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Reviews Written by
neverendings "ex libris"

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Paper Crafts Visual Quick Tips
Paper Crafts Visual Quick Tips
by Rebecca Ludens
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: £11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Scrapbookers only, 14 July 2012
If you are a scrapbooker, this book is an invaluable resource book of techniques to follow and adapt in your (family-oriented) projects.

If you are not a scrapbooker, you may find it difficult to see past the very home-y and middle-brow presentation of what is actually quite a good collection of papercraft ideas. I do literally shudder when I see some of the photos, but some of the ideas are quite adaptable.

However, 'Alphabetica' by Lynne Perella, and any number of bookmaking books will give you the same information in a much more creatively palatable fashion, so if scrapbooking is not your cup of tea, it's probably best to give this one a miss.


Alternacrafts: 20+Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make
Alternacrafts: 20+Hi-Style Lo-Budget Projects to Make
by Jessica Vitkus
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: £10.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alternatively, buy a different book, 14 July 2012
Great idea for a book, focusing on traditional craft techniques but using recycled stuff to make projects affordable and eco-friendly. Problem is, the DIY punk ethic really falls flat when you're sewing little hearts and flowers onto everything. A lot of the techniques used (stamping, rag rugging, collage) have the potential to create something really cool & innovative. I guess the projects are just a bit more light and airy, erring towards a more country-crafts style than I had anticipated from the cover. I'm all for the handmade ethic, but these examples just look amateur, not funky craftster.

This book might give some inspiration to a creative type who can use the ideas in more original ways; or it would be good for entertaining bored but creative teenagers. Overall, though, it just really fails to hit the mark. Buy 'Readymade' by Shoshana Berger, or 'DIY' by Ellen Lupton, instead.


Make Spectacular Books - Print on Demand Edition: Fabulous Fabric, Skewer and Folded Books (Create & Treasure (C&T Publishing))
Make Spectacular Books - Print on Demand Edition: Fabulous Fabric, Skewer and Folded Books (Create & Treasure (C&T Publishing))
by Sue Astroth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly not at all spectacular, 14 July 2012
If you specifically want to learn how to make books with fabric-covered covers (not books made out of fabric), most basic bookbinding books will show you how - just use your own choice of fabric, wherever it specifies 'book cloth'. ('The Bookbinding Handbook' by Sue Doggett and 'Handmade Books' by Heather Weston both cover this, and 'Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists' by Kay Greenlees gives some far more creative variations.)

The examples in this book are filled with plain paper pages, with occasional folding variations. The fabrics on the cover are just treated as decorative paper might be in another book on bookbinding: there's nothing original here that you won't find covered with more variations in every other book about bookbinding I have seen.

The only reason I can think that someone might want to buy this book over any other on the subject is if they are into scrapbooking, and want guidance on how to make similarly generically-styled books as those illustrated within these pages. Recommended for scrapbookers only.


Mixed-Media Journals: Creatively Chronicling Your Life
Mixed-Media Journals: Creatively Chronicling Your Life
by Katherine Duncan Aimone
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite outside of the box, 14 July 2012
There's something slightly generic about scrapbooking and journaling project books. Even though this one introduces lots of different techniques which could be applied creatively in all sorts of contexts, the resulting examples still seem very generic to me, if a little more creatively explored. On the other hand, it does make it a good stepping stone for somebody more used to scrapbooking who is looking for more interesting techniques to experiment with, without stepping completely outside of their comfort zone.

I don't want to be unduly harsh, because actually, it is an interesting book. The projects don't lead you through step by step every step of the way, but introduce different techniques, and explain how and why an artist has used them in the illustrated example. It's up to the individual reader/artist to interpret those ideas in their own way.

At the end of the day, it's just not quite my 'thing' but for people with a different aesthetic sense, it has lots of ideas ripe for the picking. My favourite journaling book remains 'Mixed Media Nature Journals' by L.K. Ludwig.


Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle
Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle
by Susan Wasinger
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Style on an eco-friendly shoestring, 14 July 2012
It's very fashionable to be eco-friendly, and craft books that embody those eco-conscious ethics are springing up all over the place. Luckily, this is one of the really good ones, full of original ideas that could actually be put into practice, and actually look pretty good. Focusing up on re-purposing existing 'rubbish', it also encompasses a wide range of techniques that make it a fun book to dip into.

Some of my favourite projects include the knitted rag rug, made out of yarn cut from old felted sweaters, bamboo trays, papier mache bowls, seed balls, melded carrier bag lunch bags - actually too many more to mention! One or two projects fall a little short & just look like a school craft project (newspaper drawer dividers, for example); but on the whole, this is a very stylish book that will inspire lots of new ideas.


