Crafts & DIY Reviews, March 1, 2012


Salisbury, Martin & Morag Styles. Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling. Laurence King, dist. by Chronicle. 2012. c.192p. illus. ISBN 9781856697385. pap. $35. ART INSTRUCTION

Salisbury (illustration, Anglia Ruskin Univ., UK) and Styles (children’s literature, Univ. of Cambridge, UK) discuss all aspects of both the theory and the practice of the hybrid art form of picture books‚ e.g., the history of picture books, visual literacy, and the children’s publishing industry. Professional case studies highlight individual works and explain particular techniques in detail. Essential for a book about picture books, this guide contains a wealth of picture book covers, page spreads, and initial sketches covering a very wide range of styles. VERDICT This book will serve as a thorough introduction to picture books for art students, education students, graphic designers, and parents.


Haab, Sherri & others. The Art of Resin Clay: Techniques and Projects for Creating Jewelry and Decorative Objects. Potter Craft: Crown Pub. Group. 2011. c.144p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780823027231. pap. $21.99. CRAFTS

Resin clay shares a number of characteristics with polymer clay, including ease of use and reasonable cost, but it isn’t as commonly used. Experienced jewelry designer Haab (The Art of Metal Clay) and her daughters, Rachel and Michelle Haab, introduce crafters to the basics of this versatile medium via a variety of jewelry projects using resin clay elements as a focal point or as a setting for other materials. The instructions include helpful photographs illustrating each step‚ ample guidance for crafters of all skill levels. VERDICT Crafters who enjoy polymer-clay projects may wish to explore the possibilities of resin clay, and this is an excellent entry point.

Pompano, Deborah. Woodburning Project & Pattern Treasury: Create Your Own Pyrography Art with 70 Mix-and-Match Designs. Fox Chapel. 2011. c.175p. illus. index. ISBN 9781565234826. pap. $24.95. CRAFTS

Wood burning‚ drawing a design on wood with a special tool‚ can produce stunning works of art. Pompano, an artist whose love of nature drew her to wood burning, guides novices through basic tools and techniques, including selecting the appropriate materials and designing distinctive artworks. Much of the book is devoted to projects, including several beginner projects designed to introduce basic concepts, as well as a pattern treasury featuring mix-and-match elements and fully realized projects. VERDICT Pompano’s expertise combined with the comprehensive information and wide variety of projects make this a fine addition to library collections.

do it yourself

Chappell, Steve. Advanced Timber Framing: Joinery, Design & Construction of Compound Hip & Valley Timber Frame Roof Systems; or, The Seven Planes of Compound Joinery. Fox Maple. Apr. 2012. c.352p. illus. index. ISBN 9781889269030. $68. DIY

Have you observed and admired inside a historic building the beautiful network of exposed timber? Chappell, founder of a school on traditional building, explores in detail the history and technique of hip and valley roof framing. Because his guide wades into overly complicated philosophy and mathematical theory, Chappell’s approach distracts from construction. Instructions for these complex framing styles are bewildering and complex, and the entire book suffers from poor organization and confusing asides. VERDICT Not for general public libraries; academic libraries may be interested, as this is an underrepresented method. Tedd Benson’s Timberframe is a more approachable alternative.

Gilpatrick, Gil. Building Outdoor Gear: Easy-To-Make Projects for Camping, Fishing, Hunting, and Canoeing. 2d ed. Fox Chapel. 2012. c.128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781565234840. pap. $19.95. DIY

In this revised edition, Gilpatrick (Building a Strip Canoe ) includes better-developed instructions and new illustrations for the nine projects. The pack frame, canoe accessories, trip box, saw, and reflector oven are particularly useful for campers. Peppered among the projects are camping advice and recipes; instructions for caning (weaving thin strips of cane or flexible wood for chairs) and using fiberglass for boat building are included. VERDICTWhile a bigger selection of projects would have been appreciated, this original collection fills a niche and features solid instructions. Pair it with A.J. Hamler’s Civil War Woodworking, which showcases timeless projects for camp living. Recommended for outdoorspeople and backpackers.

fiber crafts

The Best of Knit Along with Debbie Macomber. Leisure Arts. 2012. c.208p. illus. ISBN 9781609003920. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS

This collection of patterns drawn from the publisher’s popular Knit Along with Debbie Macomber series features a variety of adult and children’s garments and accessories, all inspired by characters and events in Macomber’s novels. Most of the projects require only basic knitting skills, but a few include simple lace, cable, or color-work techniques (directions are included). A brief stitch dictionary and a guide to knitting techniques round out the package. VERDICT The beginner-friendly patterns and ties to Macomber’s popular novels will appeal to many knitters.

Ohrenstein, Dora. Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit. Lark: Sterling. 2012. c.144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781600597985. pap. $22.95. FIBER CRAFTS

One of the joys of custom-made clothing is the ability to adjust the fit to the recipient. Crochet designer Ohrenstein ( Creating Crochet Fabric>) introduces crocheters to the basic elements of fit and provides guidance for customizing sweaters based on individual measurements. Ten projects, presented as individual lessons on basic elements of fit and customization, are included, with written and charted directions. VERDICT There are plenty of books on customizing knitted sweaters, but this is the first book tailored toward custom-fitting crocheted sweaters. Though fit-to-flatter is universal, crocheters will appreciate the focus on their craft‚ as well as the patterns.

Storey, Martin. Aran Knits: 23 Contemporary Designs Using Classic Cable Patterns. Griffin: St. Martin’s. 2012. c.136p. illus. ISBN 9780312642211. pap. $24.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Richly textured sweaters and accessories are the focus of Storey’s ( Nordic Knits ) latest collection, which takes motifs and design elements from traditional Aran fishermen’s sweaters and transforms them into contemporary fashion. The designs range in complexity from a simple cardigan with a cabled waistband and cuffs to a fully cabled and beaded shrug and include items for both men and women. Directions for all specialty stitches are included, but knowledge of basic knitting stitches and skills is assumed.VERDICT Aran knitting is perpetually popular, and Storey’s collection has broad appeal thanks to the wide variety of designs.

interior design

Caballero, Roberto & Elizabeth V. Reyes (text) & Luca Invernizzi Tettoni (photogs.). Decorating with Flowers. Tuttle. Mar. 2012. c.240p. photogs. ISBN 9780804842327. $44.95. INTERIOR DESIGN

Creative director Caballero and Reyes ( The Tropical House: Cutting Edge Design in the Philippines) showcase in 32 Philippine homes sophisticated floral designs created with a Western and Japanese influence by ten professional floral stylists. The authors explain the use of flowers in Philippine culture and the development of the floral industry; however, the highlights here are Tettoni’s over 300 color photographs of floral arrangements that include many traditional flowers, such as mums, asparagus ferns, and gerberas. VERDICT Recommended for those interested in modern floral and interior design, the traditional use of flowers in Philippine culture, and the history of the country’s floral industry.