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Special Feature: The Jacey Boggs/PLY Interview!

by The SpinArtiste on January 10, 2013

Publisher’s Notes:  With great excitement, hand spinners everywhere are anticipating the arrival of Jacey Boggs’ newest project, PLY magazine!  As you can image, Jacey of Insubordiknit is one fiber artist that I’ve been wanting to feature since the inception of Spin Artiste as she has had a profound influence upon my own production of hand spun yarn.  So, this post is kind of a “bucket list” item for me for that reason as well as my enthusiasm for a new print publication focusing on my favorite subject.  Over the holidays, Jacey was kind enough to spend some time answering some questions for us.  Enjoy!

 

Spin Artiste (SA):  What was your “aha” moment when you decided to tackle the project of launching a new magazine?

Jacey Boggs (JB):  You know, it’s been tossed around my brain and house for years.  In the same way that “I should just make a video” or “Maybe I should write a book” was bandied about.  But in trying to figure out where to go from where I am, it seemed like a natural next step.  Between Kitten and I we have the skill-sets needed to get it done (even if part of that skill set is being able to find talent outside ourselves) and we do like to go boldly.  I’ve always felt like I wanted to give to the community and craft that has shaped my life.

SA:  What do you feel that existing publications were not providing?  What void will PLY fill?

JB:  Oh, that’s a hard and loaded question.  And to be honest, it’s not that I feel badly about any publication that exists.  In fact, I love them all for what they are, for what they provide, and for the support they give our community.  I’ve learned lots from them and I’ve enormously enjoyed the times I’ve worked with them. I think it’s a bit like when Kitten and I were trying to figure out what kind of life we wanted to live.  We looked at intentional communities (communes for those of you that lived through the 60s) for a while.  We even went and visited several.  Here’s what I came to realize — while they might be great, and perfect for what they are, they were not *my* intentional community.  They did not reflect what I wanted, thought, needed, or loved.  It’s the same with magazines.  With teaching and traveling, I feel like I know the spinning community pretty well.  And it’s not that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting everyone, far from it, but I have travelled to lots of places and met a good sampling of this wonderful section of society.  I feel like that connection gives me a particular perspective and that perspective is wonderfully suited to create a magazine that the larger spinning community will respond to.  I feel like it will be in touch with spinners, inspiring them, educating them, but also reflecting the actuality of them.

I’m also a firm believer that you can’t have too many voices. Nobody should/could speak to/ for the whole spinning community. The more magazines that exist, the better they all have to be. I don’t see the other fiber magazines as competition, just like I don’t see other teachers or other spinners as competition.  I enjoy them, I learn from them, and they make me strive to be the best that I can be, which makes me grateful to them.

SA:  Who is your target audience?

JB:  I feel like there’s a lot of help and material pointed at people in their first yards of treadling, but not as much for those that have seen thousands of yards get twisted.  Just because we’ve done something for a while, doesn’t mean there isn’t heaps more to learn, and that’s a void that I think PLY will fill brilliantly.  So I think the target audience is the intermediate and advanced spinner.  But I don’t think it will fail to speak to beginners, it’ll just say something different to them, it’ll inspire them want to spin more and travel further along their spinning path.

SA:  How much of your time will go towards being editor in chief?  What, if anything, will you be cutting back on in order to manage this new endeavor?

JB:  First, Editor in Chief.  Let me just look at that for a second.  It’s exciting and makes me a bit flushed to see it in print.  It’s my first ever actual job title.  Okay, enough indulging.  Time, that’s what you asked about.  Time is always the issue, isn’t it?   So far, it’s been a good amount of time and as we’re just starting out, I’m not really sure how much time it will require.   I’ll put in the time it takes, really, but I’m also pretty organized, good at managing my time, and not afraid to delegate, so I feel ultimately confident that time will fall into place just fine.  As for cutting back on things, yes, there will be some of that.  For instance, I love working with other publications but don’t imagine I’ll have much time to do that.  For the past several years, I’ve travelled a lot, teaching.  I’ve already started to back off of this schedule.  Around the launch of the first issue the every-three-weeks model gets booted for the every six weeks or every-other-month plan. I still want to get out and teach, learn, and meet people, but with a more workable schedule.  I also may not be able to bake muffins, cupcakes, and cookies every single day any more, but I feel good about an every-other-day baking regiment.

SA:  What has surprised you since you announced the coming of PLY?

JB:  The response!  Not just the amazingness of the kickstarter program and how it met it’s goal in just one week; but the subscriptions that have poured in; the advertisers that even before I had subscribers, were willing to buy up the very limited space that we are offering;  and the e-mails that pepper my inbox with support, offers for help, requests for jobs, and people just wanting to be involved.  It’s been outstanding.  I suppose I wouldn’t have taken the leap if I didn’t think it could be wildly successful, but what has been surprising has been the quickness of support.  I thought it might take a few months for people to hear about it, and I’m sure that will be the case for some, but the immediate response has been wonderfully surprising.

SA:  What’s the biggest fear/challenge/obstacle you face as you move forward with PLY?

