Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Folded Book Art, by Clare Youngs. Review.



35 beautiful projects to transform your books – create

cards, display scenes, decorations, gifts, and more

By Clare Youngs

Cico Books, March 7, 2017

Hardcover £ 14.99

ISBN 978-1-78249-415-7



Star rating: *****

I am so very enthusiastic about this book that I am blogging about it on publication day :)


This superb new title by creative powerhouse Clare Youngs is a follow-on from her title Book Art, which was published four years ago.  In the intervening years, folded book art has become a papercrafting phenomenon. You’ve seem them – books re-purposed into mini-sculptures, pages folded to create 3-D words and-or-images. The craft has “how’d you do that?” WOW factor – and in her new title, Clare Youngs reveals the secrets of folded book construction, while providing cleverly-designed folding templates. (Patience and precision are required – but, you will be delighted to know, the actual craft is not in itself difficult.)  She also thinks outside the book to provide imaginative 3-D projects using re-purposed books.


The concept of re-purposing books is something of a hurdle to some of us – including the author. However, once you realise that many books are destined to be pulped , have outdated content, or are in way off-peak condition (and ready for a second life), then you are good to go.


The folded book designs include a bird, a butterfly, an ampersand, a tied knot, a star, a sculptural centrepiece (360 degrees!), a number one, a Scandinavian apple, hearts, a festive fir tree,  Cloudy Days (raincloud w/raindrops). Many of the designs incorporate positive/negative space (book-folding insies/outsies) to create shadow and dimension.


The book is divided into three sections – Folding books, Making Scenes, and Refashioned Pages. The Making Scenes section is about transforming books into tableaux – you’ve seen them – the story emerges from the pages of the book in glorious 3-D. Here you will find a Little Mermaid (with scrolled waves) - surfing the mermaid craft trend, a fairytale castle, and much more. The Mushrooms and Ferns are genius – the book pages forming the “gills” of the shroom. Making them involves papier mache lite! The Charming Village makes genius use of colourful cross-stitch patterns, re-purposed to make a folk art display. The is much more here, in glorius 3-D – including a mouse peeping out of a teacup. Fun.


The Refashioned Pages section contains more delights. The piece de resistance is a Shaggy Dog – a cute terrier constructed from paper shredder strips! Other ideas include Origami Vase Slipcovers (dimensional folds for a quilted effect), Blooming Hydrangeas (no papercraft book is complete without paper flowers), Paper Weavings, embroidery on paper, and some eraser-printing.  Love the Sardines in a Can, and the Pretty Printed Feathers :)


The projects have beautifully-illustrated step-by-steps and the project photography and book design are excellent. The book itself is a keeper – it has specially-designed endpapers. Nice.


My one criticism is the fact that the book-folding templates are provided back-of-book in 50% reduction (they must be enlarged by 200% for use). Book-folding requires great precision and a spot-on folding pattern is a necessity. Enlarging the patterns from a hardback book is kind of tricky – especially if your photocopier is not up to snuff. It would have been great if the publishers had provided a link to a website from which .pdf book-folding templates could be downloaded  for use.  Instructions on how to enlarge the book-folding templates by hand are provided at the front of the book – but this will be time-consuming and requires precision. Access to full-sized templates would be a super assist! (I realize that the reduced-size of the templates is a compromise – the consequence of the desire to provide the reader with an abundance of projects to make.) 


This title is highly giftable. Its projects are an umbrella for many aspects of papercrafting – quilling, origami, book-folding (obviously), and more.

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book.