Cutting Edge

Kaelyn Bowers

StoneCutters, the upper school literary and visual arts magazine, won a gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for their 2016-2017 issue.

The magazine received its highest scores for its reader-friendliness and visual content.

“The art and photos are presented well and show creativity,” the judge said. “The subjects are not trite but instead sophisticated.”

Former literary editor Liz Kim ’17 said she, arts editor Talia Ratnavale ’17 and digital editor Jenny Lange ’17, wanted to maintain a similar design to previous issues while still making the magazine stand out among other publications.

“Our main goal, as usual, was to exhibit the best of students’ art and writing in an aesthetically pleasing way, and because we really liked the previous year’s layout, we kept a lot of aspects of the magazine the same,” Kim said.

Lange said her favorite part about working on the issue was the weekend in which the editors reviewed the anonymous pieces of work and paired the literary pieces with visuals to create an overall theme.

“In laying out the magazine, we definitely tried to pair the art alongside literary pieces on a full spread that evoked the same emotional response when read or seen,” Lange said. “In that way the coherency of the magazine is upheld and no image or literary piece feels out of place.”

CSPA has been evaluating student publications since 1925. A single judge evaluates each publication and critiques the students work based on essentials deemed necessary for reader-friendliness, verbal elements and the visual content of the magazine.

One of the contributors to StoneCutters, Emma Poveda ’20, with her poem titled “bath,” said she felt rewarded when she heard her work had been chosen.

“I had just finished reading ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath, and its overall tone and attitude inspired me to write a poem encapsulating that self reflective and almost nostalgic style,” Poveda said.

Poveda said she wants to submit to this year’s issue as well.

“I hope to write something longer and more extensive; something that is able to express a larger message,” Poveda said.

Upper School Visual Arts Department Head and magazine adviser Cheri Gaulke said the magazine strives to celebrate excellence and innovation.

“I love the eclectic nature of our work,” Gaulke said. “We have such a wide range of artistic expressions from drawing and painting, to clay and glass, to quirky illustrations and mixed media. We prefer to not limit or steer our students in a particular direction. We see our publication as a showcase for the best literary and visual art produced at our school.”

The judge advised the publication to include more variation in their styles of poetry and more inter-character interactions.
This year’s editors Iman Akram ’18 and Sarah Conway ’18 are currently working on this year’s issue and encourage all upper school students to submit anonymous work to the magazine.

Because this is one of the StoneCutter’s first awards, Gaulke hopes the magazine will continue to improve and place well in competitions for many years to come.

“Since we are fairly new at submitting to contests we haven’t been that aware of certain publication standards,” Gaulke said. “This year we are going to look very carefully at where points were deducted and be sure we have addressed those details.”