Collagraphs and Mixed Media Printmaking (Printmaking Handbook)
Collagraphs and Mixed Media Printmaking (Printmaking Handbook)
by Brenda Hartill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not practical for a beginner, 14 July 2012
A collagraph is a fascinating form of printmaking, using collage techniques to create a textured printing surface. Surprisingly, there is very little available on the subject, which means this book corners a very niche market.

A few technique processes are shown, but to anybody not very familiar already with printmaking techniques, terminology and materials, these aren't sufficient for a beginner to follow. For anybody with access to a print studio, this is a more practical purchase.

For anybody interested in the idea of collagraph in any context, though, this is an inspiring book, full of examples of artists' work, with commentaries exploring materials, techniques, and inspiration.


Micro Mosaics: Innovative Mini and Micro Mosaics to Wear, Use and Carry
Micro Mosaics: Innovative Mini and Micro Mosaics to Wear, Use and Carry
by Angie Weston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tiny but traditional, 14 July 2012
I was a bit disappointed to find that only a couple of designs in this book use 'alternative' rather than traditional mosaic materials. I thought the glass seed beads were really effective, and likewise the shells had created a wonderfully original effect. But even though the rest of the designs use traditional glass or ceramic mosaic tiles, they are still very striking, and provide lots of original ideas for presentation (and of course the creative crafter can interpret the traditional ideas using the alternative techniques used for the different projects, anyway).

If you like the idea of mosaic but don't want to invest the time or money into a large project, these are brilliant ideas to get your foot in the water.


Mixed-media Jewellery: Methods and Techniques (Design and Make)
Mixed-media Jewellery: Methods and Techniques (Design and Make)
by Joanne Haywood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible inspiration & original ideas, 14 July 2012
The wonderful thing about mixed media is that anything goes. 'Found' objects and 'ephemera' take centre stage, and making use of otherwise disposable items is as eco-friendly as it gets (depending on which finishing materials you use). Hurrah! I find that a lot of mixed media/altered art/collage books have quite a same-y style. I really like this book because it is truly different and original: it's fun and funky, without resorting to generic, tried-and-tested formulas, but also without slipping too far in the opposite direction and lacking edge. This is a book for artists and crafters who like to experiment.

I have found some of the books in this series by A & C Black too arty and academic (for me); but this one really strikes the right balance. There are techniques described that I'm sure are beyond me, yet many of the projects are appealing and look achievable. The small section design principles and sketchbooks, combined with the gallery pieces, provide genuine inspiration, showing the processes involved, and the wide range of end results that is possible. Brief interviews with the artists are also illuminating in terms of understanding both thought & practical processes.

This is an accessible book of ideas, with clear step-by-step sections to learn techniques. Not for the beginner who needs to be led through every detail of every process, but a wonderful introduction to mixed media for anyone interested in creativity. It's appeal should also not be limited just to jewellery makers, as the ideas could provide inspiration for all kinds of alternative adaptations.


Heavenly Handmade Bags: Over 25 Designs To Stitch, Knit, Embroider, And Embellish: Over 25 Designs to Stitch, Knit, Embroider & Embellish
Heavenly Handmade Bags: Over 25 Designs To Stitch, Knit, Embroider, And Embellish: Over 25 Designs to Stitch, Knit, Embroider & Embellish
by Sue Hawkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Embroidery rather than sewing projects, 14 July 2012
This curious collection of projects is really aimed more at the embroiderer than the seamstress, with the majority being embellished with or constructed of canvaswork, or cross stitch. There are some beaded designs, but if you are looking for a book about sewing bags, this one is more about embroidering and embellishing gift-y bags rather than different sewing patterns.

My favourite patterns are for the tooth fairy and elf bags, although the beaded peacock feather purse is also stunning. On the whole, though, the patterns in this book don't do very much for me. They cover a broad range of tastes, but they definitely don't have much edge to them. I prefer my crafts a little less perfect - a good book for somebody else, though...!


Making Handmade Books
Making Handmade Books
by Alisa Golden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.88

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice collection from my favourite book artist, 14 July 2012
This review is from: Making Handmade Books (Paperback)
Just a word of warning, if you already have Golden's earlier books, 'Creating Handmade Books' and/or 'Expressive Handmade Books' you will find most of the projects duplicated in this great value collection. I love the adaptable ideas presented in Ms. Golden's books, although I personally prefer the more personal tone of 'Creating Handmade Books' which has background information on the author's own book art creation processes as well as just the practical instructions.

In response to the negative review for this title, it should be noted that Alisa Golden is a book artist rather than a bookbinder, so her books are not recommended for those seeking practical advice or contemporary twists on traditional techniques. Instead, her ideas will be helpful to those wanting to start out in basic bookbinding (pamphlet-style) or want to use creative booklets as a base, element of or accessory to their artwork.


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