Feeeels is a magazine about feeling “fuzzy”

by Kitty Drake in May 2020
Art & design

Feeeels (four Es!) is all about touch. An arts magazine that concentrates on just one tactile adjective at a time, its very first issue is entitled, ‘Fuzzy’. Ridiculously specific themes are nothing new, in the magazine-making world. MacGuffin’s latest issue was all about desks; Ordinary’s was about tampons. Narrowing your focus in imaginative ways can provoke new ways of seeing: is a tampon ever just a tampon? Or is it a cake decoration? A mouse-tail? Feeeels explores the idea of ‘fuzziness’ in similarly unhinged ways. One short story, entitled ‘Woolly Monuments’, envisages an alternate reality, where all the major global landmarks are made out of wool: “some people are drawn to them, willing to travel great distances to stand beneath their massive scale or encase themselves in the soft, oversized — and oddly warm — fur”.

This magazine’s dream-like quality is rooted in the playfulness of its design. Every page is a delight: the text for Wooly Monuments is interrupted by bulbous, furry towers; a recipe for “chilled lotus seed dessert soup” is arranged in circular blobs, next to a random black-and-white collage of different sheep. There’s a chimerical, 3D-quality to some spreads: in one bizarre how-to-guide to shampooing a bee, for example (“add a tiny amount of soap to a vial of water in which the bee takes a bath”) the bees — photographed in quivering detail — buzz in and out of the text. The most beautiful feature of all is a series of photographs of Puerto Rico, after a hurricane. Every photograph is of greenery, and it is so thick and lush, looking feels like touching.

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The editor’s letter includes the subsection, “Why Fuzzy?”, that explains why the concept of ‘fuzziness’ is timely enough to warrant having a magazine themed around it. The reasoning here is, in itself, a little imprecise. Trump is referenced, for his loose way with facts. So is the textile industry, and the “illusory divisions” created by US national borders. These are interesting topics in and of themselves, but yoking them all together under the banner “fuzzy” feels like a stretch. But then again, when the content is this great, who cares?

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