Inspired by an old English phrase to describe a secret place of life lived away from the mainstream, Hole & Corner is a biannual publication about people who spend more time doing than talking.
Within its pages are stories celebrating and promoting craftmanship, creativity and heritage.
We caught up with founder and creative director Sam Walton to find out what ingredients make for a captivating tale and why he thinks nature provides so much inspiration for creativity.
I. You have interviewed some incredible makers & creators since you started publishing Hole & Corner back in 2013. Does one story or mission stand out?
It’s tough to choose just one as it’s been such a wonderful experience meeting so many dedicated, passionate and talented folk over the years.
For our very first edition we visited a lady called Ella Carstairs. Ella was running a straw museum in Norfolk. She was a wonderfully positive person and really encapsulated the sort of discoveries we wanted to make with Hole & Corner. Those living their lives away from the mainstream.
For a story that showcased the beauty of a traditional craft in an incredible setting, with an awe-inspiring subject, it would be hard to better the story of Felicity Irons of Rush Matters. Our photographer Alan Clarke joined Felicity during the reed harvest on a July day on the River Ouse, and the visuals were simply stunning.
In terms of my own personal experiences, I have been fortunate enough to travel to Japan and India to embark on epic tours of local artisans. But in terms of a mission, the Santa Fe Folk Art Market was an astonishing place to witness an amazing array of talent from across the globe. The hunger of 20,000 visitors for handmade products was life-affirming.
II. Why do you think nature provides so much inspiration for creativity?
It is just mind boggling looking into nature’s creations. This year has provided many of us with a moment to stop and appreciate this, and it is something we have been espousing since we launched the magazine. Take the time to enjoy the world around you.
We’ve published many stories that have a direct correlation back to nature and creativity. The Holden’s travelling exhibition on Nests was stunning; Sebastian Cox harnessing the power mushrooms to grow furniture, and wild swimmer Kari Furre who uses fish skin like latex to create stunning vessels which draw on her Norwegian heritage.
III. Storytelling seems integral to Hole & Corner. Tell us, in your opinion, what ingredients make for a captivating tale?
Many of my favourite stories have developed through conversations with friends who have grasped our interest and approach and have recommended someone or something that might be of interest. These are often off the radar; people who aren’t promoting themselves through social media or websites. Those discoveries are the ones I most cherish.
IV. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Read more and be more open to different perspectives.
V. Who would you most like to share a Seedlip cocktail with?
I quite fancy the idea of sitting on the terrace at the Colombe d’Or in Provence enjoying a drink, having a chat to Picasso.
VI. Finally, where is your favourite place to escape to?
We live in North Dorset. The immediate landscape around our village is stunning and provides the important moments of calm and inspiration required.
I’ve been a regular visitor to the Isles of Scilly, so if I was heading further away that’s a beautiful spot to escape it all.