Why we save back issues!

Leslie RogalskiMy allergist once asked me if I had many old magazines stashed in my home, because they collect particles which could set off my symptoms. Once I stopped laughing, I explained that I had an even more serious condition as a jewelry maker: packratism! Do I have lots of magazines? Don't we all? One of our editors refers to herself and all jewelry-makers as magpies, because we love to hoard shiny, pretty things. This applies to collecting back issues, too. To justify our compulsion, and boost everyone's creative health, here are comments from several editors sharing how and why they save back issues, and some of their favorites.

Leslie sketchbook

Save things in a sketchbook

Mostly I cut and paste appealing colors, textures and materials in my sketchbooks, leaving blank pages so i can doodle and design my own work as inspired by those snippets. I also tear whole pages and put them into folders, which are so much fun to go through again and again. New ideas come each time I see something, and there's so much I forget about. Of course, anything remaining after my dissection gets recycled. —Leslie Rogalski, Editor, Interweave 

copper spiral bracelet

Save for tomorrow what you can't do today.

I love flipping through back issues and seeing projects I meant to do but never got around to making. The one on my bench right now is Helen Drigg's Copper Wire Spirals bracelet. I save every issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. It's my metals bible. —Denise Peck, Editor in Chief Step Step by Step Wire Jewelry and author of 101 Wire Earrings.

enameling page

Save what motivates you to create

If an article, photo or feature moves me to get in my studio and create, then I keep it, and file it in my "inspiration" folder. I love the projects, learning new techniques, and seeing the intricacy in the detailed photographs. Two of my favorites are Enameling, July 09, and the July 08 Wire Works features from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. They inspire me to do my own work every time I see them. —Karen Dougherty, Interweave marketing graphic designer

Mobius project

Save the technical lessons you value most

I save all back issues that have information about hard-core metals techniques: like damascene (the art of hammering gold into steel), casting, wax carving, hammer forming, chasing, mechanisms and clasps fabrication, etc. I tag tips and tricks, and profiles or photos or both of work by my personal jewelry heroes. Chasing is a great beginner metals technique and a very low tech way of getting fantastic and sophisticated results using just a hammer and punches and a pitch pot. There are several hammer forming features I often refer to by silversmith/tool developer and designer William Fretz. In the August 2009 issue he had a Mobius Circle pendant of heavy gauge brass which was my favorite kind of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist project: inexpensive materials and all about mastering a specific technique — in this case, hammer forming a 3D object starting from flat sheet and hand planishing (smoothing metal with a special type of hammer) it to a high polish.—Helen Driggs, Managing Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

cool tools hammers

Keep must-have resources at your fingertips

No matter what your jewelry-making skill level or material you work with, there are always new tools you're going to want! I save issues that have great resource features. My favorites are the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist,  Cool Tool features.  I keep these articles out as handy references, because the great photos show you all the jewelry-making tools with a description of what each tool is used for. I'm using them to make my holiday wish list and gift list! —Jane Dickerson, Editor Step by Step Beads and author of Chain Style: 50 Contemporary Jewelry Designs.

Ginko brooch LJJA cover

Save what you love to look at again and again.

As the editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, I look at back issues all the time to see what worked, what could have been better. But I'm always amazed how compelling some things continue to be, regardless how often I look at them. I love "You Made It Real" in the September 2009 issue, where readers have turned their sketches on suggested themes into actual jewelry.  I reread "Sketching for Jewelry Artists" in the March 2009 issue because it explains how the creative process is enhanced and preserved through drawing, and then I reread Cool Tools & Hip Tips in the same issue because it describes how drawing tools work. I have to read "A Jeweler's Guide to Fossils" whenever I look at the August 2009 issue because I love thinking about ancient life on earth, I love the forms you see in fossils, and the writer cracks me up every time. I love being reminded of all the cool stones that exist when I flip through my back issues. But the issue I probably linger on the most is August 2007. The luminous Ginkgo brooch on that cover is just the most beautiful, lovely, exquisite design I've ever seen. And it's not even full of the screaming colors I usually love! —Merle White, Editor in Chief Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Editorial Director, Interweave Gem & Jewelry Group 

Leslie's back issues
And one more thing: Keep organized.

I'd hoard every complete issue of every jewelry magazine, but space won't allow it, though I do save many complete issues in inexpensive cardboard magazine boxes. It sort of keeps things organized, at least until I make time to go through them and get my favorite stuff into my sketchbooks! —Leslie

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