We are about to take our short festive break, and have all been looking back over the past 12 months. 2019 has certainly been a very significant year for us as a publisher. With our Glasgow printers, Bell & Bain, we’ve completed work on four new titles, and printed around 18,000 books (the largest number we’ve produced in a single year). Our new books are:
Bold Beginner Knits – a collection of 6 simple-to-knit pieces for adventurous beginners . . .
Knitting Season – a collection of 14 colourful designs through which to explore your knitterly creativity . . .
Wheesht – my book about the importance of creative making (and different approaches to it)
and an extremely exciting new project – about which you’ll hear more on January 1st.
As the business grew, we welcomed the brilliant Sam to the KDD team . . .
. . . and began working with our friend, Fenella . . .
We won a few awards: this site won blog of the year at the British craft awards (thank you to everyone who voted) . . .
And our blanket celebrating 30 diverse creative women received a best practice award from International Women’s Day
As I spent a few months struggling with my bipolar it has certainly been a difficult year for me personally. But it has also been a year of taking things forward very positively too. A highlight of the past twelve months for me was my residency with Applied Arts Scotland under the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme. The residency allowed me to spend time with a group of brilliant, creative women; opened up some really illuminating cross-cultural conversations;and has resulted in the development of a wonderful collaborative project with my Mexican friends. I’m really enjoying both the thinking and the making this project has engendered, and look forward to sharing more about the process with you.
My not-for-profit work has expanded greatly too: I’ve been appointed to a couple of advisory boards, became a champion of the MAKE Manifesto, and have taken up a position on the Scottish Government’s Business Leadership Group (encouraging other businesses to commit to the ideals of fairness and inclusivity behind the Business Pledge). KDD also launched our MAKE / MARK imprint, a programme of mentoring, support and investment to help new authors and designers into print. In these rather dark political times, it feels important to dedicate our resources to supporting the communities that have often supported us.
I wrote a book this year which I try to counter what I believe are deeply damaging late-capitalist ideas of disruption with another set of ideas about (among other things) the wisdom of limitation, and mending and repair. Writing that book, reading other books, and witnessing recent political developments, has made me think an awful lot about what a creative business is or should be for, right now, here in Scotland, at this particular cultural moment. Ours is a successful and profitable business, but for us its key purpose is not simply making money. For us, the resources of this business are there principally to support our creative ideas, and to help us all turn those ideas into work that we believe in, in the best way that we can. From Sam’s poetry to Jane’s art, from Tom’s photography (and more recently, sounds) to my making, mentoring, and writing, all of us at KDD have, in our own dedicated and committed ways, turned an an awful lot of creative ideas into work that we are proud of this year.
We are only able to do this work – the work we love and we believe in – because you are part of it: because you read our books and enjoy our yarns and knit our patterns and wear our hats and socks and sweaters – because you believe in the work we do as well.
A heartfelt thankyou from me, and many more thanks from the rest of the KDD team, for your support of us this year. See you in 2020 x