“Illustrators often see it more as an object, as an art piece.” Felix Wilson is at home in Aberdeenshire, donning his signature glasses and a white T-shirt. He’s talking about Crumble Magazine, which he represents as editor-in-chief. Of the many things that makes Crumble unique, it is its appearance that stands out the most when you first get your hands on it.
It is produced in a Leith print shop using a two-colour technique and, as Felix puts it, the whole economy of the magazine can be locked down within Edinburgh, within just a few miles. Only 500 copies of each issue are printed, and even so, it takes about a month to do.
The current issue, number 5 titled Moment, Movement was published in September. How have the meanings of these two words inevitably changed since last year? The theme of the issue came about a year ago, when the climate change movement was the main issue on people’s minds. Early on there were discussions about collectivity and action, which merged and absorbed the thoughts of contributors in a ‘big meeting’. The most exciting time according to Felix is when the theme of the issue of a new issue being discussed, his job being to listen for every possible perspective.
The Crumble team found themselves in a rare position this spring, realising they could have worked for several more months on the new issue; it was finalised for printing in March. As Felix puts it, Moment, Movement “has nothing to do with Covid.” Reading the magazine is an act of Covid unlearning, of relating issues which were once at the forefront to the pressing matters of today.
A strength of Crumble, and not just this issue, is that it transcends current affairs in its scope, it deals with matters on a spectrum of abstraction in a way that most everyone can find a connection.
In non-pandemic times the magazine is published biannually which means that the life span of each issue is extended, it gains a life of its own after publication by default. The magazine can be read chronologically in one sitting or in bits and pieces, over the span of several months.
It is inspiration, art, a thought piece, a passive read or all of the above. “Perhaps we can see the magazine as finding a median between the many,” writes former editor-in-chief Holly Baker in the introduction to issue no. 4, Are We Sitting Comfortably? and ultimately it is this which will make the new issue feel as relevant as ever, despite its disconnectivity with today’s world.
All of this is not to say that the momentum of 2020 has gone wasted on the Crumble team. They have been active in engaging with the university and architecture community on issues relating to the Black Lives Matter movement among others, taking the opportunity to reflect through meaningful conversations outwith the printed magazine medium.
Having an independent outlet for these discussions is of importance to Felix, since the university as an institution leaves much to be desired on matters of urgency, and over summer he felt this frustration as a general “discontent with the university”.
“Architecture can sometimes be quite introverted when it encounters its response to surroundings. I think it can struggle to express itself and, in turn, to keep up with current issues,” says Felix about the way Crumble attempts to orientate itself in an architectural environment.
He has found himself sometimes worrying about too many issues, and is trying to reconcile the limitations of being an individual with the vastness of ideas to consider.
He concludes, “perhaps, the only role you need to play is to help create discussion.” Crumble Issue #6 Rules of Play is taking submission up until early January 2021 and Moment, Movement can be picked up online at www.crumblemag.com/shop or in various physical locations in the UK. In Edinburgh these are: Portobello Bookshop, Golden Hare Books, Summerhall and the RIAS Bookshop.
Image: Felix Wilson