Good morning everyone, I hope you are all doing well and looking after yourselves and each other. We are all fine here at KDD: indeed, all of us feel very fortunate that our circumstances are such that we can continue our operation relatively uninterrupted, work from home, and have the capacity to help our families and friends. In the past few weeks, our team has felt particularly happy that we are able to offer support to the fibre community through our My Place scheme, and are really excited by the brilliant design ideas that have already been submitted and supported with our yarn. And we have several projects in the pipeline that will begin to reach completion in coming weeks: a new series of designs from me, a couple of beautiful new yarn shades, and our People Make Glasgow book. We’ll continue to bring all these things to you, and I also thought I might try to post a little more frequently here, to bring you some regular news and cheer from our part of Scotland.
Today’s news is particularly cheery, as, having sent the book to press, we are now able to shout about Claudia Fiocchetti’s wonderful Colour Moves project, the first title to be published under our new not-for-profit Make // Mark imprint. Claudia will be discussing the inspiration behind each of the wonderful designs in her book over on her blog and you can now pre-order copies of Colour Moves exclusively from her shop. We’ll be selling (and wholesaling) the book once it is published, of course: the idea is that any advance purchases of the book from Claudia go to directly support her fledgling design business, and any later purchases from us will be ploughed straight back into our Make // Mark scheme, helping us to mentor, promote and publish other talented folk with great ideas for books.
Today Claudia is revealing the first of several pattern ‘sets’ her book contains. I personally love a knitted set for head and hands, and have felt for a long time that we should generally see more of them. Luckily, Claudia has designed some gorgeous sets for Colour Moves – including this tam and fingerless gloves set – Foglie Nascoste, which translates as Hidden Leaves. I thought I’d share some images of Jane enjoying herself by Loch Lomond together with some words from my foreword to the book, which explains how Claudia’s project – and the Make // Mark scheme more broadly – came about.
“In 2019, KDD held a popular competition for mittens, mitts and glove designs, that later became the Warm Hands book. As competition submissions started to come in, one person’s work stood out. This person seemed to be using the small canvas of a glove or mitten to explore a set of really innovative design ideas. Graphic patterns danced over the surface of the hands; simple shapes were enlivened with bold colourways; lines and motifs clashed, came together, changed direction. The work was that of Claudia Fiocchetti and I loved everything that she knitted. Here was someone who evidently had a particular kind of feeling for the potential of stranded colourwork, and whose needles were brimming with fresh ideas.”
“When it was time for myself and Jeanette Sloan, my co-editor, to select designs from the competition to be commissioned for our book, we kept returning to Claudia’s work. We had trouble selecting just one piece: everything that Claudia had submitted, we felt, deserved to be published as a pattern. When it occurred to me that I might be able to find a way of helping her to do just that, the idea for Make // Mark was born.”
“What makes Claudia’s work distinctive is the way that she makes pattern and colour play together. Pattern and colour are literally her livelihood: as an historic painting and stone conservator, she spends each day paying extremely close attention to the details of all kinds of decorative art. Her attentive, creative and emotive approach to colour and pattern is immediately apparent in the 17 designs included here: every element is, quite simply, where it is meant to be. And under Claudia’s canny hands, the feeling of a surface design can shift significantly simply by repositioning a single stitch, or by swapping out one shade for another. Her work truly makes colour move.”
“And now a word about the imprint under which this book is published: Make // Mark. When, as a fledgling designer of hand-knitting patterns, I began to have ideas for the book that became Colours of Shetland, I realised it would be a difficult sell. The book had no definitive genre: neither how-to nor travel writing; not purely knitting, but not cultural history either. I knew an agent was likely to have difficulty representing such a book, and that publishers would struggle finding a suitable place for it on their lists. And in any case, which commercially-minded publisher would ever take a punt on someone whose capacity for work was severely limited after being disabled by a stroke? So I decided to make my book myself.”
“I’d had experience of both academic and commercial publishing and had worked for many years as both author and editor. I also had a supportive partner and good friends who were willing to share their professional expertise. So I put my head down, worked within the means I had, and over time, produced a book. And, over the years that followed, I produced many more. There are many difficult-to-place books out there, and countless talented writers and designers with wonderful ideas who do not have the same resources or support that I did when taking my first steps on this path. Make // Mark is for them: my way of giving back to an industry which, from those first difficult beginnings, has not only enabled me to develop a new career in design and publishing, but to build a thriving business that now supports many different kinds of creative work.”
“Make // Mark is a not-for-profit enterprise, under which our revenue from book sales is directed into developing the scheme and taking it forward. We are delighted to bring Claudia’s book to you, and with 3 more titles already commissioned under the imprint from talented authors and designers, the road ahead promises to be exciting!”