Crafts & DIY Reviews, October 15, 2011


HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Bammes, Gottfried. Complete Guide to Life Drawing. Search, dist. by IPG. 2011. 312p. illus. ISBN 9781844486908. pap. $35. ART INSTRUCTION This practical guide is organized around the human anatomy with considerable attention devoted to proportion of the figure and how to portray bodies in motion and at rest. Bammes (The Artist’s Guide to Human Anatomy) emphasizes the many drawings and illustrations of various styles packed tightly onto each page and allows them to do most of the explanatory work. Minimal text descriptions accompany the figure drawing examples, offering the reader necessary advice and highlighting technique. This guide will be most effective for serious intermediate and advanced artists who wish to improve their life drawing skills.

Cooper, William T. Capturing the Essence: Techniques for Bird Artists. Yale Univ. 2011. 128p. illus. ISBN 9780300176261. pap. $42. ART INSTRUCTION Cooper, a seasoned professional artist, offers here a concise yet complete discussion of all aspects of drawing and painting birds. Basics like bird anatomy, materials, and sketching are covered in the first half of the book, while the latter half provides several finished painting projects. This book will be useful for experienced and beginner artists alike. Birdwatchers may also be interested, whether they wish to take up a related hobby or simply enjoy the book’s lushly detailed illustrations.


Jubb, Robert. Carving Japanese Netsuke for Beginners. Guild of Master Craftsman, dist. by Sterling. Nov. 2011. 175p. illus. index. ISBN 9781861086938. pap. $21.95. CRAFTS Netsuke‚ a traditional Japanese craft that originated in the 1600s‚ are popular today as miniature works of art. Jubb, a veteran woodcrafter who both collects and creates netsuke, introduces readers to the fine art of carving them. Many of the tools and materials will be familiar to woodworkers, so Jubb’s main focus is on technique, including basic styles and shapes. Several different netsuke are presented from start to finish with step-by-step directions, and Jubb provides an inspirational gallery of objects created by master netsuke carvers. The creations featured in this book are striking; inter mediate and advanced woodworkers will find both inspiration and instruction here.


How To Make Workbenches & Shop Storage Solutions: 28 Projects To Make Your Workshop More Efficient. Fox Chapel. (American Woodworker). 2011. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9781565235953. pap. $24.95. DIY In this compilation of workshop storage projects and tables, a variety of contributors from American Woodworker magazine pre sent solid workbench and table designs as well as construction for bins, racks, and other storage pieces. Not for the beginner, this guide is aimed at the experienced woodworker who is serious about an efficient and tidy workshop. There are a number of great projects not seen elsewhere, such as two folding shop tables and other clever pieces that serve double duty. Professional tips and a detailed section on vises round out the coverage. There is something here for every workshop; recommended.


Prain, Leanne (text) & Jeff Christenson (photogs.). Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery. Arsenal Pulp, dist. by Consortium. Oct. 2011. c.408p. illus. index. ISBN 9781551524061. pap. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS Prain (Yarn Bombing) examines the world of embroidery in her second book, a collection of artist profiles, unusual projects, and useful tutorials for beginners and experts alike. While Prain’s focus is on free-form embroidery, where stitches are not counted and the artist may use a variety of materials beyond the standard needle and thread, she also includes information and projects for stitchers interested in exploring other forms of embroidery. Part art book, part guide to the art of embroidery, this hefty, lavishly illustrated work is highly recommended for embroidery collections.

Steege, Gwen W. The Knitter’s Life List. Storey. Oct. 2011. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 9781603429962. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS Developing expertise in knitting involves more than mastering a toolbox of techniques. Using a things every knitter should do, experience, or learn format, craft book editor Steege presents a wealth of information about the art of knitting, including articles about knitting history, profiles of and interviews with well-known knitters, explorations of knitting materials both commonplace and rare, and discussions of technique. The information is shared in quick bites; few of the articles are more than a page long, but they serve as jumping-off points for further exploration. Knitters looking to explore their favorite craft will enjoy Steege’s adventurous approach.


Lovell, Suzanne with Marc Kristal. Artistic Interiors: Designing with Fine Art Collections. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Oct. 2011. c.256p. photogs. ISBN 9781584799368. $60. INTERIOR DESIGN Visiting a dozen of her commissions, primarily in the Chicago area, architect and interior designer Lovell describes how she integrates her clients’ existing art collections with her own take on interior design as well as the principles she uses to suggest art for her clients’ taste. Over 150 color photographs show living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, baths, kitchens, and home offices. Lists of artists whose work is featured and of recommended artists are included. With many interior design books concentrating on East and West Coast homes, this book will have a special appeal to those looking for a sophisticated point of view in Midwestern abodes.

Anna Katterjohn About Anna Katterjohn

Anna Katterjohn ( is Managing Editor for the LJ Book Review and assigns books on performing arts, cooking, home economics, and crafts.