Telum Talks To... Natalia Garcia, Founder / Editor, kindling & sage

Telum Talks To... Natalia Garcia, Founder / Editor, kindling & sage

Tell us about kindling & sage and what inspired you to launch it.
kindling & sage is a digital and print magazine, created by and for People of Colour. We're building a feisty community where we learn from each other and ignite our individual and collective fire.

I started kindling & sage at a moment of deep uncertainty. I had been made redundant early in my pregnancy and that had a massive impact on my career and outlook. Not long after my child was born, the horrible bushfires of 2019 - 2020 occurred, and then the pandemic began. Through all the uncertainty and change, things suddenly came into focus and I knew I wanted to do something different, purposeful. 

I had written an article about being made redundant while pregnant and the response to it was life-changing. The ability to hold space and build a community of solidarity and support with other women who had lived through similar issues gave me hope and inspired me. I wanted to build a platform where we could tell our stories; to hold space, but also to create a spark that inspired change - whether in ourselves or more broadly. 
What is the meaning behind the name kindling & sage?
kindling & sage is inspired by the idea of a gathering; to tell stories, hold space, and inspire each other. Kindling is what we use to build fires and that’s what our stories are about - firing each other up and creating sparks. Our words won’t leave you indifferent. And sage is about acknowledging the wisdom within our communities; the different types of knowledge we hold. 
Your first two editions have had powerful artwork on the front cover, can you tell us about the artists?
The cover of Edition 1: Identity was created by Karen Bravo, a multi-disciplinary Afro-Colombian artist living in Naarm / Melbourne. She creates beautiful, feminine pieces that are self-exploratory and inspired by Black women - their hair, bodies, and styles and the ways they express themselves through dance, music, and spirituality. Karen created a striking illustration that reflected a diverse group of women of colour. It was perfect for our first issue which really focused on diversity, representation, and identity. 

Issue 2: Artistry is an exploration of creativity and activism. We talk to artists, creators, and entrepreneurs about how they affect change through their creative outlets, which aligns perfectly with Emma Ismawi’s cover illustration. Entitled "Artivism", it’s a dynamic, vibrant piece that reflects a broad range of activists at work. Emma is a Sarawakian / Australian artist and educator based in Naarm / Melbourne, who works to empower marginalised communities.
Both artists created unique, vibrant, and powerful pieces that really reflect the incredible and diverse talent within our communities.
What is the most impactful story you’ve covered so far?
It might be a bit of a cliché to say this, but I don’t think I can choose. There have been more than 60 contributors across both issues, and each has an incredible voice and story. That really speaks to the core of our purpose, which is to amplify the many diverse voices within our communities of colour, while also elevating more voices to the forefront. When we talk about representation, we know that only about 3 per cent of people in media are People of Colour. This means that a broad range of views and experiences we hold are left untold, unheard, unseen. It also burdens a select few with being representatives of whole communities, which is both unfair and unrealistic. That’s why we work with both people who have an existing platform and others who have never been published before. We all have something to say, and we all have a voice.
How is your publication different from mainstream media?
It’s pretty much the opposite of mainstream media. Our magazine feels more like a handcrafted piece of media. We put a lot of care and love into creating a magazine that’s unlike anything I’ve read before - from selecting interviewees and articles to packaging and posting everything out to our readers. Community is at the heart of everything we do, and we want to make sure that our communities feel seen, heard, and reflected. 

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