JB:  You know, I’m not really afraid. And that’s not some statement of bravery but rather comes from a place inspired by my confidence that there are people out there who can and will help.  This is an amazing community, so smart, kind, and willing to help.  I don’t think there’s anything that could come up that we couldn’t deal with.  But if you’re asking what I predict will be the hardest part in the upcoming months — just making sure we cover everything.  We’ve tried to give ourselves a long lead time for this first issue so that we can get used to the process, but if I give into momentary stress, it’s about making sure I don’t forget anything.

SA:  We know that Kitten is involved.  What is going to be his role going forward?

JB:  Kitten is the Art Director of the PLY Magazine.  So he’s in charge of how things look.  He’s doing all the layout, graphics, and art design.  In fact, if you see it, he made it look that way.  It’s something he’s really great at and has experience doing it.  I trust him implicitly and have always deferred to his aesthetic, which is much cleaner, dynamic, and graphic than my own.  He’s also doing the heavy lifting — copy editing, which may be his secret super power. He’s been doing it for a while and works mostly on books (and my official writing). He has the amazing and rare ability to rework a person’s writing, making it better, clearer, more concise, but maintaining their voice and feel.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to look at my writing, post Kitten-editing, and think that he changed nothing.  Of course, when I track the changes I see what he’s done and how much better he made it, but it still reads and seems just like me.  It’s a rare and valuable skill and the magazine will benefit greatly from it.

SA:   “Art yarn” — Dead or very much alive and evolving?

JB:  All craft and art evolves, it’s never static and spinning is no different.  I think we sometimes mistakenly think that this is the first time that this outside-of-the-box spinning has been popular, that art/textured yarn spinning is new, but that’s just not the case.  Spinning goes through cycles and trends and this is just one in a long line. I can’t wait until the next one, can you imagine how spectacular those yarns are going to be?

But as for whether it’s dead now, of course not!  It’ll never be dead.  It is evolving though, and it will continue to and isn’t that a beautiful thing?  What I’ve noticed about my classes lately is that lots of spinners have come to realize the value in expanding their skill set for the benefit of their overall spinning and not because they necessarily want to spin coils or corespun yarns.  They’re eager to get better at spinning and that’s always going to mean the evolution of our craft as a whole. I find that very exciting.  I also am excited by people that are visionaries — those artistic souls interested in creating beauty and art.  It takes both types to propel us forward the more we embrace that fact, the better served we’ll all be.

SA:  What is on your own wheel these days?  What are you working on learning?

JB:  Wheel?  What is this strange singular use of this word?  Actually, I’m down to four wheels right now.  I’ve had more but a few years ago we moved and sadly, I downsized.  Now I have a giant studio and I wish I had them all back, not just because I love wheels, but because we are going to need a variety for the magazine.  I want to be able to use different wheels in different articles and pictures, not just the same four.  And to be honest, it’d actually be just three as two of my wheels are the exact same.  Right now I’ve got two Lendrum DTs, a Majacraft Aura, and a Schacht Ladybug.  Of course, I’d like one of each…you can never have too many, right?

SA:   Where are you headed to teach in 2013?  Any new places that are firsts for you?

JB:  Idaho, California, Washington, Missouri, Minnesota, Canada, North Carolina, Illinois, Tennessee, Florida, Australia, New Mexico, and Virginia.  I think that about covers it.  I think they’re all places I’ve been to before but I’ve never taught at Taos or John C. Campbell and I’m really looking forward to those.  I’m also excited to go back to Madrona and I’m really looking forward to Natalie Redding’s Learn-fest in CA.  Oh, and Idaho is fun and…well, I could really say something about each place.  Spinners are different everywhere but also the same and there’s never a place I don’t enjoy.

SA:   Are there more books in the works?  If so, when are you planning for publication?

JB:  There are more books in the works.  I’ve got two kicking around in my head and at various states of completeness but given the demands of the magazine, I’m not sure those are going to get much attention in the upcoming year. I do have a new DVD coming out though, in spring,  I think.  Sit and Spin 2, with at least 25% more sitting!

SA:  On a personal note, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

JB:  There you go with that strange single use of words “favorite guilty pleasure.”  I could never narrow it down to just one.  I’ll give you the ones that pop into my head in the next 15 seconds:

Dark chocolate with sea salt
Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon icing
Staying in my couch-pants all day
Super hot baths that last long enough for me to read a whole issue of Wild Fibers
Fluevog shoes

Life is hard enough without embracing the things that bring us joy.

 

SA:  Thanks so much, Jacey!  Readers, if you haven’t already done so, check out the PLY magazine website — you can already tell that this is going to be a lot of fiber fun.  We are so fortunate that Jacey is taking on this challenge for us.  As spinners, many of us have stepped up to plate by helping Jacey meet the initial goal of her kickstarter campaign.  However, she recently added some new levels to the campaign and has extended the deadline so there’s still time and opportunity to help.  If you haven’t already contributed, I urge you to show your support.  This is big endeavor and every dollar will help Jacey to deliver a publication that we are all going to enjoy tremendously.  Click here to go show your support! 

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