Creating Something New!

Follow easy-to-grasp language & step-by-step drawing exercises to help create tonal or color drawings of still lifes, landscapes, city scenes, and even a self-portrait; work on your patch work with well-known techniques such as sashiko, trapunto, and English paper piecing; and gather ideas on using the patterns and colors found in nature—such as wood, water, and soil—as the basis for creating one’s own home interiors

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

redstarAllison, Christine. Drawing: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner. Guild of Master Craftsman. Feb. 2018. 96p. illus. index. ISBN 9781784943882. pap. $14.95. ART INSTRUCTION Drawing expert and sketchbook master Allison’s guide is aimed at beginners—those who feel they cannot draw or are skeptical they would ever be able to learn how. The author achieves her goal by explaining techniques in thoughtful yet easy-to-grasp language over the course of ten step-by-step drawing exercises and several short articles on areas of special focus, such as inspiration and observation. The exercises, which resemble a cooking recipe format, walk readers through creating their own tonal or color drawings of still lifes, landscapes, city scenes, interiors, and even a self-portrait. Drawings use both life and photos as source material. VERDICT There is enough advice and encouragement here to get readers of beginning artistic skill level started drawing. Eiseman, Leatrice. The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition: Expert Color Information for Professional Results. Rockport: Quarto. 2017. 216p. illus. index. ISBN 9781631592966. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781631594441. ART INSTRUCTION Pantone is a popular standardized color matching system that has been used by artists, designers, and manufacturers around the world for more than 50 years. This intriguing reference volume draws upon the expertise of the Pantone Color Institute and its executive director Eiseman, the author of this updated edition of Color Harmony. Short essays on terminology; the science of color; color perception; color temperature; the psychology of color; color trend forecasting; and color names bracket the main section on color and mood. Sample color combinations are used to create 30 distinct moods, such as “earthy,” “powerful,” or “delicate,” showing precise proportions and Pantone numbers for easy matching and reproduction. VERDICT Anyone who works with color creatively or professionally will find this guide fascinating and helpful.



Branam, Steve. Hand Tool Basics: Woodworking Tools & How To Use Them. Popular Woodworking. Jan. 2018. 272p. illus. index. ISBN 9781440348907. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781440348921. DIY Use of traditional hand tools for woodworking has seen growing appeal. ­Branam, a first-time author and woodworker, provides almost encyclopedic coverage of traditional woodworking tools in this book. Sections cover saws, planes, chisels, and marking tools. Application, care, and sharpening are described in great detail, as are the sections on wood preparation and joinery. Unfortunately, the photos, while numerous, are inadequate: they’re too small, dark, and indistinct. Also lacking is any list of suppliers or resources. VERDICT While the illustrations are poor, there is great instruction. Advanced woodworkers should have little problem finding their way through the book but beginners might want to start with Monte Burch’s Tool School. Miller, Brian & Marci Crestani . The Art of Coloring Wood: A Woodworker’s Guide to Understanding Dyes and Chemicals. Linden. 2017. 144p. photos by Marc Carter. ISBN 9781610353052. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781610353236. DIY Get better wood finishes through chemistry. This specialized manual by Miller, an instructor and woodworker, and Crestani, a writer, focuses on wood coloring. A small selection of wood varieties show the effects of different applications. Beautiful applications include grain filling and glazing. However, instructions for each dye or chemical lack any sort of illustration to aid the user. Included is a short troubleshooting chapter. VERDICT Despite its specialization, too many elements are lacking in this book. Finishing Wood by the editors of Fine Woodworking is more comprehensive and could be used to make up for the shortfalls here. Only for advanced woodworkers.

