13 Craft Books That Will Inspire Creativity

Looking for a new and fresh bathroom idea? want to use up those old t-shirts you have laying around the house? Or do you want to take your calligraphy to the next level? no matter your creative spirit you can find a book here

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York Chelsea, David. Perspective in Action: Creative Exercises for Depicting Spatial Representation from the Renaissance to the Digital Age. Watson-Guptill. Jun. 2017. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781607749462. pap. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607749479. ART INSTRUCTION Cleverly packaged in a graphic novel format, artist Chelsea’s (Perspective! For Comic Book Artists) book covers all aspects of simple perspective drawing and depicts its more complex applications. Step-by-step sketching exercises, craft projects, and experiments re-creating historical breakthroughs in the form. This guide shows how to draw in one-, two-, three-, six-, and multiple-point perspective and how to build a camera obscura, an Ames room, and a cabinet of wonder. A chapter on motion perspective demystifies the science behind realistic animation. Chapters on distorted perspective and stereo vision are also included. ­VERDICT This fun-to-read guide is best suited to readers of intermediate artistic skill level. redstarOwen, Imogen. Modern Calligraphy Workshop: The Creative Art of Pen, Brush and Chalk Lettering. Quadrille. Apr. 2017. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781849499071. pap. $19.99. ART INSTRUCTION Owen, a letterpress artist and recent convert to calligraphy, presents a playful take on more traditional forms of calligraphic hand lettering. The introduction discusses tools, materials, and workspace. The next section lays out basic techniques, including letter form practice; pen handling; use of color; and brush vs. hand lettering. The final chapter is full of project ideas including wedding invitations; personalized stationery; home decor; labels of all kinds; and gift wrap. A surprising variety of alphabet samples are shown. Owen also shares many fanciful vintage labels from her personal collection, explaining which aspects she finds most inspiring. ­VERDICT Artists of intermediate or advanced skill level will find this sophisticated guide a perfect resource that also speaks straightforwardly enough to beginners.



Fabricius, Karen-Marie. Paper Stars: 25 Festive Decorations for Every Occasion. Guild of Master Craftsman. Apr. 2017. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781784943370. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS Danish paper crafter ­Fabricius brings years of experience to this collection of paper stars created using a variety of techniques, including traditional and comb quilling, folding (origami and kirigami), and weaving. The presentation is learn-as-you go, with Fabricius introducing new approaches via the primarily intermediate- to advanced-level projects, with a few exceptions, particularly in the kirigami section. Tutorials for basic quilling techniques, as well as making a DIY quilling comb, are included. VERDICT The buffet of papercrafting techniques, combined with a popular and versatile theme, make this book a solid choice for crafters interested in sampling an array of methods. Legenhausen, Courtney. Fashion Jewelry: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Making. Lark Crafts: Sterling. Jun. 2017. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454710325. pap. $21.95. CRAFTS In this introductory guide to jewelry techniques, professional jewelry designer Legenhausen showcases her expertise. After teaching the basics, she delves more deeply into core techniques, such as finishing ends, pearl knotting, and working with jump rings. These core techniques are reinforced and expanded upon via a series of projects featuring beginner-level bead stringing, wire wrapping, knotting, and metalwork. The steps of each project, with styles ranging from laid-back boho glam to modern minimalism, are illustrated with close-up color photographs. VERDICT Beginners interested in a pictorial guide to basic jewelrymaking techniques with simple yet stylish projects will find this appealing.



redstarCalvo, Janit. The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World. Timber. May 2017. 248p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781604697018. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781604698091. DIY This title is a natural companion to artist and gardener Calvo’s delightful first book, Gardening in Miniature. The projects are organized and themed by country (America, Britain, Japan, etc.), with additional fantasy options (fairy, gnome, etc.) available for each miniature diorama. Each includes step-by-step photos and instructions, starting off with a tool and materials list. Many projects feature purchased miniature pieces, such as furniture and architecture elements. Others are original constructions. VERDICT This fun, strongly recommended book gives miniature enthusiasts the opportunity to customize their minigardens with unique scenes and pieces. A great complement to Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow’s Tiny World Terrariums or Clea Cregan’s Miniscapes. Purdy, Strother. Doormaking: Materials, Techniques, and Projects for Building Your First Door. Linden. Jun. 2017. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781610352918. pap. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781610353106. DIY A custom-made door is a unique accent to any home. Woodworker Purdy (Traditional Box Projects) walks readers through the process of doormaking. After introducing materials, fasteners, hardware, and installation, nine door projects follow. The book ends with a gallery of door designs, both domestic and foreign. Readers should look elsewhere for tool instruction, however, and more attention to modifications for accessibility would have been useful. That said, this book has few competitors, with instruction that is sufficient for an intermediate woodworker. VERDICT Recommended for collections serving homebuilders and advanced woodworkers.

