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We document work; from people who are brave enough to do something they love to those who strive to make ends meet.
We document work; from people who are brave enough to do something they love to those who strive to make ends meet.
We document work; from people who are brave enough to do something they love to those who strive to make ends meet.
120 backers pledged £2,030 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Elbow Grease Magazine

£2,030

120

Robert Noble Mill, ©Liam Dickson
Robert Noble Mill, ©Liam Dickson

Our Story

Elbow Grease had its origins, like so many things in life, with a few mates in a pub.

Looking at the magazines on offer, and not content seeing independent business represented with stories of smooth sailing, we set out to voice a more honest portrayal of entrepreneurialism. Something inspiring, yet rough around the edges. Something that made people want to make things happen without overlooking the obvious hurdles.

Elbow Grease today is an exploration of ‘work’ in its many incarnations. We have created a magazine filled with compelling writing, expressive design and illustration, and input from all sorts of grafters including Spanish milliners, office surfers, prison stitchers and bin divers. 


What we haven’t done is printed the damned thing, and that’s why we need your help.

Detroit SOUP is about community and democracy and The Empowerment Plan is one of many organisations that have benefited from their micro-grant programme. Illustrated by Will Harvey.
Detroit SOUP is about community and democracy and The Empowerment Plan is one of many organisations that have benefited from their micro-grant programme. Illustrated by Will Harvey.

 

Censorship is one thing the Brazilian Mídia Ninja collective passionately opposes. Leah Eades discusses the advantages and flaws of online activism.
Censorship is one thing the Brazilian Mídia Ninja collective passionately opposes. Leah Eades discusses the advantages and flaws of online activism.

Our Purpose

Elbow Grease is dedicated to hard work and independent thinking. Our goal is to document the lengths people go to for their work, their struggles and their joys. 

Work has an innate value that goes beyond the quest for cash, and we believe the stories of people who are brave enough to do something they love, to make a real difference, or maybe just to make ends meet, are worth sharing. 

This isn’t about artisans displaying their wares, it’s about grafters who strive, gamble and create on their own terms. We exist to make their efforts known.

 

The final chapter of this issue ushers in a tour, guided by Naomi Wood-Pearce, of Bristol's places of work, presenting them exactly as they are: personal, practical and full of quiet charm.
The final chapter of this issue ushers in a tour, guided by Naomi Wood-Pearce, of Bristol's places of work, presenting them exactly as they are: personal, practical and full of quiet charm.

 

Joe Gamble’s illustrations complementing our article on the importance of Salford’s Working Class Movement Library.
Joe Gamble’s illustrations complementing our article on the importance of Salford’s Working Class Movement Library.


People define themselves by their work, and yet 'work' as a concept conjures thoughts of the daily grind, hard slog and backbreaking labour, not the expression of your life's purpose. This is a great pity, because the enrichment that can be gained from learning a craft or pursuing a worthy cause is difficult to replicate by any other means.

As more and more people eschew conventional routes to success, say "no" to drudgery, and strike out on their own to seek fulfilment, they are beginning to create their own definitions of work.

In our first issue, we look at what work means, or has meant, to people at different stages in their own personal journeys. We explore varied approaches to work, from activists engaged in online campaigning to prisoners producing needlework, as we ascend through this catalogue of working culture and celebrate the grafters at its heart.

Josh Gabbatiss recounts the unique culture of hustling he encounted in Cuba. A society that is still controlled by its highly particular political and economic constraints.
Josh Gabbatiss recounts the unique culture of hustling he encounted in Cuba. A society that is still controlled by its highly particular political and economic constraints.

 

In a country hit hard by the financial crisis, millinery has counter intuitively gone from strength to strength. Our Spanish correspondent interviews two masters of their craft.
In a country hit hard by the financial crisis, millinery has counter intuitively gone from strength to strength. Our Spanish correspondent interviews two masters of their craft.

Your Help

We need to raise the money to get this project off the ground, but this isn’t a charity. 

You can consider your contribution a pre-order for the finished magazine, and we have a range of packages to choose from depending on how committed you feel to the Elbow Grease cause:

Works for Me
Works for Me

 

Workmate
Workmate

 

The Works
The Works

The Craft

The core of Elbow Grease will consist of story-led features about work. We're not interested in publishing news. We deliver narrative with passion and purpose.

The magazine is made up of three chapters. Each with its own paper possessing its own set of qualities and characteristics. The chapters are then perfect bound, along with a 12-page zine, to form a 132-page mag.

You can follow our progress on Instagram or join the community on our Facebook page.

Risks and challenges

As you can see, the magazine is complete. We just need an audience to help us press print.

The publication will be sent to our printer on November 21 to produce 1000 crisp copies of our debut issue.


We will personally pack this stuff up and ship it out to you December 10. That’s how much we care.

We appreciate you taking the time to read about what we’ve been doing, and if you have any questions at all please feel free to email: talk@elbowgreasemag.co.uk

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $12

    WORKS FOR ME

    Nice and simple, just a single copy of Elbow Grease for you to call your own. Of course, not only will we send you this beautiful magazine, you can also enjoy a sense of satisfaction because you will have helped us get this thing off the ground in the first place.

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease Issue #1
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    Ships to Only European Union
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £16 or more About $19

    WORKMATE

    We’re all about collaboration here at Elbow Grease. Purchase this package and we’ll send you an extra copy that you can give to a friend, colleague or family member who you think would dig our ethos. You’ll be doing a good deed, as well as helping us to spread the message.

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease Issue #1 x2
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $30

    THE WORKS

    Now we’re talking. In this package you will receive not only Elbow Grease itself, but also a poster from our friends at Salford’s Working Class Movement Library, and a tote bag lovingly screen printed by us. You can’t say fairer than that, now can you?

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease Issue #1
    • Working Class Movement Library Poster
    • 'Work it' Tote Bag
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $43

    WORKSHOP #1

    Do you run a business that supports local makers and caters for a freethinking crowd with an eye for good design? Grab 5 copies for your counter.

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease #1 x5
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    Ships to Only United Kingdom
    1 backer
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $73

    WORKSHOP #2

    Do you run a business that supports local makers and caters for a freethinking crowd with an eye for good design? Grab 10 copies for your counter.

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease #1 x10
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    2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $182

    DIRTY WORK

    In our promotional video we show you exactly how a magazine should be cared for. If you don't have the resources to test your copy's durability, purchase the one we destroyed and own a piece of Bristol indie publishing history. Obviously we'll throw in The Works.

    Includes:
    • Elbow Grease Issue #1 (Wrecked)
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    Limited 0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $304

    PIECE OF WORK

    We're looking for four independent businesses that share our attitude towards hard work and independent thinking. Together we'll produce a single page ad that will turn our readership onto something they’ll find truly beneficial.

    Ideal for organisations providing services for budding businesses to companies producing well crafted goods. Perfect if you want to reach the creative and motivated.

    Before committing to this reward, let's make sure we're a good fit. Contact us at talk@elbowgreasemag.co.uk

    Includes:
    • Sponsorship
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Funding period

- (30 days)