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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Cool Craft by Bridget Bodoano

Cool Craft: Explore Your Creativity!

Craft is back and people of all ages are discovering, or re-discovering, the joys of making something by hand. Not only is it a great antidote to conspicuous consumerism, it also gives you something to do while winding down, gossiping, watching TV or listening to your favourite music. The projects in this book are simple enough for the complete beginner with clear instructions and tips on basic techniques. The designs are deliberately chosen so that even a novice will be able to achieve a good finish and ensuring that "home-made" is something smart and even chic and not a term of abuse. Cool Craft aims to lure style-conscious people into craft with the promise of things to make that they can be proud of and happy to wear or use. Divided into 7 chapters, each chapter is introduced with an opener with a photograph (showing one or two projects and possibly some materials) and a "mission statement". Under each category there will be advice on materials, techniques and tips followed by ideas and some specific projects, all accompanied by lots of illustrations. This is a book for all ages and for everyone who has wanted to try their hand at craft.

A book from the new publishers, Vivays Publishing. Set up in Autumn 2010 and releasing their first five titles at this years London's Book Fair and with ten new titles being released this autumn, and twenty titles to be released in 2012, the company have lots of exciting things planned.

As stated in the introduction, craft is back with people enjoying making something by hand. However, it has been found that many of the projects available in magazines, on television or in books are considered fussy or end results are not considered to be practical or pleasing to others/recipients. In Cool Crafts the projects are said to be things that people would be proud of and the crafter's or recipients would be happy to wear, display or use.

This book is one of the ten being released this autumn and focuses on Knitting; Sewing; Stitching; Accessories; Paper and Design and Technology. Each section begins with a getting started section, which details basic equipment and materials and techniques needed. There are old fashioned and historic crafts within the book; knitting, cross stitch, patchwork, applique, decoupage and paper dolls  but they have been given a modern twist with new ideas and designs.

There are 50 projects within the book and they are wide and varied in technicality and end result. The book is full of useful tips on all the techniques in the book. The projects include hats, scarves, bags, home furnishings, gift ideas There are many projects which children could, with help, make and also many ideas for fundraising projects.

Many of the projects give a basic idea and then can be used as a basic template for more confident crafts to adapt, customise and/or embellish to 
reflect the crafter's individuality and current crafting likes.

I really liked the paper section and technology section of the book, it is full of great ideas which I would not of thought about myself. I am a keen crafter and I thought the knitting and sewing sections contained ideas which I have either already made in some form or were easy to make however in the paper section there are projects for paper dolls using photographs of yourself, family members or friends, making flick books (an idea i am familiar with but i would not know where to start with this idea). The technology section has a great couple of pages on scanning images and ideas on manipulating and formatting images to make your own art work. There is also a section on making your own typeface - a fun idea that children may enjoy playing with.

The main thing that I noticed when looking through this book was that there is no photographs of finished projects. The illustrations are computer generated which is great for basic ideas, shapes, concepts and mapping however, i found it did not useful for finished projects i.e. knitting - showed shape of finished item but it was very uniform, blocky shaped, did not show natural shape of finished knitted piece. I think photographs of some of the finished items, including variations to show ideas of adapting the basic project, would be an addition to the book.

I liked the simplistic diagrams in some parts, they are great for how items should basically look. The diagrams are also really clear for showing knitting stitches and hand sewing stitches. 

In summary, this book is a great starting point, for people who are just dipping their toes into crafting and are unsure what area of craft they would like to try, because the book a snapshot into many different areas. It would be great for teachers and parents wanting ideas to try with children or groups of people. 

Thank you to Vivays Publishing for sending me the book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I love all things crafty - I'm good at knitting but not so good at sewing.This looks like an interesting combination of crafts.

    Jaffa and I love reading your blog - we've given you an award