The Art of Craft | Wyatt’s World

While January still motivates readers to begin (or at least ponder) fresh approaches, consider displaying a wide range of books on the nature of craft.

  • Vogue® Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book; Completely Revised & Updated by Vogue Knitting Magazine Eds. (Sixth & Spring).
    One of the best titles on knitting gets a long-overdue update. This core book in the field offers instruction and inspiration for beginners and serves as a reference to even the most skilled knitter. In the same subject, do not miss Mary Scott Huff’s The Mitten Handbook: Knitting Recipes To Make Your Own.
  • Cræft: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands (Norton).
    Archaeologist and historian Langlands presents a mix of memoir, history, and meditation while providing a considered look into what it  meant (and means) to hand-make.
  • Black & Decker The Book of Home How-To: Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair & Improvement by Cool Springs Eds. (Cool Springs).
    This abundantly illustrated guide helps do-it-yourselfers fix almost anything in the home. Installing a dimmer switch might seem far from sewing a quilt, but both require knowledge and care. As the LJ review points out, this edition draws from earlier books in the “Black & Decker” series.
  • Classical Principles for Modern Design: Lessons from Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s The Decoration of Houses by Thomas Jayne (Monacelli).
    Edith Wharton on interior design. Is it a craft to style a room? Wharton’s novels and plenty of popular websites prove it is. In this lavish guide to both Wharton’s and Codman’s takes on harmonious spaces, Jayne blends their approaches with modern examples.
  • Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life by David Giffels (Scribner).
    Woodworking provides the propulsion for this keen, lyrical, and lovely memoir about loss and the role of crafting in our lives. With the idea for the unusual project of building a coffin, Giffels labors with his father on the box. The coffin serves as a metaphor for time, a concept that becomes more concrete when hardship and grief strike the family.
  • The Art and Craft of the Blacksmith: Techniques and Inspiration for the Modern Smith by Robert Thomas (Quarry: Quarto).
    With a reality TV series and an episode of PBS’s Craft in America devoted to the subjects, blacksmithing and metalworking are getting more attention. This guide includes sections on tooling, design, and the history of techniques. It also supplies projects to try and a gallery of works over which to wonder.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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