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Merch & Zine Colab - Caught by the River

Merch & Zine Colab - Caught by the River

Caught by the River is an on and offline publication, conceived as a meeting place for pursuits of a distinctly non-digital variety — walking, fishing, looking, thinking, birdsong and beer, adventure and poetry; analogue wonders & life’s small pleasures. An offshoot of the legendary Heavenly Recordings, CBTR also runs the Rivertones record label — they’re a particularly creative bunch of humans and polymaths which is why we’ve teamed up with them this season on 'zines and garments. Folk have guest-edited the latest edition of their archive fanzine, which includes beautiful words and pictures aplenty. Plus, we’ve made a line of collab organic cotton tees, bags, hats and sweatshirts, featuring illustrations by Adam Higton that play with our shared ethos, as encapsulated by the motto ‘An Antidote to Indifference’. To get a sense of their daily goings on, we spoke to Diva, CBTR’s editor, about blow-your-socks off writing, fishing and the value of messy spaces.

Why do you think it's important that platforms like Caught by the River exist?

Platforms like ours are where you get raw, exciting new ideas because it’s all amazingly messy and made up — we try not to impose constraints on what we publish. It was pretty much a fishing blog when it started. But it’s grown into what we lovingly refer to as an arts/nature/culture clash. We’re really up for people being experimental with what they're making. Probably the most well-known example is Amy Liptrot, who’s a massively successful author now. Her first book, The Outrun, has just been adapted into a Hollywood film and for the stage. But the seeds of the book were sewn in a column on our site. It wasn't by any means its final form, but Amy used her column as a space to hash out ideas. I think it's so important to give people the space to play around before they go into a more formal environment.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

Sometimes people drop submissions into your lap that you couldn't have commissioned. It's just something they're trying out but it happens to be the best piece of writing that you’ve read in a really long time. Those are always my best days at work — when I get something that I could never have predicted that blows my socks off. And then I get really excited to share it with other people. The fact that writers choose to place their work with you is such a privilege — as is then facilitating the exchange between the writer and the readership; seeing a wider audience take it on and love it as much as you do.

How did the collaboration between you and Folk come about? Why do you think you're well- matched?

Well we’ve featured Jethro’s photographic work on the site before so we were already fans of what he did and he was a fan of what we did. And then Cathal expressed an interest in the doing-interesting-things-outdoors-together element of what we do so it grew from there. The word ‘understated’ is probably often applied to both Folk and Caught by the River and I think it’s good to make the distinction that that doesn't mean there isn’t a huge amount of thought and design behind the things we do. Understated doesn't mean things aren't beautifully cut. Or that they aren’t practical or gritty. Just because something is gentle, doesn't mean it's not subversive. 

The motto for your upcoming collab is An Antidote to Indifference - can you talk to me a bit about why this is important to you?

An Antidote to Indifference is a Caught by the River phrase that has been around for a long time. It’s probably been around for so long because it doesn't ever stop being true. We’re basically a big group of people that are really interested in being interested, and sharing those interests with other people who might find them interesting too; spreading the word about the latest book, record, walk, bird, or wildflower that’s lit up our brain. We’re trying to insert something into people's days that fights back against everyday monotony; that gets them thinking differently and caring about something they might not have before.

What’s coming up for Caught by the River? Any plans for the Spring?

Well, we're going to have a Mayday weekend event in Sussex. Also, Bill Drummond, who writes for our site (and is featured in the zine) —  he's got a tower in Northern Ireland that is an artist residency, and he invites a different person to curate it every year. Last year I filled it with Caught by the River writers and photographers. All the writing that’s happened in the tower over the year will get collated into a book which will be out later this year, which is exciting. And we’re always scheming, trying to think of new print projects and events we can put on. We’ll keep you posted on what comes next...

Thanks for taking the time to talk, Diva.

Find out more about Caught by the River

Shop the Collection 

Cover design -  Lily Weinbrand
Bluebells -  Georgina Cook
Sea Pool - Jason Orton
Illustrations by Adam Higton

A word from our Creative Director, Cathal McAteer: 

"Caught by the River's quest to provide 'an antidote to indifference' reflects much about how I try to approach life and why I started Folk some 24 years ago - the gentle persuasion of good times to all who enter our world, rather than angry rebellion or lazy imitation. So an invitation to piece together a kinda Greatest Hits from the rich Caught by the River archive, underpinned by this brilliant rationale - well, it's a privilege."