Woven Tale Press: A Journal and Tribute

A monthly online journal of arts and literature
Sandra Tyler, second from left, with family members as they remember Elizabeth Tyler in her Amagansett studio after her memorial service.

It was an upbringing in the arts that in 2013 inspired Sandra Tyler to create the Woven Tale Press, a monthly online journal of arts and literature that also stands as a tribute to her mother, the late Elizabeth Sloan Tyler, an acclaimed South Fork artist. The younger Ms. Tyler would often take the train from New York City to Amagansett, where her mother painted for 30 years from a studio in her house on Hand Lane, and together they would frequent art shows and galleries from East Hampton to Southampton, then discuss what they had seen over dinner.

“Looking back now, it is clear to me that those years of not only immersing myself in the arts on the East End, but in those ongoing, discerning conversations with my mother, greatly helped shape my aesthetics as an editor today,” Ms. Tyler said recently. “And I miss those deeply, those conversations. I like to think they are continued in the dialogues we try to inspire between our own artists, in Woven Tale Press, and our readers.”

Elizabeth Tyler, who moved to Amagansett in the 1970s and whose work was exhibited at the National Academy of Art and the Metropolitan Museum as well as in a 2010 solo show at Guild Hall, had a big hand in helping her daughter launch the publication, having given her for her birthday the computer software she needed to begin the project. 

And she is still helping her only child: “As I’m going through and picking works out, I hear her over my shoulder saying, ‘Hmm, I don’t like that,’ or ‘Wow, I like that,’ ” said Ms. Tyler, who lives in Setauket with her husband, Keith Grigoletto, and their two sons.

While her mother tended toward atmospheric and luminous interpretations of East End landscapes, Ms. Tyler’s own sensibilities have evolved. “With the internet, my appreciation for the experimental has blossomed,” she said. “Our philosophy is to keep it eclectic . . . and I’m always looking for that element of surprise.”

Woven Tale Press, which has been steadily gaining traction, selected some of its works for a printed volume in 2015, but it primarily consists of a digital, flippable format “that you experience almost as if looking at artwork on a wall,” Ms. Tyler said. “Even the literary works resonate visually. I think the format is significant to the success of the magazine.”

Its website, thewoventalepress.net, was recently expanded to include features, reviews, videos, and interviews. Ms. Tyler well understands the value of internet traffic, where clicks can lead to further exposure, if not sales, and she likes to encourage artists’ and writers’ own blogs and websites, inspired in part, she said, by the website blogher.com, a creative platform for women bloggers.

“ ‘Why can’t I make it a hub for arts and writing?’ ” she wondered. She is now actively seeking sponsorship and/or advertising for the Woven Tale Press, which has a paid editorial staff.

Ms. Tyler has herself written extensively on relationships between women, especially mothers and daughters, including the novels “After Lydia” and “Blue Glass,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book. She hit on the name Woven Tale Press several years ago after taking up tapestry weaving. A summertime production assistant at The East Hampton Star from 1982 to 1985 while a student at Amherst College, she is also a graphic artist who does all the magazine’s page layouts herself.

When it comes to content, Woven Tale Press has featured familiar names including Steve Miller of Sagaponack, but it is not limited to an East End or Long Island pool of talent. Ms. Tyler has recently begun reviewing Parrish Art Museum exhibitions and has reached out to several artists whose shows were well reviewed by local media.

Elizabeth Tyler’s artwork has graced the pages of the Woven Tale Press, and her artistic influence continues to be a cornerstone in her daughter’s creative process. “She was always enthusiastic about all my endeavors.­ . . . The Woven Tale Press is her legacy. I just feel very strongly that she is behind me all the time.”