Fiber Crafts


Barnden, Betty. 350+ Knitting Tips, Techniques, and Trade Secrets: How To Be Better at What You Do. rev. ed. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2017. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781250125125. pap. $22.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250125132. FIBER CRAFTS This updated edition adds more than 150 knitting tips to Barnden’s 2008 guide, starting with basic information about selecting yarn, needles, and notions, and proceeding through the design process, basic and advanced stitches and techniques, embellishing knits, and assembling larger pieces such as sweaters. Each “tip” focuses on a specific technique, such as picking up stitches on a curved edge, or a specific stitch pattern, such as a honeycomb cable. The tips are brief, but they provide enough information for knitters to gain a general understanding of the topic. VERDICT This is a solid, basic reference; knitters interested in a reference with more depth may prefer Debbie Bliss’s The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge. redstarConahan, Gillian . The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming. Abrams. Apr. 2017. 208p. illus. photos by Karen Pearson. index. ISBN 9781419723964. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781683350095. FIBER CRAFTS In her free time, Vogue Patterns editor Conahan is a cosplayer, and her first book combines her extensive sewing skills with her passion for cosplay. The patterns feature individual pieces that can be combined, remixed, and adapted for a variety of uses, as well as full costumes for popular cosplay styles, including three variations on a superhero, a Lord of the Rings–style elf, and anime/manga-inspired ensembles. Pullout pattern sheets feature traceable patterns in men’s and women’s sizes XS–XL, and directions for basic fit modifications are included. Throughout, Conahan is honest about the time and effort required to sew her designs, but the result is worth it. VERDICT Cosplay is extraordinarily popular, and Conahan’s professional-level overview of the design and sewing process is the most thorough and detailed on the market. Conner, Lindsay & Carla Hegeman Crim. The T-Shirt Quilt Book: Create One-of-a-Kind Keepsakes; Make 8 Projects or Design Your Own. C&T. Jun. 2017. 80p. illus. ISBN 9781617455308. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS Conner (Modern Bee) and Crim (­Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes) explore tips and techniques for incorporating T-shirts and other knit fabrics into quilts. The authors note the differences between working with knits and with woven fabrics, including suggestions for interfacing and cutting T-shirt fabric. Once they master the basics, quilters can follow the authors’ tips for designing their own unique quilt or apply one of the eight projects included in the book. The projects go beyond the usual square- or rectangle-based designs, incorporating traditional blocks in both small and large scale as well as fusible appliqué and patchwork blocks and borders. VERDICT This book provides both guidance and creative inspiration. Hoey, Aneela. Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases, Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions & More. Stash: C&T. Jun. 2017. 112p. illus. ISBN 9781617455100. pap. $26.95. FIBER CRAFTS Artist and fabric designer Hoey (Little Stitches) is known in the sewing world for her cute, quirky designs. In this project collection, she provides patterns and instructions for organizers in a variety of styles, from simple needlebooks and pincushions to zippered pouches and totes. Some of the projects will be familiar to sewists with experience in bag making, while others, such as the triple pouch, present a new spin on storage. Though the organizers are designed to store sewing supplies, they’re not limited to that purpose, making them useful gift projects as well. VERDICT ­Sewists looking for clever ways to use up their stash and organize their supplies will find numerous options here. Jensen, Lynette. Thimbleberries Quilts with a New Attitude: 23 Tried and True Quilt Designs Made in Both Traditional and Modern Fabrics. Landauer. Mar. 2017. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781935726920. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS Traditional and modern quilting coexist peacefully in this side-by-side collection of projects by Jensen, the designer behind the popular Thimbleberries line of quilting fabrics. With her trademark detailed cutting and piecing instructions and diagrams, Jensen presents traditional designs first, followed by a modern interpretation that uses fabrics from Cotton & Steel. While there are minor differences between the two designs, the assembly is similar. What transforms the quilts is the difference in fabrics used, with the traditional quilts featuring a muted palette and the modern quilts focusing on bold, graphic, high-contrast colors. VERDICT The patterns in this collection may make quilters from both sides of the aesthetic fence realize that both traditional and modern quilting are more similar than they may seem. Mooncie, Vanessa. The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage-Style Projects for the Modern Man. Guild of Master Craftsman. Apr. 2017. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781861087478. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS Mooncie, popular for her knit and crochet books (e.g., Animal Hats), delves into menswear in her latest sewing book. The projects are divided into three sections: daywear, featuring both professional and casual attire; night attire, which includes pajamas, a robe, and slippers; and accoutrements, which covers accessories. Timeless, tailored construction elevates even the casual pieces to bespoke-level quality, and the instructions divide the projects into brief, understandable steps. Patterns in three sizes—small, medium, and large—are included on pullout sheets. The appendix includes a measurement chart. VERDICT Menswear sewing books are somewhat uncommon, but the limited pattern sizes here also restricts the options, especially for larger sizes.

Interior Design

Gayle a. Williamson, Fashion Inst. of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles

Gold, Jamie. Taunton’s New Bathroom Idea Book. Taunton. May 2017. 224p. photos. ISBN 9781631864056. pap. $21.95. INTERIOR DESIGN Whether constructing an additional bathroom or freshening up an existing one, designer Gold (New Kitchen Ideas that Work) provides homeowners with all the basics, including when to do-it-yourself or hire a professional, the spatial clearances needed for bathroom fixtures, and the variety of decorating styles. Information about the types of tubs, sinks, toilets, faucets, etc., are illustrated in more than 300 color photographs of professionally designed spaces. In addition, Gold features trends for the bath, such as fireplaces and entertainment systems. Although the majority of the featured bathrooms are decidedly modern, newly built designs, Gold does supply tips on sprucing up existing spaces. VERDICT This practical look at contemporary baths will delight amateur designers looking for inspiration.

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