"Such great embroiderers, women are." - Aunt Lydia, The Testaments
Last November, we hosted the loveliest team of women from Penguin Random House at our offices here in the West Village. We were beyond flattered to hear that our new friends from PRH were giant fans. The feeling is mutual (I mean, who doesn't love book publishers?! People who help make and market books are not only some of the smartest people on earth, they are kind and fun and really doing us all a huge service). Sidenote: It truly blows my mind how many incredible people we've gotten to connect with since the start of our little company – something I never expected to happen and something that has been deeply fulfilling!
Anyway, we meet and basically go over who they work with to start brainstorming ways we could collaborate. Many exciting ideas later, and near the end of our meeting, they mention "Oh yeah, we have Margaret Atwood's new book – the follow up to The Handmaid's Tale coming out next fall." Full stop. I am an H-U-G-E Atwood fan. And, as a giant fangirl of both the book and the TV adaptation, I wasn't going to be able to let this sit. "Well omg, it would be an absolute dream to come up with a way to work with you on that!" I said enthusiastically. "Ya, no duh!" They were probably thinking. They played it cool and suggested we let them know if we came up with any exciting ideas.
The idea hit the minute they left our offices: "How cool would it be to actually EMBROIDER on these books!" It was SOOOO Atwood-ian that it gave me goosebumps. This is before we even knew the title of the book or its numerous references to its female characters' fine embroidery work. We knew it was a pipe dream, "but let's just go for it!" I told Kate, our COO. "Why not!?" With literally NOTHING to lose, and no idea if it would even be possible, we emailed our idea over to our friends at PRH and were ecstatic, surprised, thrilled and overwhelmed when they got right back to us telling us that they LOVED the idea! And here we are today. Sitting next to 100 hand-embroidered, signed and numbered books that seem to have materialized here by fate (well, and a lot of hard work). It wasn't simple and took a TON of trial and error, but we are proud to release these into the world and we hope you love and appreciate the care that went into each one as much as we do! You can see more from the making of these books below! xo Rachelle
p.s. The lesson is, go for your dreams, no matter how far fetched they may seem – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The Making of The Testaments
Thanks to the patience of our embroidery team, led by Anahi (pictured below), we finally figured out a system (each hole was pre-poked by hand before the actual stitching happened) to get these book jackets perfect and ready to be bound! In the end, five embroiderers, Anahi, Shevawn, Catherine, Dee Dee, and Nina worked diligently to create each of these one-of-a-kind covers.
Anahi hard at work (L), a stack of book jackets ready to be bound (R)
Meeting Mrs. Atwood
As you can imagine, being the best selling author and launching the world's most anticipated novel is a lot. Add to it an unexpected tragedy, and we weren't counting on meeting up with the author IRL. You can imagine our joy when we got the call to hurry uptown – Margaret Atwood would be signing our books and would like us to be there! We dropped everything and rushed over to watch her sign and number each and every copy of the 100 books we had stitched, all while singing to us and regaling us with wonderful stories and ideas (among them – hiring someone to come and read novels to our team of embroiderers while they stitch - Genius!). I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. What an honor!
Margaret Atwood signing books while we watch (L), the collection, shot and styled by MA herself (R).
Kate and I loading the signed books up to take back to our offices. Everyone said we look silly and not to include this photo but we were so happy I'll never forget this moment and so I'm overriding the fools!
Books signed and ready to send to you!
A special copy for us to keep! She can draw too!