“The idea behind Salt is to add flavor to people’s lives. It can’t be too little or too much. Sometimes my friends ask, why do you persist, when it’s so tough to put out this magazine? I can’t really explain why. People say if you really want do something, you have to just make it happen. I guess that just about sums it up.”
– Songbing, designer / Co-founder and editor-in-chief of Salt
—— 松饼，设计师 /《盐巴》创刊人之一、主编
It all began with a simple idea: Songbing and Juzi, whose nicknames mean “muffin” and “tangerine,” wanted to publish their own magazine. The two women didn’t worry much about the business side of it and went ahead and launched Salt. It’s about finding joy in the simple things. With a friendly, intimate tone, it offers readers reflections on lifestyles and thoughts for how to live.
Busy city dwellers can open Salt and find a moment of respite, with practical tips and artisanal techniques – the little things in life that are the most important. It showcases products, but its real focus is on the creators who make them.
Following the positive reception of their 2011 inaugural issue, “An Ambiguous Life,” they released a series of issues centered around a narrow theme. So far, they’ve covered natural dyes, botany, needlework, printmaking, and with their latest release, hand-woven textiles. The writing is like the scent of grass after a fresh rain: it’s earthy and simple and lingers in your mind.
自 2011 年创刊号“生活分不清”之后，“草木染”、“种植”、“针线活”和“版画”的主题也接踵而来，一期一个主题，在这些生活甚至市井的主题下，每个文字都透露着雨后青草香气的清新，扑鼻而来，质朴却留痕。
Honestly, cultivating your own individual habits isn’t easy. Salt seeps through the cracks in your life, and becomes that little bit of flavor you can’t give up.
Independent magazines are often considered niche publications that cover obscure, non-mainstream topics. Through the medium of paper, they’re a vehicle of self-expression. But how does Songbing define indie magazines?
“Independent magazines are just a different method of expression,” she says, drawing on her years of experience as an independent publisher. “Just because someone creates a magazine or decides on its content by themselves doesn’t make it independent. If they have something to say, and if their understanding of what’s true, what’s right, and what’s beautiful is untainted by commercialism, they’ll be discovered by more people.”
Unlike many other independent magazines, which are a collective endeavor, Salt is often written entirely by Songbing. “A lot of my friends would ask if the magazine was still active. I’d joke and say, ‘Yeah, but it’s an annual publication now.’ I’m an optimist and can laugh at myself. It helps me endure the stress and loneliness.”
What’s kept Songbing going are her devoted readers. But an abrupt two-year hiatus had many of them asking, “Did she give up? Did she get sick of it?” To these questions Songbing replies:
“As your worldview changes, so do the topics that interest you. You can’t stay in the same place you started from. I don’t want to be repetitive. I want to start again and introduce a new Salt to the world. So after the two-year break, Salt’s relaunch marks the beginning of a new chapter for the magazine. The new narrative-driven approach makes every story that much more immersive . . . The willingness to experiment and overcome new challenges is the essence of life. I believe that good things come to those who persevere, and this belief has led to many surprises and delights along the way.”
Fitting to the name, Salt adds a certain piquancy to the blandness of everyday life. It’s a jolt of savoriness that helps bring out the complex flavors of life. There’s not too little and not too much. It feels just right.
The sixth issue of Salt is now available on the Neocha Shop in limited supply.
- Year of Publication: 2017
- Number of Pages: 196
- Dimensions: 18.5 cm x 25 cm
- Price: 24 USD
- 尺寸： 18.5 x 25 厘米
- 价格：150 RMB
Additional Recommendations from Salt’s Editor-in-Chief
“I’m actually not that in tune with indie magazine in other parts of Asia. But within China, I’d recommend LOST, Be Water Journal, and Chengdu’s Keyi. Especially Keyi – the design of every issue is so creative. And if Seeds hadn’t folded, it’d be one to follow.”