For seven years Alina Cerminara wanted to start a magazine exploring the Gulf Island way of life and this week she held that magazine in her hands for the first time.
Cerminara, a Gabriola Island resident and former events manager for the Gabriola Arts Council, is the publisher of Folklife. She spent the last year putting together a team – art director Patrick Belanger, photographer Jenn Knight and editors Charles Hart and Margy Gilmour – and gathering content for the twice-yearly publication, aided by a successful Kickstarter campaign that exceeded its $16,000 goal by more than $1,000.
“It was so exciting, I’ve never made anything like this before…” Cerminara said. “To have something you can hold that you made that was just an idea is really exciting.”
Cerminara describes the magazine as “a passion project.” She was moved to create Folklife because she was inspired by the “unique and incredible way” people live on the islands and she wanted to document it.
“Overall the culture is very close to the earth and sustainable. Very creative. A lot of artists, a lot of interesting, beautiful ways of living,” she said.
As someone born outside of the province, that outlook on life made an impression on her.
“I’m from Calgary originally and I found the West Coast values are entirely different,” she said. “It’s really about quality of life … rather than just going to that nine-to-five job or anything like that. That’s not really the way of life here. People are really focused on what makes them content or happy or feel connected, which is in all of those small things.”
The theme for the first edition is “home,” and not just because COVID-19 is forcing people to spend more time there. Cerminara said “home” was a concept that came up in the interviews in the magazine, “whether that is creating a home or healing a home or finding a home.”
Some of the items in the “home” issue of Folklife include a photo essay on families living in “tiny homes” on Salt Spring Island, coverage of an intentional co-operative community on Denman Island and a story about a potter who lives a “very basic life” on Galiano Island.
“I’m a window watcher,” Cerminara said. “I don’t care if it sounds creepy but I love looking into people’s homes and seeing the way in which they’re living. So this is like a view into your home.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the rollout of Folklife. A launch event on Gabriola projected to draw up to 400 people was cancelled, fewer stores are able to offer the magazine and the print run has been reduced.
Cerminara said much of the content in the magazine is timeless and the release could have been postponed, but ultimately the Folklife team made the decision to proceed with publication.
“We really decided that this is something that people would love to have right now while they’re at home,” Cerminara said. “Something beautiful to read and look through and feel connected to one another from their homes.”
Folklife is available at www.folklifemag.ca.