Crafts (6)

My reviews are listed below, but you can also click on this link to buy & find reviews of even more Craft Books

Crafts is a bit of an all-encompassing term, so rather than list lots of titles here that are not necessarily related to each other, please check the sub-categories in the side bar.  Only ‘general’ craft titles will appear on this page.

(Titles are listed A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different techniques. Please feel free to add comments – especially if you disagree with me!)

THE CHRISTMAS BOOK by SHEHERAZADE GOLDSMITH

I love this book.  If you want to create the feel of a real, old-fashioned Christmas, with scents of pine cone, cinnamon and orange peel wafting through the house, this is the place to begin.  This book is packed with crafty ideas for Christmas decorations (etc), and although the feel is traditional, the simplicity of the designs makes them effortlessly contemporary, at the same time.  Oh, and they incorporate lots of natural elements rather than gaudy/tacky/cute shop-bought embellishments, so it’s an eco-friendly collection, too.  If you only buy one Christmas craft book, make it this one.

MAKING STUFF: AN ALTERNATIVE CRAFT BOOK by ZIGGY HANAOR

It’s simple. It’s retro. It’s cool. If nothing else, EVERY house should have a jumper monkey! Everything from rag rugs to soap making to recycled tie purses (!) is covered. The ideas are so simple, you’ll be amazed you never thought of them yourself, but the funky retro styling is what makes this book a must-have buy.

D.I.Y. KIDS by ELLEN LUPTON

Using ordinary pens, basic computer skills, blank stickers and other objects you might have lying around the house (clothes pegs, socks, cardboard, felt etc) this book will keep kids (approx. age 7-12) entertained for hours. You can make and decorate your own stationery, boxes, bags, toys and decorations, and for the fashion-conscious youngster take first steps into design and adaptation of old clothes. If you have kids, this is definitely a great, cost-consciously creative buy, and a bit different, in terms of craft books.

For an adult (me), this is nowhere near as innovative as ‘DIY’ by the same author. I had hoped that some of the projects would give me additional ideas and inspiration, but it is really a pared-down-to-basics-and-then-kiddified version of the original. Although the soft toy and fashion elements are new, and I know I would have loved the book a couple of decades ago, it’s not enough to make me love this book on a personal level now. Oh well…

THE SAVVY CRAFTER’S GUIDE TO SUCCESS by SANDRA McCALL

CRAFTING CREATIVITY: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Awakening the Artistic Genius Within by COLIN SALTER

THE CRAFTER’S COMPANION by ANNA TORBORG

I was a bit put off by the cover of this book – not that it is distressing in anyway, but it didn’t speak to me of cutting edge contemporary crafts, or even anything especially new/different/innovative.  Luckily, I looked inside anyway, and found it close to what I had hoped for from (but been disappointed by in) ‘The Crafter Culture Handbook’ by Amy Spencer.

‘The Crafter’s Companion’ introduces a collection of crafters whose primary outlet is via the online crafting community.  Each artist talks about why they create, where they find inspiration, and how their project included in the book came about.  The profiles are interesting to read, several pages in length, with illustrative photos of the artists work and workspaces, and links to blogs and websites.

It’s one of those books that is reassuring because you see that these young designers still have to keep their day jobs, like you and me, but can still take the crafting world by storm.  And any creative person will recognise the creative urges they describe.  I like the fact that the book is more about the crafting culture, community and creativity, rather than focusing on the projects (which are kind of cute, kind of kooky, but nothing that really stood out for me).  Having said that, I did find the profiles got a little same-y, after a while.

In some ways it’s similar to ‘KnitKnit’by Sabrina Geschwandtner.  Held up against this, I think it makes the crafting community feel more approachable and less elite, but by this token, also slightly less dynamic. It has the advantage of covering more than one craft (‘KnitKnit’ is solely about – surprisingly enough! – knitting), but at the same time isn’t as varied in content as ‘The Crafter Culture Handbook’, as the projects are predominantly needlework-based.

If only the content was just slightly more varied, just a little edgier, this would be an excellent book. As it is, it’s still pretty good.

Links to some more book that I haven’t read yet, but look quite cool:

SUPER CRAFTY by SUSAN BEAL

READYMADE: How to Make (Almost) Anything by SHOSHANA BERGER

CRAFTIVITY by TSIA CARSON

COLORSENSE: creative Color Combinations for Crafters by SUSAN LEVIN

COLOR WORKS: The Crafter’s Guide to Color by DEB MENZ

ALTERNACRAFTS by JESSICA VITKUS

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