Recently, I learned about Nuno magazine through an interview with its creators on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog. I contacted Elizabeth at Nuno to request a review copy to feature on my blog.
If you’re a Gen X child of the ’80s/’90s like me, you probably have fond memories of awesome ‘zines from your teen years and early ’20s (as well as even more awesome memories of how you got your hands on these underground mags). Nuno really evokes that DIY ‘zine feel – in a good way. It doesn’t at all feel or look “polished” like other craft e-magazine such as KnitCircus or Tangled. This doesn’t mean that the magazine isn’t professionally presented and amazing eye candy, though! Nuno is actually a real treat for the eyes and includes probably at least 60 full page color photographs in each issue that I’ve seen.
The cover of the current issue, Painted Dessert.
I would describe Nuno magazine as a self-contained art project with a collection of craft recipes included in its pages to inspire other artisans/readers. This is in contrast to what you may be used to seeing in other craft magazines, which are typically structured around editorial features (e.g., reviews, “how to” articles) and project/pattern directions. There is no advertising of any kind in Nuno, which adds to the art project feel. Each issue has a theme (e.g., Forest, Shades of Gray) and includes lush photographs and illustrations highlighting the theme. At various points, project pictures are injected. Patterns and instructions are at the end of the magazine.
A knitting project from the Summer 2011 issue.
Nuno is entirely produced by just three contributors, who do all the writing, photography, and project design. There is a clear emphasis on an eco-friendly lifestyle, with most projects made using upcycled or repurposed materials. This leads to a certain consistency since most magazines have many voices with contributions from multiple designers and authors and an editor. On the other hand, Nuno‘s project directions are rather informal and there doesn’t appear to be a style guide, so instructions are not always consistent from one issue to the next. In other words, the artistic vision is obvious and uniform throughout each issue, but the project instructions are more casual and varied than you might expect from a magazine.
The cover of the Fall, 2010 issue, Forest.
There is also quite a range of craft projects, including sewing, knitting, crochet, paper crafts, painting, stamping, papier-mache, etc., in each issue. At over 150 pages long, Nuno is quite a value for $5.
Wrist warmers from “reclaimed wool yarn” in the Forest issue.
So who would love Nuno magazine? If you find inspiration from natural photography and artwork, if you are concerned about your carbon footprint, if you are a fan of the indie ‘zine ethos, if you enjoy reading on your computer/tablet, if you are proficient in (or enjoy making things in) a few different crafts, and/or you are the type of person who never follows a pattern exactly but likes to see one to get your creative juices flowing, you will probably really enjoy Nuno. If you are a newbie and/or tend to follow patterns very exactly, you may find the instructions in Nuno a bit free flowing for your tastes. Also, if you are someone who must have a physical copy, you will probably not like Nuno. With over 150 pages of (mostly) full color, high resolution images, it would be impossible to print out cost efficiently at home.
If you are multi-craftual, I definitely recommend picking up a copy, especially if you are interested in that issue’s theme. Thanks to the folks at Nuno for providing me with access to review copies of their Summer, 2011 and Fall, 2010 issues!
Full disclosure: Free electronic review samples of this product were provided by Nuno. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. You can read my complete review disclosure here.