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Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes Paperback – 4 Nov 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846144477
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846144479
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Keri Smith is a best-selling author, illustrator, and thinker. Her books include Wreck this Journal, This is Not a Book, How to Be an Explorer of the World, Mess, Finish This Book, The Pocket Scavenger, Everything Is Connected, The Imaginary World of . . . as well as Wreck This App, This is Not an App, and the Pocket Scavenger app.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By dmcnabb TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book along with Wreck this Journal on recommendation of my psychology student friend who suggested it for me as I do suffer with minor obsessive compulsive disorder in the sense that I need things to be organized and perfect.
This book is very similar to Wreck this Journal, as a matter of fact some of the pages are identical, the front of the book is more about general destruction, while the latter parts of the book are more about exploration of textures, materials, different paints, colours, techniques and also tells the user to reference people, places, things etc. There is a lot of general doodling, but usually with some sort of instruction - ie photo of landscape with instructions to draw a storm of some description. I am not looking forward to burying it for 3 days! I must say! I will probably do that when I am done with it.
I love that this book is a bit more educational to artistic techniques, people etc. The beginning of the book speaks about an interview with a Dutch Sailor summing up the work of Bas Jan Ader referencing a piece called "Broken Fall" which shows a man bouncing up and down swinging on a branch over a creek. The sailor references that "moment of transcendence when you leave everything behind and leap into the unknown". I feel this book encapsulates that statement very well. There is a lot of experimentation and tasks that do not have a particularly obvious outcome, and while not dangerous, the book challenges your views on what art or perfection is. I have done a few pages and in describing them verbally it sounds like I am destroying a perfectly good book, but actually when I look at pages there are little bits and pieces on some pages I love, some I hate.
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Format: Paperback
Ok i have only just started filling this book, the first page is scary as it takes a little while to get used to being allowed to create mess! On the second page i poured coffee on the book from a height which was surprisingly fun, once you get relax and get creative this becomes a good outlet for stress and just to feel a bit silly, i do feel like i am doing something naughty and silly when making so much mess, but its definitely a good thing! Good for anyone who likes breaking the rules! Only minor flaw is that i would prefer bigger pages for making mess as the book is quite small! But there are a lot of pages and so many different ways of making mess so its not too bad!
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This is a fun and genius book. I bought for my daughter for Christmas and she had kicked it, thrown it up trees, splodged it and buried it, among many other things. She has so enjoyed it. Highly recommend.
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By julie on 13 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just completely fabulous I have issues making things that ihave purchased look like a mess but this book has pushed me into parts of my mind hat I didn't think that I would be able to access and go over!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this from being in a creative slump and needed something to do. After looking at all of them I got this one and so far done two of the pages! It is very good for boredom when I'm home alone without the kids, or even getting them in on the action with sticky fingers.

One is cover the page in glue and the other dropping any coloured liquid from a rather fun height. Best do some outside though as it can get VERY messy. There are a lot of other activities to do as well.

I have already recommended it to my friends for when they're in a creative slump (and quite a few are!) And they've said they'll look into it. I want the other three now!
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really love this whole series of books, works wonderfully in its own right but I use the ideas lots in projects with school / community groups and its such an inspiring set of springboards that can be further developed
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Sometimes watercolour painting can be infuriating because the paint never does quite what I want it to. This book is teaching me a different perspective - art does not always have to be about the perfect execution of an idea, sometimes the randomness of a 'messy bit' brings energy, freedom, or something else to a work that cannot be repeated and captures a moment in time.
Children will love the anarchy of defying conventions as this book encourages, but it's not necessarily a children's book. Frequently an exercise cites the name of an artist or art movement for further research and this opens doors to learn about a world of modern art that we might not otherwise hear of. Add to this a new found freedom that an adult artist might learn from it and you have a book for all ages.
It's great fun trying out the exercises, even if some of them are too off the wall for me I'm having a go in the spirit of challenging my inhibitions.
Some reviewers have said the book would be better if spiral bound but I disagree. Sure it would be tidier that way, but that's not in the spirit of the book. The binding is of good quality so although mine is bulging it is not falling apart. If it does then I already have a plan to spiral bind it myself, by hand, with an untidy Heath-Robinson approach.
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My daughter loves this book. Has kept her entertained during flights on holiday. Fun. Pleased I bought it for her.
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