The Handmade Life

The Handmade Life

A Companion to Modern Crafting

Book - 2016
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Once the domain of the domestic, craft has now infiltrated every creative sphere -- including food, fashion, fine art and architecture. If this craft renaissance is indicative of a new wave of keen creatives, then this book is here to present over 30 new and old crafting techniques. Each chapter includes a short historical overview of the craft, with design notes and explanations of key techniques helping beginners to get started. Tools and methods are explored through a combination of hand-drawn illustrations and photography.
Publisher: New York : Thames & Hudson, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780500518922
0500518920
Branch Call Number: 745.5 BARRY
Characteristics: 408 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Additional Contributors: Jobson, Rebecca - Author

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truestitches
Jan 13, 2019

As Library Journal says, this is a book for "crafty dabblers". But I wouldn't recommend it. The authors seem to be suffering from severe ADHD, albeit enthusiatically. How many times do they deem one of their featured artists "brilliant"? Overuse of superlatives aside, I wonder if the artists were paid for the use of their work, or if the "exposure" of being included in this book was considered fair compensation.

The authors skim the surface of so many disciplines it seems they have gone for quantity, not quality. There is no depth to their breathless discussions of weaving, or knitting, or jewelry making, but I continued flipping through, assuming that surely there would be a generous bibliography or at least a list of recommended reading. Shockingly, there isn't.

One of the worst sins (IMO) is a common one. The section on dyeing recommends using foodstuff as dye. Yes, beets or red cabbage will impart a (very) short lived colour to fabric, but are much better eaten. Good, safe, colourfast natural dyes do exist, and there are many comprehensive and useful books on the subject.

The book design doesn't help. The layout is a list-icle writ large: every craft has a couple of pages of instruction, a couple of pages of fine artists who work in the medium, a list of tools and supplies, a page of boxes with notes intended to be helpful, a page of inspirational tips. Then it's on to the next thing.

I can't think of anyone who would buy this book. At $54 US, it is pricey. It weighs a ton, doesn't stay open on the page (useful when trying to follow instructions), offers lame projects (hanging yarn ball flowerpots, anyone?) and is exhausting rather than inspirational.

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