It’s that time of year again when Flow Magazine for Paper Lovers is released. I wrote about this magazine in a previous post, describing it as a magazine that feels like home. At that time, I pointed out you can buy the magazine at your local bookstore, but when the next issue arrived around six months ago, lo and behold! I had to order it directly from the publisher in the Netherlands. It was worth every bit of the approximate $23 (€16,90) price tag, however. I am unsure whether you can still get Issue No. 3, but here is a glimpse. And if you missed the first edition, you can get the interactive preview via iPad app HERE or Android app HERE.

One of my favorite pieces in Issue No. 3 of Flow is a retrospective piece about fountain pens called “Fountain of Love.” When we moved to our current home nine years ago, I misplaced a fountain pen that used to belong to my mother when she was of school age, likely when she apprenticed as a portrait photographer as a German teenager during World War II.

I don't have many photos of my mother. In this passport photo, she was probably in her late 30s or early 40s. My siblings tell me that I look most like her.
I don’t have many photos of my mother. In this passport photo, she was probably in her late 30s or early 40s. My siblings tell me that I look most like her.

When I find my mother’s pen again, I will store it carefully with the bottle of fountain ink shown below that goes back to the early days of commercial flights, when airlines presented passengers with gifts. This bottle of fountain ink is from Lufthansa Airlines, probably from the early 1960s. I can recall visiting Germany with my mother when I was in kindergarten. Lufthansa gave me a hard cover children’s book called Magic Mirror that I passed on to our son. The article in Flow magazine, while interesting, became doubly so because it released a flood of memories.

Fountain ink

Also included in every issue of Flow are some little paper gifts. The envelope shown below is almost too pretty to use, says my husband. I have a very special friend in mind who will receive it, however, filled with a little surprise or two. While I love the ease of communication that is possible with emails and via Facebook or Google chat, there is nothing as wonderful as receiving a real letter that you can finger and read over and over again. My husband showed me a box of letters recently that I wrote him while we were still dating and attended colleges 90 miles apart from each other.

The illustrator for this envelope is Celinda Versluis, who paints porcelain with lovely ladies like the one shown above.
The illustrator for this envelope is Celinda Versluis, who paints porcelain with lovely ladies like the one shown above.

The magazine also included two little sticky note pads illustrated by UK artist Ruby Taylor, who has collaborated with Flow to create illustrations for the Dutch version of the magazine, one of the publisher’s books, and a pullout museum guide poster. “My aunt is an artist,” says Ruby as she explains her love of illustration since she was a child, “and whenever I visited her, she would keep me out of trouble with creative tasks and drawing.”

Sticky notes

I also enjoyed a reflective essay written by Alain de Botton, “In Praise of an Ordinary Life,” that discusses the author’s belief that we complicate our lives with unrealistically optimistic expectations, wanting more and more, when we should instead concentrate on accepting our limitations and trying to do what we really want to do, deep inside ourselves. Alain suggests that instead of believing what media suggests, that we can do whatever we set our minds to do, we should develop the capacity to fail and “do things the wrong way, to not get what you want but survive anyway. Many of us,” she says, “are quite vulnerable, and knowing that you can survive is a crucial life lesson. Resilience is largely about accepting that even if everything goes wrong, it’s still okay.”

Almost a companion piece is another essay written by Caroline Buijs titled “The Art of Vulnerability,” where the writer suggests that to be happy, you need to share with others that you trust where your weaknesses lie. Caroline describes a Ted Talk given by American scientist Brené Brown, where she says that feeling connected is a primeval need, and that people’s lives are richer when they can make social connections. Being able to be completely honest with people when you are feeling most vulnerable is critical. “Vulnerability,” concludes the writer of the Flow essay, “is the glue that holds relationships together.”

In addition to thoughtful pieces such as the ones I have described, Flow includes “fluffier” articles such as “Saw You On the Train,” which is about New York artist Sophie Blackall’s drawings about romantic classifieds you can find in newspapers, magazines and Websites, and another piece called “Web Shopping” that presents a plethora of interesting online sites where you can buy cloth shopping bags, whimsical yarn creations, and book-themed gifts—all handmade.

I just ordered Issue No. 4, but until I receive it, I will have to be satisfied with the preview below. Did you know that you can view abbreviated or full versions of many magazines, not just Flow Magazine for Paper Lovers, through the site?

How can you get your own issue? Just visit the publisher’s Web site, and order:

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Flow Magazine for Paper Lovers . . . just in time for Valentine’s Day”

  1. I hope you find the fountain pen, but the ink bottle is a treasure in itself. I love it when special magazines provide a creative nudge.

  2. Paige @ Little Nostalgia

    I remember the last time you wrote about this! It sounds like such a great magazine, I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. Issue #2 is listed on Amazon, but it’s out of stock. Maybe I’ll decide to splurge when the next one comes out. 🙂

  3. Wow! It’s amazing what airlines used to do. Even when Iw as a kid in the 80s I’d get coloring books and stuff like that. The magazine sounds really cool – I’ve never personally seen an issue!

  4. You do look a lot like your mother…what a great photo 🙂
    And I love the hand drawn envelope…my favorite part is the small birds on the flap 🙂

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