Digging deep and thriving for 30 years

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Last month, I tried to wax poetic about my preference for looking forward rather than backwards. Turns out that’s a ridiculous notion for a magazine editor in an anniversary year.

I’ve been digging through piles of past issues to select some of our most memorable stories for a new “From the Archives” section, which debuts on Page 10, part of our celebration of 30 years in publishing. The first choice was fairly easy: a 2005 feature on Sam Maloof. Picking the next 10 or 11 will literally require more digging because some of our past issues are buried in storage.

I’ve got a decent memory and a searchable database on most everything published since 1997. Longtime subscribers will have to help me with earlier articles.

There are some news stories that stand out, none more so than our early coverage of The Furniture Society. The studio furniture group was formed in 1997 and we reported on the first conference held in Purchase, N.Y. I attended the first 10 conferences, which bounced around North America from Toronto to San Francisco. There were a lot of good times as you might expect when a bunch of woodworkers emerge from the confines of their shops. But there was also a lot of knowledge to soak up during these multiday events filled with panel discussions and business advice from the leaders in the field. I always left with a full notebook and filed some of the longest stories on my career. One of those stories will be remembered in an upcoming issue.

The Furniture Society is still going strong and has its 2016 conference scheduled for June 23-25 in Philadelphia. The theme is “Craft/Facturing: An evolution of makers and entrepreneurship.” The conference, co-hosted by the University of the Arts and The Center for Wood in Art, will blend artist presentations with panel discussions on contemporary topics relevant to the studio furniture community and the conference theme.

I haven’t been in several years, but my recent trips down memory lane remind me how valuable these conferences are from an educational and networking perspective.

Mergers and acquisitions

There have been a couple of recent woodworking-related publishing deals worthy of note.

Our parent company, Active Interest Media, acquired August Home Publishing Co. in October. Founded by Don Peschke and based in Des Moines, Iowa, August Home is a multimedia company that publishes Woodsmith magazine and produces the PBS-distributed show “Woodsmith Shop.” It has also category-leading titles in gardening and cooking.

“Don and his team in Des Moines have built a phenomenal company by developing extensive expertise in monetizing content through multiple print and digital channels, while surrounding their customers with service,” AIM president and CEO Andy Clurman said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have August Home’s creativity, skills and audience as part of AIM.”

August Home becomes a sixth division at AIM, called Creative Home Arts. Other divisions include Marine, Healthy Living, Outdoor, Home, and Equine.

In December, Vance Publishing split it assets three ways, with CCI Media acquiring the Woodworking Network and related events. CCI Media publishes FDMC magazine.

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue.

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