A Letter from the Editor: Issue 1 January/February 2017

 In Culture, Feature

January is always a treasured time of year in our offices. My Capricorn soul loves a fresh start and a list of goals. With a new year comes rejuvenation and a look inward, but also present as the calendar changes is the mounting pressure to reinvent ourselves. It could be argued that the cleverest among us recognize life as a series of turns, instead of a constant uphill trudge. I’ve always admired those who buck January resolutions and instead commit to a constant journey of self-discovery, embracing the magic of an open existence and often returning to their roots for grounding. In this issue, we present a group of worldly minds that draw on life’s experiences and present diverse perspectives in their work, with a unique twist that can only be present in those living and working in the Middle of America.

We sat down with Muhammad “Mvstermind” Austin, a hip-hop artist in St. Louis who has toured the country and made a commitment to fill his songs with lyrics speaking directly to his peers in the heartland. In his recent release, “Cusp,” he addresses school desegregation programs, blackness in the Midwest and counting your blessings (page 20). Chicago native Abby St. Claire was eager to riff on the state of creativity in America, and how she has crafted an artistic aesthetic that birthed two publications and more than 10,000 Instagram followers (page 24).

Three female luminaries from different backgrounds invited us into their worlds to feed off their creative energy. Artist, entrepreneur and political firecracker Kate Greer splits her time between New York, San Francisco and Iowa, where we met up with her to explore her hometown and recent projects ranging from a homegrown popcorn company to a five-woman artist collective. #GirlBoss isn’t enough to capture her many facets (page 16). We then ventured to Minneapolis where executive pastry chef Diane Yang of Spoon and Stable shared her table with us, as well as a couple of recipes that present the simplicity and comfort of winter desserts in an artistic, mouthwatering light (page 26).

A value ever-present in America’s heartland is the commitment to craftsmanship. In our feature stories this issue, we visited two wonderfully different personalities both dedicated to creating meticulously-designed goods that last. Allison Gettings of Red Wing, Minnesota, is the director of product creation for the Heritage line of Red Wing Shoes. She’s helped create products that share her family’s global brand with men and women all over the country, from northern-American farmers to fashion-forward Brooklynites (page 42).

Next, we met woodworker and artist Dave Stine in the small town of Dow, Illinois. Coupled with his intriguing personality and artistic prowess, Stine won our hearts with his commitment to family, his homestead and the often grueling process of his craft (page 62). If you’re like us, you’re on the hunt this time of year for inspiration and an invitation to take a stab at something fresh and new. Let this issue be the catalyst that spurs a creative and productive year of original ideas.

Love, Rachel Brandt


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