Catherine Bretheim is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Hodgepodge, a celebratory ode to strong women that she independently designed and curated. Currently a graduate student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), Catherine cites long conversations at the base of the Cascade Mountains and her fascination with maps and movement, urban design and graphic arts, travel and technique with igniting the creative spark that launched her self-publishing career.
Finding Her Voice While Sharing The Voices Of Others
“I’ve always had a love for magazines and I wanted to showcase a hodgepodge of concepts, conversations, and contributions from my female friends that could live together under one cover,” Catherine said. So, after spending the summer sifting through topics with co-workers while laboring on the mountainsides of Washington state, Catherine began brainstorming contacts in her life that could fill her magazine with the cool content she envisioned on her flight home.
The Ultimate Selfie
While her end goal was clear, getting there wasn’t. “It was months of trial and error,” Catherine, the self-taught, self-publishing designer admitted. “I knew I had to pull together seemingly disparate themes on cities, the wilderness, feminism, movement, and curiosities into a publication that embraced the fascinating, challenging and beautiful phenomena in life but, my design experience was limited.”
After poring through magazines for inspiration, gathering articles and images that spoke to her and soliciting story ideas from her friends, Catherine said, “I started experimenting.” Drawn to handmade papers and textures, she began with the magazine’s cover. “I drew it in pen and then manipulated it in Photoshop to change up the colors,” she said. Happy with the result. Catherine went on to manipulate fonts and even marbled paper to use as distinguishable tabs for her dream periodical.
In the end, she said, “I wanted to create a piece that encouraged readers to slow down, to take it in, to enjoy the experience, to explore the publication cover to cover.”
With that focus in mind, Catherine not only opted for a size that was slightly smaller than the typical 8.5” X 11” magazine format but an aqueous soft touch coating for the cover. According to her, she “wanted there to be a tactile experience of holding the magazine that encourages the reader to take their time paging through the publication.” “ The outer coating,” she said, “feels soothing to the touch which I think promotes a sense of patience when reading it.” As for the interior pages, “I chose an 80# recycled stock for its rougher texture and environmental friendliness,” she continued. “The tooth of the paper supports all the hand-made craft within.”
From Disparate To Divine
“There wasn’t anything that didn’t live up to my expectations,“ Catherine continued. “When I first saw the finished magazine,” she said, “it was a little surreal. I’d stared at those pages that lived on the screen for so long and, then suddenly, there it is, in your hands. The vision of a magazine you had in August, that you really didn’t know if you could produce, is now sitting on your coffee table in April.”
“I love how the aqueous cover coating feels”, she said. “It’s exactly what I had envisioned. The black and white photos, particularly the “Wilderness” section header page with reversed-out type turned out beautifully. And I found the full-bleed paper marbling quite striking, especially having done the marbling process by hand, moving into a digital format, and then finally seeing it printed.”
“I can’t wait to push the boundaries in the next issue, Catherine mused. “Now that I know I can do it, I want to be more experimental with the type, look at paper choices that are more tactile and explore formats that are more interactive and immersive. Already,” she said, “I’ve started curating stories and images.”