Dumbo Manifesto: “You can change the world by putting beautiful things in it.”
I first stumbled across Dumbo feather a few years ago at a café, where I ended up ordering lunch just so I could finish the one interview I was reading. What struck me then was the purity of the stories, people simply giving their vision of life, and art, with no cross-promotional purpose. Of course, I expected never to see it again.
But just like its Disney namesake who could fly with his feather, Friday night’s relaunch of issue #27 to a crowd of creatives in Melbourne’s Craft Victoria proved that sometimes all you need is a dream and a pen, and the rest falls into place.
Though Kate Bezar, Dumbo’s founder, has returned to her native New Zealand, new editor Patrick Pittman, along with publisher Berry Liberman, have taken the helm with as much passion as if Dumbo was their own baby.
Patrick Pittman repeated my own thoughts when he presented his newly designed magazine: “When I first saw Dumbo feather I thought, this won’t make it to issue two, but it’s good to see people having a go.”
Defying the odds, not only is Dumbo thriving, but it’s still embraced by people, said Patrick, “who share the same naïve belief as me that you can change things in this world by putting beautiful things in it.”
Now in its seventh year, Dumbo feather is a quarterly magazine which is simply about people telling their stories. Unadulterated by marketing or advertising concerns, the current issue has the usual (unusual) viewpoints; running a chocolate factory to visiting Brisbane after the floods, a young woman with a passion for old-school printing (she refers to current technologies as “sensually impoverished”).
A composer, a collector, a side to Shirley Temple you may not have ever known, a polyface farmer, a quirky stylist, the turban (deputy editor Jessica Friedmann gives great fashion essay!), and one renegade publisher (Ms Bezar herself) are just a handful more stories which will make you start looking around at the seemingly mundane with a new eye.
Settle in with a glass of wine, dip in and out, allow some of the words to settle. This isn’t a one-tram-ride filler. Dumbo feather is entrée, slow-cooked main course, and dessert.
Freelance journalist Louisa Deasey is the author of Love & Other U-Turns www.louisadeasey.com