Creative Spaces: 12 Fun and New Crafts & DIY Books

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Evenson, Susan. Drawing Calm: Relax, Refresh, Refocus with 20 Drawing, Painting, and Collage Workshops Inspired by Klimt, Klee, Monet, and More. Quarry: Quarto. Apr. 2017. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781631591488. pap. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781631594007. ART INSTRUCTION
Aiming to help diffuse everyday stress, artist Evenson’s guide walks readers through exercises and simple art projects designed to lower blood pressure, lift spirits, and increase the peace. The introduction addresses materials, workspace, and committing time to oneself for exploring creativity. Chapters with titles such as “Delight,” “Light,” “Harmony,” and “Warmth” include carefully selected works by modern master artists that establish mellow moods and serve as inspiration for projects. A section near the end offers guidance on ways to nourish creative calm, even when one is not engaged in making art. VERDICT This book has excellent crossover potential between self-help and art instruction and will appeal to readers who are fans of the Zentangle drawing and adult coloring book trends.

redstarKay, Julia L. Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World For Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles. Watson-Guptill: Crown. Apr. 2017. 224p. illus. index. ISBN 9781607749967. pap. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607749974. ART INSTRUCTION
Artist Kay’s book vibrantly showcases the work practices of an ever-expanding international community of artists. She launched a “portrait party,” via social media, where artists take turns sitting for each other’s portraits. Readers will not find any step-by-step exercises here. Instead, the book is comprised almost entirely of hundreds of examples from the portrait party group’s vigorous creativity over five years. Examples are accompanied by artists’ comments about their choices and are grouped in chapters by media, style, or theme, with additional sections on featured artists and general insights about portraiture. VERDICT Unconventional in its approach and organization, this volume will capture the imagination of readers of all skill levels.



Hamilton, Sian. Wedding Jewelry: 30 Inspirational Designs To Make. Guild of Master Craftsman. Apr. 2017. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781784943301. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS
The projects in jewelry maker Hamilton’s offering are organized into “collections,” each representing a different style—traditional pearls, vintage glamour, romantic lace, and natural beauty. Each collection includes a necklace, bracelet, brooch, and earrings, as well as one or more hair accessories (tiara, hairpins, combs). The majority of the projects feature basic techniques such as wire wrapping and bead stringing, as well as embellishing ready-made pieces such as vintage-style brooches or lace flowers. The overall look is classic white, cream, and silver, with occasional pops of color, especially in the floral collection. VERDICT Wedding crafts are a popular category, and these projects will add handmade flair to bridal accessories.



redstarCarozzi, Ingrid with Eva Nyqvist. Handpicked: Simple, Sustainable, and Seasonal Flower Arrangements. Abrams. Mar. 2017. 160p. illus. photos by Paul Brissman. ISBN 9781419723896. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781683350064. DIY
First-time author Carozzi, a professional florist and owner of Tin Can Studios in Brooklyn, here with writer Nyqvist, offers great advice and very doable projects. The section on how to prep and care for blooms is wonderfully detailed and easy to follow. Carozzi focuses on a smaller variety of flowers and foliage yet includes recommended substitutes. Arrangement projects are organized by season and contain a list of ingredients, materials, and tools. The focus on basics makes this an exceptional volume that is user-friendly and great for beginners. VERDICT This stunning, gorgeously illustrated book is highly recommended—just fabulous!

Gutierrez, Annette Goliti & Mary Gary. Potted: Make Your Own Stylish Garden Containers. Timber. May 2017. 228p. illus. index. ISBN 9781604696974. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781604698084. DIY
Container gardening can be more colorful with interesting DIY containers. In their first book, Gutierrez and Gary replicate some of the gardening pieces found in their Los Angeles garden shop, Potted. Projects include boxes made of concrete board and cinder blocks, and the use of colored tiles and incorporation of hardware and building materials. The instruction is solid, with clear illustrations and practical tips. There are some unique ideas, such as roof-vent planters and use of concrete board. However, there is not a consistent style, and a few of the designs are just surface treatments. VERDICT A good addition for those looking for unusual container designs.

Fiber Crafts


Ford, Joan. The Versatile Nine Patch: 18 Fresh Designs for a Favorite Quilt Block. Taunton. Apr. 2017. 224p. illus. index. ISBN 9781631866753. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS
The latest installment featuring Ford’s (Cut the Scraps!) popular ScrapTherapy method focuses on the nine patch, a common and versatile quilt block that can be scaled, adapted, and modified to create quilts in a variety of styles. Ford begins with a ScrapTherapy primer, which introduces the basic scrap sizes used in the patterns, as well as the optional ScrapTherapy-branded interfacing used to make sewing small scraps more accurate. The projects are the heart of the book, from quilts in a variety of sizes to home decor accessories such as bolster pillows and table runners. Each pattern includes a convenient chart that lists specific cutting instructions and scrap square quantities, as well as illustrated instructions with integrated tips and tricks. VERDICT Ford’s colorful, vintage-inspired quilts expand the notion of what “scrap quilting” can be—and the ScrapTherapy method helps quilters create their own designs without a lot of fussy quilt math.

