Friday, 24 March 2017

The Button Box, by Lynn Knight.

The story of women in the 20thcentury, told through the clothes they wore

Lynn Knight

Vintage paperback 2017

£ 8.99 UK/$18.99 CAN

ISBN 978-0-099-59309-6

This has nothing to do with papercraft, although I have noticed that papercrafters are incredibly fond of button embellishments. Neither is this a book review – because I have not yet read this title. I am so very excited about my excellent find, I want to share it with you. This is just out in paperback. I can’t imagine I missed it when it was published in hardcover last year.

Anyhow, this is a social history of women told through the buttons in Lynn Knight’s family button box. (I had a button box – it was black and had a golden embossed swordfish on the lid... my mysterious treasure trove.) Lynn Knight has also written a bio of Clarice Cliff, the renowned (and very collectable) ceramic artist, which is also on my very long reading list. Each chapter of The Button Box has a flagship illustration of a button – jet button, shank button, toggle... :) Are you tempted to read?

This book is surfing on a lit trend – using objects as a way in to biography or social history. I heartily recommend The Real Jane Austen, a life in small things, by Paula Byrne, which was, I think, the first of its kind (all credit to Paula Byrne, admired and copied by many). Nothing papercrafty about that either, although Jane Austen had a lovely writing desk which is featured within.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Paper Stars, by Karen-Marie Fabricius. Review.

25 festive decorations for every occasion

By Karen-Marie Fabricius

Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications, Ltd.,  March 2017

Paperback, £12.99

ISBN 978-1-78494-337-0

Star rating (very appropriate!):  ****

This delightful new title from Danish papercrafter  Karen-Marie Fabricius will surely brighten your crafting day. In Denmark, paper stars are part of the festive tradition. Making paper stars is Karen-Marie’s pet project – and in this title, she shares her star-making know-how with you – folded, papercut, woven and most prominently, stars fashioned using a quilling comb. The stars would make superb party decs – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries   and come into their own at Christmastime, of course. 

The Woven Star section contains some designs you may be familiar with – the 3-D Froebel Star, made out of woven paper strips, popular mini Lucky stars (wishing stars), Swing Star (curled segments, in strips). The Origami section contains pleasing modular designs – Faaborg is a swirl of interlocking elongated triangles, Svendborg is a mind-boggling modular origami 3-D extravaganza. Many of these stars provide good opportunities for using mixed prints – always a cheerful option.  The kirigami section is perhaps the weakest (it is the least 3-D), but here you will find the neat idea of using two interlocking shapes to construct the finished star. 

The Quilling Stars are splendid. Fabulous filigreed extravaganzas. There are excellent construction step-by-steps for these (and all the projects in the book) – so you can create the stars in a methodical manner. Foolproof! Some of the stars use only the quilling comb, others use comb plus conventional quilling tool. Some are purely geometric, others are shaped into graceful organic curves.

The author had thought of everything – she has even included a tutorial on how to magic your own quilling comb out of paper and cocktail sticks, should the need (or inclination) arise. And, at the back of the book, are handy templates with grids and concentric circles, for keeping your stars on track.

Each section has a welcoming intro blurb – hygge – in which the author shares her personal take on the projects to come. A sprinkling of historical info, some personal reminiscences, suggestions for project end-use. Nicely done, and very Scandinavian on-trend .:)

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

Monday, 13 March 2017

The invention of paper

There'd be no Papercraft Post without the invention of paper. :) Here's a capsule history from the BBC:

Friday, 10 March 2017

Stitch, Fabric & Thread, by Elizabeth Healey. Review.

Stitch, Fabric & Thread

An inspirational guide for creative stitchers

By Elizabeth Healey

Search Press 2017

Paperback  £14.99 UK/ $24.99 US

ISBN 978-1-78221-285-0

Star rating: *****

Yes, I know this is a papercraft  blog – but the source of my inspiration is frequently needlecraft and this new title by Elizabeth Healey is an appreciation of many of the fabric manipulation techniques that kindle my creative fire.This lively new title covers many wonderful needlecraft specialities, including shisha mirror embroidery, Suffolk puffs, penny rugs, mola (reverse appliqué) and so much more.  All interspersed with a dash of cultural and/or historical background and super how-to tips. This book provides exactly what is says on the tin, delivering on the promise of the title's strap line.

The projects are delightful and the author successfully updates many techniques with time-saving tweaks (such as the cheat’s molas worked with felt cut-outs – no edges to turn under).

The fact that many (probably all) creative endeavours are underpinned by mathematical principles strikes fear into the hearts of many crafters – Elizabeth Healey proudly revels in this knowledge, and shares her wondrous discoveries.  She says , “I was once told that sewing is basically applied mathematics. If maths was your most hated subject at school, don’t panic”. Another gem is citing that creating a seemingly random pattern is not as easy as it sounds. Yay. 

A weekend browse of this book could send your crafting off in splendid new directions. Would also make a fab Mother’s Day gift.

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.