Wow! On Saturday I posted the work of two designers as they grappled with the idea of what my book should look like.
Thank you for your feedback!
As they started before the book was written I was actually impressed with what they had both achieved. And while I liked all four, I find myself in the same position as the majority: that No 3, the watercolour illustrations, is the best, followed by the Mosaic No 4.
I got further feedback via IG and Facebook too, so I have lots of material now, and it has been very helpful indeed. Thank you to those who commented, especially people who are designers themselves, or book sellers, or published authors. But, in a way, the most interesting responses were from the ordinary, regular blog readers. The people who through the blog have come to know me, and just felt that the designs didn’t quite “get” me.
I found this very interesting.
I am not sure how much I know myself.
Some of the most valuable feedback has been where you have told me why you like the blog, and my style, and the topics that I cover. At one level putting a book out into the world requires one to have perhaps an overdeveloped sense of one’s own importance or relevance. While I have been writing the book I have thought – ‘what is the hook?” – and probably thought, it’s only me. I am not really seeing this book in Waterstones or other classy bookshops. I am thinking it would be great to sell it to the people who read the blog, who like my “voice” and the topics that I cover. If it went a bit beyond that I would be delighted, but this is (as many noted) a personal book. Quite a few of you told me to include an image of myself, now, in clothes that I have made. I wasn’t going to do this before, but now I think I will. Lots of you said pictures of me in pink! I hadn’t realised how much pink is part of who I am (at work I wear lots of grey!).
What is the book about?
The book (which is going for an editorial review this week) covers three main topics
a) BEAUTY: colour, style, wardrobe, capsules, etc. These topics have been a main theme of this blog. The underlying philosophy is about celebrating and enhancing our natural beauty rather than trying to change it too much.
b) MAKING: 13 Makers Projects – creative projects to make skirts and tops, painted fabric and a few other things. If we want to enhance our natural beauty, making things to express ourselves better is a good option and the book works hard to make these projects accessible. The philosophy here is again that making beautiful things is good antidote to the toxic aspects of modern life. You (my sewing/knitting/blogging community) are in this section.
c) LIFE: about me, my family and how to get more out of life. Personal stories with the crafting element woven in.
If I was doing a commercial, traditionally published book it would cover a) or b). There is room for a book about style that is more modern and less superficial than the existing offering. And in terms of projects, I think there is a market for a much more truthful book about making beautiful things. And of course there is no market at all for stories about my family, but they are part of my life and my blog and people seems to find them interesting!
Who are the designers?
One is a Canadian man, a professional designer, who has done some previous (very impressive) work for me. But of course he couldn’t really grasp the blog-book because it is not really something he could identify with. And the most interesting thing is that he initially designed something with warm (mustard, brown and orange) colours which I reacted against. Then I noticed that he has warm colouring and dresses in lots of greens and yellows and browns. Isn’t that fascinating? We are often drawn to colour palettes that enhance our own colouring. When I pointed this out he reverted to my logo (cool bright colours) but couldn’t resist the yellow! Esme’s remark was that these colours looked like the CMYK print out you get on the photocopier. Hmm. I told him and he laughed. I think he was remembering this book:
Anyway I still like the Mosaic and I think with some changes it has legs.
The second designer is family – my step daughter Charlotte.
Charlotte actually works in book design, with a focus on picture books, and has lots of experience with craft books. So when I showed her what the other designer had done she sent her alternative through. I hadn’t asked her to do it as she has been unwell recently, but she has agreed to take on the project. The pictures were ones she had already so not done specially for me.
But I have now been over there with a suit case full of clothes and objects and she is going to paint them. Although her design did not win universal approval I think we can work with it. What I like about it is the white back ground with colour on it. In a sense it reminds me of this, and this. I really love of lots of colour against a white background.
The items I have selected for Charlotte, that represent projects in the book and items I have made, and other things that have a sentimental meaning are as follows:
- Christening robe for Kit (and hat) and printing materials
- Pink EZ nordic jumper
- Girl Guide top (mine)
- Notting Hill Housing hard hat
- Knitted slippers
- Simple pencil skirt
- The white dress (as above, with the colourful drawings)
- The lake with a sunset
- Home made jeans
- Crochet skirt
- Sleeveless jumper
- Schiaparelli mad cap
- Silver jewelery
It sounds like what the kids put in time capsules… Anything you would add?
And again, to all those who offered your opinions and experiences – thank you once again.