Kinfolk and the art of storytelling

Kinfolk and coffee

Excuse me, I am looking for an issue of Kinfolk magazine, – I asked a guy in my favorite bookshop.
A Kinfolk magazine? We don’t have a magazine! But we have a book, – he added after some hesitation.
The website said you had a magazine. – I barely ever speak to strangers, let alone confront them, but finding Kinfolk in the labyrinth of post-Christmas city by -20 degrees was a difficult quest and I was not giving up.
Kinfolk is not a magazine, it’s a book – it’s in the book section, – the shop guy was unrelenting.
In the cookbook section, to be exact, on the shelf between the Art of Wine Tasting and the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook by the famous blog-author huddled together several volumes of Kinfolk.
See, I said to the guy, anticipating my own triumph, it’s a magazine – it says Issue Ten.
No, he retorted, it’s Volume Ten.

I must confess – this was the first time I ever held Kinfolk in my hands. It cost four times more than any other magazine and still I bought it. Because, sigh, Kinfolk is not a magazine.

I think magazines exist so that people like me can never feel good about themselves. There is always someone better than us out there, someone smarter, prettier, younger and better dressed. Someone with perfect hair, who spends way more time in the gym and is invited to cooler parties. And there is fashion! By the time I finish the latest issue the wind would have changed and even if I find a perfect canary knee-length skirt, chances are I will look in it like a “sac à patates” (you can google this useful french expression). Magazines are, to be perfectly honest, about running after and catching up and filling our lives with a million things that don’t really matter.

Now, Kinfolk is different. It is very un-bright, totally un-glossy, rather un-photoshoped, void of anti-aging serum ads and instantly recognisable faces. No trends, but traditions, no fashion, but keepsakes, no news, no gossip, no diets, no must-haves. If you’re an ordinary person, like me, Kinfolk will do to your soul what Yoga does to your body. It will make you slow down, breath out, breath in again and feel hundred times better. Kinfolk is about celebrating who we are in our beautiful ordinariness.

This winter I am living my ordinary life to perfection. I am looking for stories to share, memories to keep and things that matter. If like me you have fallen for Kinfolk’s beautiful, natural art of storytelling, you will love these magazines:

Life & Thyme
Culinary Storytelling

Life & Thyme is the tastiest, most inspiring reading I have had for months. All their stories are about food. They are about people, who grow it and people who cook it, about family traditions and innovation, about the way food transforms our lives and our communities. And these stories are told through clever interviews, personal narratives and beautiful photography.
This story about Almond Milk LA is my favourite.

Almond Milk - Life & Thyme

We know intellectually that when you push hard for things, you’re not using the right energy to generate what you desire. When you let things happen naturally, they come into your life. There was still exhaustion and anxiety, but there wasn’t an initial fear that held us back. Instead, we allowed space for magic to happen.

(c) Life & Thyme, article by Nicole Gulotta

Darling Magazine
The art of being a woman

Although I am not at all into women’s magazines and Darling is allegedly a different type of women’s magazine, I do enjoy reading it and following its Instagram account. Sometimes it annoys me with its slightly mentoring tone and numerous “how to”s, but its short articles can be so very surprising and poignant and beautifully honest.

Darling magazine

In day-to-day life, taking up space begins with believing your thoughts, opinions, and desires are valid. They are just as valid as those of the person you bumped into on the bus or the person trying to grab the same vegetable at the market. They are just as valid as those of your co-worker, your friend, your neighbor, and, yes, even your boss.

(c) Darling Magazine, article by Kim Fortson, image via Mackenzie Rouse

Cereal Magazine
n Pursuit of Food and Travel

Cereal is an eye-candy. It mostly tells of places I will never go and foods I will never try, but its stunning imagery and laconic storytelling style stir something in my soul. They wake some kind of longing. I am a very down to earth person, who prefers looking for sparks of magic in everyday mundanity, yet Cereal makes me think that there are greater landscapes, interiors, people, experiences. Pure poetry.

Cereal mag

 In this fleeting early morning period, the shoreline is transformed. What is for the most part of the day a dark body of frothy water suddenly turns into a landscape made up of sandy fields mottled by sea worms, swathes of seaweed, and great slabs of ancient rock that gleam in the morning light like the humps of the area’s indigenous Minke Whales. 

