Mirror, mirror on the wall
What's the FAIREst mag of them all?
Well, there's a few, but this beautifully crafted mag about unique and incredible artistry and craftsmanship is definitely up there. FAIRE was created by Ruth Ribeaucourt in 2020. It's now 3 years old and on its 8th issue. We get so excited when a new issue arrives and we were thrilled to bits to share issue 8 with our Free Range Mags subscribers. In fact, this was just the type of mag we had in mind when we were planning our 'Creative Spark' themed subscription.
When we were writing our tasting notes for Free Range, we met Ruth on Zoom and it was just like stepping into a page from the magazine, with 17th and 18th century French textiles piled onto the dresser behind her. Ruth's passion for craftspeople, indie mags and print is infectious and she kindly took some time out from sourcing antique textiles, commissioning features and school holidays to tell us all about the mag and how it came to be.
Hope you enjoy!
Issue one was published on 4 April 2021 - the idea for FAIREwas first launched publicly via a Kickstarter campaign. I made the decision to crowdfund issue one - mostly because I had lost all of my creative businesses in 2020 due to COVID19 and I did not want to take on this huge financial risk...I also wasn't quite sure if this was the right time to launch a new print publication - with a global pandemic raging and so many normal outlets for specialist magazines closed or in lockdown. So I told myself that I would only do it if I got the Kickstarter goal.
We surpassed our goal on day four which was incredible and allowed me to concentrate on the never-ending list of things one has to do to create and sell an indie magazine.
I've been a photographer and writer for magazines in the craft, handmade and artisanal world for a few years and in 2019, I was invited to create and guest-edit a special issue of What Women Create. I took this opportunity to create an issue which explored the theme of healing through creativity and stories of creatives who had learned to slow down, move away from big cities and step off the productivity hamster-wheel. I had never thought about making my own magazine before that moment and bringing these stories together was incredibly fun and felt absolutely natural to me.
I spent the first decade of my career as an international marketing director, publicist and talent handler for Walt Disney Studios in Dublin, Ireland, but in 2010, after the birth of my first son I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition and we made the decision to step off the career ladder for a while, slow down, figure out the next steps for my health situation and moved to Provence, France.
In the last 13 years, I have dipped my fingers into many different creative mediums including launching my jewellery line in 2010, creating pieces using antique textiles and found objects, which I sold in boutiques in Europe, Japan and North America. I also (still to this day) work as an antique textile sourcer and work with private clients and big brand clients across the world (e.g. Bode, Isabel Marant, Alexander McQueen, Zimmerman, Rodarte, Love Shack Fancy).
About 8 years ago I picked up my camera and started shooting for personal pleasure - as my network of contacts grew, I was commissioned to photograph and write stories of creatives all across Europe for magazine publications like Where Women Create, What Women Create, My French Country Home, and Quilt Mania and book publishers, Hardie Grant UK (2023), Editions de La Martinière (2023), Éditions Eyrolles (2022) and Simon & Schuster (2021). My first book ‘A Year in the French Style’ will be published in October 2023.
From the beginning I only wanted FAIRE to be a printed publication. I feel that we spend so much time already scrolling and ping ponging from apps and devices - it’s just too easy to not be fully present. I really want FAIRE to be something physical, where we put all our silly devices down for 30 minutes, we pour ourselves a cup of coffee and just let ourselves pause. FAIRE is not just disposable, instantly forgettable ‘content’ - our stories are thoughtful and compelling.
I was just saying to our art director Maggy Villaroel that no-one imagines the energy and time and work it takes to create just one issue. It is colossal, mind-bending frankly but when you can hold something in your hands, it is a tangible manifestation of so much immense creativity from the artists and craftspeople featured, their photographers, our small female-led team of editors and designers… Print is magical and endures.
Also, when we talk about print, we have to talk about the quality of the print and paper. Exceptional visual storytelling is one of the key elements of FAIRE, our photographers are world-class, and they have submitted truly beautiful photography so it was really important to us to create a publication that looks great and feels significant - the antithesis of a throwaway weekly. For this reason we were thrilled to find PurePrint in the UK which is 100% carbon neutral and ensures FAIRE is printed on FSC certified paper, using non toxic vegetable inks and their entire facility is powered off green energy.