What’s particularly special about this book, in my eyes at least, is that Anya and Katherine self-published, and it has been picked up by retailers such as Waterstones and Tate St Ives, proving that if you have a great book idea you don’t necessarily need to attach yourself to a large publisher.
Katherine told me about their decision to self-publish: “We decided to self publish after being advised by several of the conventional publishers whom we approached that our book was too ‘niche’ to work for them. We were, however, convinced of the strength of our idea and felt that we could make a success of it. Publishing Make: Cornwall ourselves was incredibly hard work and a hugely steep learning curve. Not only did we very quickly have to get to grips with everything from design and layout to paper types and print costs, but we also had to take on the storage, distribution, marketing, invoicing and all other areas that publishers normally do for you, not to mention having to finance the costs upfront. On the plus side, we retained complete control of every aspect of the book, both creatively (which was really important to us) and from a business point of view, and ended up with something that we are immensely proud of. We wouldn’t advise anyone to take on self publishing lightly – it can be a hard slog – but it’s really worthwhile if you want to retain your independence and are prepared to put in the hours.”
The book highlights the range of disciplines offered by craftspeople in and around Cornwall, including wood, clay, leather, paper, glass and cloth. A very visual tome, with lots of beautiful photography by Anya, it has an easy to follow format, simply presenting each creative in their own section. Katherine introduces and describes each person, followed by imagery which is accompanied by descriptive captions. The book opens with the striking wood work of Amy Isles Freeman and includes makers such as Wendy Wilbraham, Ondine Ash, Zaya Gilchrist and Lucy Skuse of Kelmi, Sian Lancaster and Debbie Rudolph, amongst many others.
Anya and Katherine were keen to shine a light on the creative scene in the south west and they have certainly done this through their beautifully crafted book. If you fancy a workspace nosy and some creative inspiration, the ladies have offered 91 readers a specially discounted price of £20 (+ £2.90 p&p) from www.anyarice.com/makecornwall by entering ‘91MAG’ at the checkout.