(c) Cereal magazine article, text and photo by Robbie Lawrence

And finally, here is a beautiful Instagram gallery I’ve been really enjoying this month. Mornings Like These is a community founded and curated by Joy Elizabeth Jaynes and dedicated to the celebration of joyful, romantic, epic, sweet, wanderous and mindful mornings.

morningslikethese instagram

Now I am curious, what do you think of Kinfolk?

9 thoughts on
“Kinfolk and the art of storytelling”

  1. Polina says:

    What a beautiful post! Thank you very much. It arouse desire to touch this magazines, feel their in your hands, smell. And your style was so similar to the context. I visited Kinfolk page – it was like time just stop. Wonderful! I do not like to read from computer but I think I will subscribe to one of this sources…

    • Thank you, Polina! They do feel wonderful and I totally understand you – the digital version is good, but nowhere close to the real experience. I do hope I gave you some good reading tips – there is never too much good reading!

      • Polina says:

        “there is never too much good reading!” – yes, yes, yes and another yes:)

  2. The trends that Kinfolk promotes (or should I use the verb in the plural?) really speak to me. But one thing bothers me about it all: they’re TRENDS after all, and a trend has a great risk of becoming plain-est mainstream sooner or later. You see, to my mind it’s what befell ‘Seasons of Life’ over time. Gosh, it even resembled ‘Tatler’ or suchlike glamour-stuffed monstrosities to me, ’cause what I saw there was waaaaay better – unattainably better than whatever I had in the past or at that moment or was going to ever have. Well, not to be so drastic in conclusions about the latter… but ‘Seasons’ practically didn’t tell about any ‘simple joys’ – or those simple joys were relished somewhere on a villa in Italy, and the implication was ‘simple joys taste better when you have a purse the size of an aerostat’.
    If Kinfolk is not like that, I’d willingly give my money for a volume or two 🙂 You say it’s good and wholesome – that makes me consider finding it.
    And thanks a bunch for what you do. You are truly inspiring and so soulfully sincere. Here at Fairies&Co, my heart feels at home *)

  3. Sorry, got a bit carried away. What I meant about good trends becoming mainstream is: lately I’ve seen plenty of Kinfolk-style photos around, and keep seeing more and more. Yet many of these look… a bit on the phony side. For the authors of these, Kinfolk lifestyle is just the latest fashion trend which they feel they must grasp and thus promote themselves. It’s all too natural of course, but nonetheless frustrating when looking for a Kinfolk-style ‘breathing room’ you bump into photos which are neither epic nor mindful nor pleasant in any way – just a bunch of cliches.
    It’s quite like the state of things in ‘designer jewelry’ – many artists make breathtakingly beautiful earrings and necklaces and bracelets, but hordes of wannabes are just right there with their ‘masterpieces’ made of piece of cord and nickel-and-dime metal beads and charms you’ll find at any sewing shop… I’d just hate it if Kinfolk spirit becomes trite likewise.

    • Please, don’t apologize! I totally loved your comments and found them very just and thoughtful. (Not to mention how flattering it is to have my text read in such mindful manner:)
      I do understand what you are saying about Kinfolk trend and of course there are many, too many imitators out there. There always were, there always will be. Few people have truly original ideas and, maybe, even fewer people have their own voice. On the other hand (and I always feel sorry admitting this fact) few people have a discerning eye to tell the original from imitation and fewer people care. As long as the imitation costs 5$ less, they will go for it.
      Of course, there is a danger that after some time Kinfolk will turn into a copy of itself and of course, it has already turned into luxury commodity (hence my initial skepticism). But let’s admit, some ideas become trends because they are so very good that they actually deserve to be famous. And Kinfolk’s storytelling is amazingly good, at least to my taste.

  4. Almond Milk LA story is my favorite too:)
    thanks for sharing this awesome instagram gallery! I love the idea

    • It does inspire, doesn’t it?! I mean, all of it. People having ideas, making things, doing things, loving what they do. It gives me courage.

      • That’s my everyday oxygen. I’m not kidding! Take these blogs, magazines and instagrams away for a week and you will see I’ll pined away

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