The Making of a magazine – two years in.

The nights are late and the work is as driven as it was when we began whispering this BIG thing to life more than  two years ago. Sometimes we are exhausted. Forever managing ways to mark out the time differently, to acknowledge the work done by the other and together, to do what we can, to remember our voice in the overwhelm. The administration is relentless and roles are necessarily divided. The creative work is ongoing between us and behaves much like a child demanding attention to the exclusion of all else. And sometimes like a child, it has to wait which, more often than not, ends with EVERYONE grumpi ;) As the BIG creative directors, we are also our own PA’s  –  responsible for sleuth work on returned to sender subscriptions, for invoicing and advertising, for business, for responding to submissions, for curating the artwork, for the features, for collaborative design, for blogging, face booking, emailing, meetings and meltdowns. It is a BIG journey, daily, and mapped mostly by the energetic rise and fall of the four little people in our lives. 

Right now we are immersed in the beauty of a new work unfolding. The creative development of Issue 4 Into The Dark is well under way even though it will not be published for 5 months. It is the most exciting time, ideas drawn up and exchanged at all hours, words scribbled on scrap paper and paintings flown through a cracked iPhone screen for immediate response. It is a fuelled and firing process with the luxury of a slow burn over the holiday period before the speed and adrenalin of final design in the new year. We are beside ourselves with the quality and QUANTITY of artwork and words received from around the world. Current collaborations and exchanges are on the go between here and Russia, Helsinki, the Netherlands, New York…sometimes we pause and catch our breath and laugh a little for the enormity of this BIG project. Last night I was asked if we could speak to some artists about how we got BIG off the ground. Well, we can hardly remember the specifics (except that every step has been recorded here on the blog) and agree it was unthinkable that we made the bulk of the first magazine without a SINGLE spoken conversation! We could write a book on the making of a magazine (and yes, it is on the list!) 

As we watch the pages growing almost by themselves, we speak increasingly about a BIG pedagogy that is a realisation of where we have been working from for so long; that of valuing the work of children and artists side by side. That of giving a voice to the concept of not knowing. Of challenging the authority of art practice and paradigm. Of firing creative response without prescribed expectation or goal. Of contributing to the conversation about the value and accessibility of arts education. Of giving permission for new ways of open-ended art making and risk-taking. Of nurturing bravery, imagination and making visible the power and impact of generosity and collaboration.  Of a process of co-authorship that is significant and immersed yet driven with individual still voices maintained and spacious. And of this balance of particular practice of co-authorship and creative process in relation to collaborating with children. 

For us both we feel the BIG work is a growing culmination of 20 years each as practicing artists and educators. In arriving at a clear vision for BIG there is again space for the creative work between us to thrive and spark threads unexpected. Lilly works on a series of dark monsters and I respond with words scrawled over late night print-outs. We dream up the beginnings of limited edition artist books with our work published as a response to each of the magazines. We follow instinct and watch the BIG world build as a paper city between us. A continuous and evolving exhibition. Marks made and erased and made differently in response to the other. Live and in process. 

We are so grateful for the feedback and support given to us from so many circles and this enables us to continue. Thank you x You can subscribe here or help us by sharing the BIG work among friends. 


He was responsible for the final tree in the forrest with a water source that fell pouring from his heart. 







on Dec 7, 2012

1 Comment

  • by Sally Richardson

    12.72012
    11:49pm

    Can not believe its been two years…but the BIGgest thank you..Enjoy the Magazine and appreciate the MAN network and festival. REAL connections shared through art and family. Keep up the wonderful work!!
    Sally Richardson x

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