Boutique-Sha. Happy Hexies: 12 Hand Pieced Hexagon Projects To Stitch & Love. Zakka Workshop. May 2017. 80p. tr. from Japanese by Kyoko Matthews. illus. ISBN 9781940552309. pap. $16.99. FIBER CRAFTS
The latest American release from Japanese craft publisher Boutique-Sha features hand-pieced hexagon projects in an array of vintage-style floral prints. Both English paper piecing and traditional hand-piecing techniques are introduced, followed by a series of small projects, including bags, pouches, place mats, and coasters. Each project contains a step-by-step overview of the construction as well as layout diagrams and full-size templates for cutting the hexagons. The largest project in the collection is a miniquilt, making these designs a low-commitment way to experiment with hand piecing. VERDICT Handwork is increasing in popularity among quilters, and these small, portable projects will appeal to quilters interested in getting in on this trend.

Morgan, Leonie. 40 Colorful Afghans To Crochet: A Collection of Eye-Popping Stitch Patterns, Blocks & Projects. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2017. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781250125064. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250125071. FIBER CRAFTS
Morgan (100 Colorful Granny Squares To Crochet) provides an abundance of ideas for crocheted afghans in her latest book, which includes both block-based and row-by-row designs. Bright, contrasting colors and textured stitches such as shells, bobbles, and crocodile stitch add excitement. Each design includes written and charted instructions, as well as an at-a-glance overview of the supplies required and techniques used. While much of the book is beginner-friendly, there are several designs that will interest and challenge experienced crocheters. ­VERDICT Afghans are an iconic crochet project, and this collection features plenty of styles, from traditional granny-square motifs to simple and elaborate row-based blankets.

Nerjordet, Arne & Carlos Zachrison. Field Guide to Knitted Birds: Over 40 Handmade Projects To Liven Up Your Roost. Trafalgar Square. Mar. 2017. 176p. tr. from Norwegian. illus. photos by Ragnar Hartvig. ISBN 9781570768231. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Nejordet and Zachrison, also known as Arne & Carlos, are Scandinavian knitters acclaimed for their clever, contemporary interpretations of stranded colorwork. Here they bring their trademark style to a flock of knitted and embellished birds. A simple start featuring a solid-colored bird wearing a festive scarf and hat is followed by a series of fanciful birds embroidered using duplicate stitch; realistic birds combining colorwork and duplicate stitch; birds in traditional Scandinavian-style sweaters; and rare birds of paradise embellished with beads, sequins, and feathers. Most of the creatures perch atop wire legs (instructions for building the legs are provided); an alternative placement—atop a tea cozy—is also included. ­VERDICT These delightful knitted creations will appeal to bird lovers and fans of stranded colorwork, as well as knitters who enjoy amigurumi-style projects.

Madame Zsazsa. The Skirt Emporium: Sew 25 Fun and Fabulous Designs for All Sizes and Ages, with Ideas for Many More. Search. May 2017. 160p. tr. from Dutch. illus. index. ISBN 9781782214106. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Dutch blogger Zsazsa presents numerous variations on a favorite beginner project—skirts—in this circus-themed collection of patterns for women and girls. Beginning with a basic elastic-waist skirt, She introduces additional details, such as zippers, knit-fabric waistbands, piping, and trims, to give each skirt a unique look. Patterns are provided for sizes ranging from children’s two through adult 16, with further customization possible based on Zsazsa’s suggestions. Options include pencil, A-line, wraparound, pleated, and bell skirts, as well as a maternity skirt with a stretchy panel and a girls’ skirt with a side tie. VERDICT Beginning sewists interested in exploring the basics of garment sewing will find numerous options in this fun collection.

Szkutnicka, Basia. Flats: Technical Drawing for Fashion; A Complete Guide. 2d ed. Laurence King. Feb. 2017. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781780678375. pap. $50. FIBER CRAFTS
Flats—technical drawings used in fashion design—are used by clothing designers to communicate information about a garment to manufacturers. For ready-to-wear designers, the ability to create a flat is essential to the production process, and flats are also used on pattern envelopes to provide a simple overview of a finished piece. Szkutnicka, an experienced designer and teacher, demonstrates two ways to create flats (by hand and using Adobe Illustrator) in detailed, step-by-step tutorials, followed by hints and tips for representing 3-D garments in a 2-D medium. The second section of the book features a directory of womenswear flats, demonstrating how common shapes are rendered. ­VERDICT Budding fashion designers, as well as amateurs interested in pattern design, will gain the most from this textbook-like, technical work.

Interior Design

gayle a. williamson, Fashion Inst. of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles

Buckingham, Julia with Judith Nasatir. Modernique: Inspiring Interiors Mixing Vintage and Modern Style. Abrams. Apr. 2017. 288p. photos. ISBN 9781419724817. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781683350828. INTERIOR DESIGN
Modernique is a term coined by ­Buckingham to describe the use of antique and modern furnishings in domestic interiors that defines her design aesthetic. This Midwestern designer, owner of Buckingham Interiors + Design based in Chicago and Phoenix, here with design writer Nasatir, takes the reader into her own home and those of her clients discussing this approach to interior design. More than 250 color photographs depict every room of the home, each displaying a cohesive amalgam of antiques and modern furnishings. Buckingham discusses her use of texture and color displaying monochromatic schemes with others showing a pop of rich, jewel-tone colors. VERDICT Although the mix of modern and antique is familiar, this is a well-done representation of the style of a contemporary Midwestern interior designer.

This article was published in Library Journal's June 1, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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