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Read this book: Archie

The doggie-filled debut from Scottish designer Domenica More Gordon

Posted: 6 August 2012
by Catherine O'Dolan

EVERY DOG HAS its day, so they say, but it seems that pooches are definitely having something of a moment, from Uggie in The Artist leaving his indelible paw prints on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, to Pudsey stealing the nation’s hearts on Britain’s Got Talent. Now it’s the turn of dapper doggy Archie to take centre stage in a sartorial adventure. When a mystery package arrives from Great Aunt Betty, it turns out to be a sewing machine, which gives Archie a bright idea. How about creating a smart little coat for his Westie? When his pup becomes the talk of the town (obviously, they’d do it by barking), Archie soon finds he hasa host of commissions from style-conscious canines keen to cut a dash in his snazzy outfits. Where will it all end?

Archie is brought to life by artist Domenica More Gordon, whose miniature felt dog sculptures already boast a unlikely fanbase, including Brad Pitt and Pete Townshend. Turning her talents to the two-dimensional page, Domenica’s main protagonist is inspired by his namesake, her pet terrier, Archie. Coming from a long line of dog lovers, Domenica also credits her grandfather’s passion for pooches. “When I was a child, my grandfather used to send me letters from his dog, who was a scruffy terrier called Dog Show,” she says. “But he was also a conductor, and wore tailcoats, and I used to draw endless pictures of him.”

So it’s clear where Domenica gets her creative imagination and love of the quirky and eccentric from. “My father is a painter, and I like to call my mother an ‘über-maker’, because whatever she turns her hand to, she can do splendidly. We all live together with my husband, our two children, Jack and Ariadne, and three dogs.” Archie is a delightful picture book but – be warned – it has no words, apart from the “whirr, whirr” of the sewing machine, a chirpy “pom pom pom de pom” as Archie takes a stroll, and a “ring, ring” as the phone tinkles with orders. “I’ve always been a fan of those kinds of words that have a comic-book feel,” she says. “Plus, it means that readers can make up their own minds about what is happening, and it stays forever fresh.” 

Archie by Domenica More Gordon (£12.99, Bloomsbury) 2+

Don't miss... Junior's gallery of Domenica's cute felt dogs

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