Thursday, 22 June 2017

Pillow Box Beach Tote

Here's a cheery seasonal project. The mini-tote makes an ideal bon voyage gift when filled with a small treat. The construction is one-piece, and there's a bit of fun raffia-lacing to do.

Here's your free design file:

Use an embossing tool to mark the cut-out pattern piece. Score around the boat-shaped base piece. Also score the tote side turn-backs. Crease the scored lines, paying special attention to the banana-shaped base.

Cut a piece of raffia bout 50cm (20in) long. It is scrunched up (raffia is like that!). Open out the raffia and cut it in half lengthwise. Thread one half into a tapestry needle. Knot the end. Draw it through the hole on the top left (knot on underside). Wrap the raffia around and under each spoke, pulling taut as you go. When you get to the end of the row, run the raffia under the side, then continue on the bottom row of spokes in the opposite direction. Knot the end of the raffia on the underside. 

Apply 3mm(1/8in) double-sided tape to the basket sides. Carefully join front to back, matching edges. Tie a raffia bow at top, using a piece of leftover raffia from the other half of the cutting.

Happy summer. :)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

How to Draw Type and Influence People, by Sarah Hyndman. Review.

An Activity Book

By Sarah Hyndman

Laurence King Publishing 2017

Paperback, £12.99

Star rating: ****

This is a hands-on exploration of the psychology of typography with a high fun factor. It is an interactive learning experience (not to be confused with a colouring book)! :) The author, Sarah Hyndman, is a graphic designer and public speaker (check out her fab  TEDx talk on YouTube). The purpose of  the exercises in the book are to put the user in touch with how type style can influence opinion and intrigue the viewer – the goal: unleashing the power of typeface literacy. Actually drawing a typeface provides an understanding of its construction and suitability of purpose. A happy coincidence is that drawing type is a skill many papercrafters aspire to acquire!

Fun exercises include Font Sniffing – describing the scent a particular typeface evokes, Font Personalities (serifs = knowledgeable, Sans serifs = informative and easy going). There’s a super-fun chapter on Wild West Fonts (recognizable by their slab serifs and catchwords – groups of words offset by decorative flourishes which were set on a single printing block). Another exercise has fun with futuristic typefaces (there’s a sci-fi font gallery). Design your own monogram and ligatures (joined letters – like the ampersand). 

At the back of the book is some handy info – a Visual Type Glossary (type anatomy and terms), plus a bibliography – so you can continue on your journey.

This book would make a super gift for just about anybody who wishes to learn about the power of type. It would be ideal choice for an older child with an inkling of an interest in graphic design.  Learning the lessons within can make for more effective visual communication skills, be it on a blog or in your own personal  communication and creative endeavours.

Note: I was given a review copy of this title.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Origami Garden, by Mark Bolitho. Review.

By Mark Bolitho
Jacqui Small, May 2017
Paperback (includes pack of double-sided origami papers), 
£14.99 UK/US $19.99/CAN 29.99

ISBN 978-1-911127-10-9

Star rating: *****

The publication of this delightful title just happens to coincide serendipitously, with The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We can all appreciate the horticultural glories on display – but not all of us have green fingers (or thumbs, as the case may be). Some of us express ourselves creatively by papercrafting – and The Origami Garden is an appropriate, perfectly-timed treat for us.

The book is being pitched as a mindfulness activity, origami joining the mindfulness bandwagon – which, of course, any involving craft you can lose yourself in qualifies for. Calm sounds good. And origami is much more mentally engaging than colouring!

So – what’s in the book? Splendid, fun, imaginative 3-D designs, well thought out and made up in suitable papers (which are handily provided inside back cover). The models are divided into four themed sections –  Seeds and Plants, Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables, and Garden Life.  So, plenty of variety. There’s a Seedling  in a Pot (including  origami “soil”), Nuts in a Bowl, various flower blossoms, a delightful pleated Palm Leaf, trendily genius flowering Cactus in a Pot, and a cleverly constructed freestanding Pine Tree. There’s a Mushroom, Pear, and an appealingly puffy Tomato. A Butterfly, Frog, Bird, and a perky Snail. Many of these projects would be suitable for gift presentation – or as giftwrap embellishments.

Each project is star-system rated for complexity. Each is accompanied by detailed step-by-step line drawings, including directional arrows and indication of paper side. These are clearly accompanied by text.

The author, Mark Bolitho, has been a long-time member of the British Origami Society, a former Chairman. Having retired from his day job, he has forged an exciting second career as an origami creative. He is a prolific origami author and design  consultant. Now that’s living the dream! Congrats.

Glad to hear that Mark Bolitho has more themed origami books in the pipeline. I look forward to seeing them.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.