Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Advent calendar guru (3) Andrew Taylor (author) and a discussion of style

I can be quite suggestible so when my sister says some of my designs are really quite upmarket, that's the way I think I ought to go. That's the way I develop my scarf designs and I'm very happy with the brand, logo and packaging ideas I have for them.

But just as some days my taste / requirement from music is classical (sometimes challengingly so) and on other days my need is to put Pharrell William's 'Happy' on repeat and dance madly around the lounge (whatever you think of him, that song just is 'happy'), so my pattern imperatives also vary.

I use photographic sources, sometimes as the main image, sometimes as background; I also use line work and original coloured artwork in various media. Sometimes I combine all these things in one design; sometimes not. And so a 'reason to be cheerful' about delaying the scarves, is that I can spend more time ensuring they have a more coherent 'house style'.

But I still chafe against the idea of limiting myself, of squashing parts of me that still want expression out in the world. And that brings me to my inspiration guru of the day, author Andrew Taylor. Andrew is an award winning writer whom some of you might know: he came to prominence particularly when his novel 'The American Boy' was chosen for Richard and Judy's book club (in that club's earlier days).

I ran public library events with Andrew a couple of times. He's very interesting to listen to and you don't hear the same anecdotes twice. My point about him is, he has not limited himself. His 'Lydmouth' crime series has many fans yet is for me at least, sturdily of its type (think Morse / Midsomer Murders) - comfortable crime, in this case set in a fictionalised Forest of Dean / Welsh border area for the added delight of us locals. In fact he hasn't published a 'Lydmouth' novel since 2006.

More recently his work covers much darker psychological and often historical thrillers like 'The Roth Trilogy', or 'Bleeding Heart Square'. His skill with the accurate historical detail and description give the reader a great sense of 'being there'. And, if you actually ever have 'been' there as I have have been (one of his novels mentions the London street on which my sister lives) then the book lives (dances, almost) doubly in your mind as you reconcile the 'now' with the 'then' being described. No expert, I would still put the word 'Literature' (with capital 'L') to Andrew's later work.

My second point therefore should now be obvious and can be underlined if you also read his very first novel - 'Caroline Minuscule'. Andrew has allowed his 'style' to mature over time (years).

And I conclude that I am running before I can walk! My scarves will stay on the back burner for as long as they need to and I will continue to experiment. Which is why I really am enjoying the Faye Brown Designs Advent challenge: achieving something (as we used to say in the library service) 'quick & dirty' - not stressing - just playing. Letting it flow.

Christmas trees worked up from yesterday
Christmas tree decoration for today

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I'd love to hear what you think and what you're up to, creatively. Feel free to leave me a message. Thanks, Catherine