the concept behind it is intriguing and well executed.
Taking The Apple as its first theme (‘a symbol of origins–A is for Apple’), over 30 writers and artists contribute to a collection of collaborations that are described as both a tapestry—stitching through geographic boundaries and historical divides— and a patchwork—gathering texture from near and far. A comparison might be MacGuffin, in the way Linseed starts from its theme and branches out in multiple directions. Yet that is also deceptive; Linseed is as much its own thing as MacGuffin is.
Here I take a look throught its pages to highlight five elements of the magazine.
The scope of the new magazine is set out on the fold-out covers (front and back) that combine facts about apples with details of the issue in an atlas-like contents design. The detail is impressive, but also the general mood of the pages is important. The fold-outs express the joy of physical print while the design references announce Linseed as a timeless project. Everything is carefully set out: contributor biogs, page furniture and footnotes all deepen the experience.
This timelessness is emphasised by the way contributions from very different eras are combined on the pages. Here, Tatiana Harkiolakis tells the story of a traditional Macedonian song about unrequited love (the subject of that love is known as ‘red apple’). The writing is accompanied by bright, full-page illustrations by Lauren Doughty as well as archive photography; the layout is simple, almost stark, the two images playing off each other.
A series of rich, abstract, analogue images of colour by Eliska Wilczek are part of a larger art project encompassing audio and projection by Dan McBride. Based on the experience of synethetes—people who experience different senses through another sense—the images are accompanied by quotes about responses to apples. ‘Whan I hear the name Jack I can taste an apple… more a red apple than a green apple’.
Written pieces range from an essay about linguistic diversity and the fight against climate change, to another concerning the ‘Directness of Apples’. All are well illustrated, but the visual highlights are the many purely image-based stories, like this one combining photographs by founder Louise Long and paintings by Moira Firth. The evocative results remind me of The Plant, offering a meditative puncutation of the writing elsewhere.
There is also space for a more practical piece; here a history of the espalier—the training of fruit trees into unnatural but attractive shapes, where the fruit avoids rot and is more easily picked. Yet even here, the accompanying text refers to both Vita Sackville-West and the 17th century gardens of Versailles. A patchwork of function and culture, reminding us of the relevance of history and experience.
Linseed Journal is a brilliant mix of art, history, science, design and horticulture. The five examples highlighted here barely scratch the surface of what it contains, this is a magazine that releases new surprises with its erudite and thoughtful conetnt every time you flick though its pages.
Creative and editorial direction Louise Long
Editorial Phoebe Hunt
Design Émilie Loiseleur