Have you ever thumbed through a magazine that made you feel as if you had just come home, and you could sit for hours, leafing through its pages? Well, that’s what I felt like recently when I picked up a copy of Flow magazine at my local bookstore.
Flow is a Dutch lifestyle magazine that was started five years ago in an attic in Haarlem, a small town outside Amsterdam. According to its cover, it is a magazine for paper lovers. In reality, it is much more than that, filled with pages of reflective articles about creativity, relationships, Zeitgeist (German for “spirit of the times”), quotations, beautiful illustrations, recipes, DIY projects, and much more. In spring the second international edition was released, but if you would like a taste of the first issue, released six months earlier, you can download an interactive version for free to your iPad by visiting iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/flow-magazine/id632643685?mt=8.
Flow was translated into English for the second international edition by Ragini Werner. “Can I tell you a secret?” she says. “I’d never heard of Flow before I was asked to do the English edition. But one look at the contents and I was hooked. I love the Flow philosophy, that upbeat mixture of creativity and practicality. There’s nothing wishy-washy about it.”
One of the features of Flow magazine that makes it special for me is the fact that you get little paper-based gifts with each issue. In the second international edition, for example, you get four beautiful papercuts, one of which is shown below, that you can use any way you’d like, as long as it’s for personal use. In fact, the magazine encourages its readers to use its artwork in exactly that fashion.
Each of the papercuts celebrates four themes that represent the philosophy of the magazine:
- Simplify your life
- Feel connected
- Live mindfully
- Spoil yourself
I certainly felt spoiled when I opened up the magazine and spotted this cute little “string of happy” that you can hang up in your creative space.
There are also a couple of window stickers in the current edition of Flow that were created from artwork found at the Rijksmuseum, one of northern Europe’s outstanding museums.
The Rijksmuseum offers a unique bonus to online visitors because it allows them to download any work of art from among 125,000 paintings and objects on the site. Flow encourages you to visit the Rijksstudio at http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio to sign up for a free studio account of your own. It’s easy to do; I signed up through my Facebook login by visiting the Rijksstudio link.
You are allowed to use these works of art any way you wish as long as it is for personal use only. What a treasure for art journalists!
Below is a film created by Dutch art director Christian Borstlap when the Rijksstudio first opened its doors. The film includes 211 pieces of art from the Rijkmuseum’s collection.
You can explore the art collection at https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/explore-the-collection from your computer, or you can download the Rijksstudio app to your iPad (as I did), which allows you to take guided or self-guided tours of the museum in English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Korean or Italian. Of course, for me it only makes sense to do so in English and German, since I speak those languages, or maybe in Dutch, since I understand enough to get by, at least in written form. As you look at the works of art, you can mark the illustrations that catch your eye and add them to your studio account.
Some other interesting articles in the second international issue of Flow include a reflective piece about using time meaningfully called “What Do You Give Yourself?” and a charming article about ordinary pencils and why they are so irresistible called “In Praise of the Pencil.”
Though I will have to convert the grams in a scrumptious-looking Rhubarb Crumble recipe to ounces, I am looking forward to trying to make this sweet treat.
Long after I have read the articles in Flow, I can see that its illustrations and quotations will find their way into my journaling life.
At this point I don’t know how often Flow will publish international editions. There was a period of six months between the first and second international issues. While I am waiting for the next issue to appear, I can certainly find additional inspiration by visiting Flow’s Pinterest page at http://pinterest.com/flowmagazine/ and by downloading free printables from its Web site at http://www.flowmagazine.com/downloads/. You can click on the image below to access the downloads page.
While Flow is not exactly inexpensive at $22.50 an issue at U.S. bookstores, it is well worth its price because of the enjoyment and creative inspiration you’ll get from this interesting periodical.
© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.