Fiber Crafts


Gillman, Rayna. Create Your Own Improv Quilts: Modern Quilting with No Rules & No Rulers. C&T. 2017. 96p. illus. ISBN 9781617454448. pap. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617454455. FIBER CRAFTS Veteran quilt artist Gilman (Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts) guides quilters through the process of designing and creating improv quilts in this handy book. The content is split evenly between design skills, such as understanding color, movement, and layout, and sewing techniques, including clever methods for sewing improvisational blocks. There aren’t any patterns—in true improv quilting fashion, ­Gilman provides jumping-off points, and it’s up to the quilter to create their own masterpiece. Improv requires an experimental streak, and Gilman isn’t afraid to show off her mistakes, explaining why the quilt didn’t work out as expected and providing useful hints for quilters to troubleshoot their own problem pieces. VERDICT Improv quilting continues to be a hot topic among modern quilters, and this guide provides a thoughtful, concise, and design-centered approach. Holland, Sharon. Utility-Style: Quilts for Everyday Living. Landauer. 2017. 80p. illus. ISBN 9781935726975. pap. $18.95. FIBER CRAFTS Unlike show quilts, which often seem too precious to use, quilt pattern designer Holland’s creations are for everyday use, with a focus on simplicity and easy piecing. The 12 projects in this book range in size from table runners and baby quilts to queen-size quilts, but most can be made larger or smaller by changing the number of blocks sewn. The cutting and ­assembly instructions are straightforward and include diagrams for many of the steps. The simplicity of the piecing allows the quilting to shine, and Holland includes suggested machine-quilting designs for most of the items, as well as tutorials for hand quilting and hand-tying. VERDICT Quilters of all skill levels who are looking for unfussy designs and cozy comfort will be drawn to this collection. Keen, Sarah. 50 Knitted Dolls. Guild of Master Craftsman. 2017. 224p. illus. index. ISBN 9781784943462. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS The latest collection of tiny knitted figurines from prolific designer Keen (Topsy-Turvy Knitted Dolls) features a variety of customizable six-inch dolls well suited to creative play or decoration. Included are holiday-themed figures, such as Santa Claus, a variety of athletes, including tennis and soccer players, professionals (doctor, nurse, artist), a fairy, and a princess. Each doll is made with DK-weight yarn, and knitters can customize skin color, hair color, and clothing as they choose. The dolls are constructed in small sections that are sewn together, and basic knitting skills, such as increasing, decreasing, and seaming, are required—a brief refresher is provided. VERDICT Knitters looking for cute, cheery toys will find plenty of choices here. Mooncie, Vanessa. Sewn Animal Heads: Trophy Heads To Stitch. Guild of Master Craftsman. Jan. 2018. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781784943646. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS Sewing takes the stage in Mooncie’s second book of faux-taxidermy animal-head trophies (her first, Animal Heads, focused on crocheted pieces). Included are 15 different heads, ranging from familiar domestic and farm animals such as cats, horses, rabbits, and pigs to exotic wildlife such as elephants, giraffes, and crocodiles. Each animal head features illustrated instructions that walk through the intricate construction process. ­Mooncie’s creative use of fabrics, including repurposed garments, gives the projects dimension, texture, and color. An overview of basic sewing skills, as well as photocopier-friendly patterns, are included in an appendix. VERDICT Experienced sewists can take a walk on the wild side with these clever projects. Victoria and Albert Museum. Patchwork & Quilting: A Maker’s Guide. Thames & Hudson. Jan. 2018. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9780500293263. pap. $24.95. FIBER CRAFTS The second Maker’s Guide from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum focuses on world traditions of patchwork and quilting, with both historical and contemporary examples of a variety of approaches. Divided thematically, it covers running-stitch quilting, stuffed and padded quilting, geometric patchwork, freeform patchwork, and appliqué, and includes a brief introductory chapter discussing tools, materials, and basic stitches. Well-known techniques such as sashiko, trapunto, and English paper piecing are described alongside lesser-known methods such as Indian kantha, Korean jogakbo, and Panamanian mola. A sample project follows the discussion of each technique. VERDICT The combination of diverse techniques, as well as the international scope, makes this an excellent guide for crafters interested in the history and traditions of quilting. Pumphrey, Linda. Red & White Quilting: An Iconic Tradition in 40 Blocks. Fons & Porter. 2017. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781440247446. pap. $27.99. w/CD. FIBER CRAFTS The classic combo of red and white takes center stage in this collection of blocks and quilts from master quiltmaker and quilt historian Pumphrey (Mountain Mist Historical Quilts). Most of the blocks are based on historic quilts from the 19th and early 20th century, when Turkey red fabric was popular among quilters—but there’s nothing quaint or retro about the timeless designs, which include both intricate appliqué and bold geometrics. Familiar blocks such as Ohio star, snowball, and drunkard’s path are presented alongside the more obscure such as princess feather and carpenter’s square. Cutting and assembly directions are included, as are a series of quilt projects that can be created using the blocks in the book. VERDICT Classic and contemporary meet in this fine collection that will appeal to a variety of quilters. redstarThomas, Donna Lynn. The Anniversary Sampler Quilt: 40 Traditional Blocks, 7 Keepsake Settings. C&T. 2017. 112p. illus. ISBN 9781617454554. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617454561. FIBER CRAFTS In 1975, author Thomas fell in love with both quilting and her husband, Terry. To commemorate her 40th anniversary, she designed a sampler quilt featuring 40 individual blocks, each made twice. The blocks include a number of traditional favorites in a framed, on-point layout with appliquéd flower vines as embellishment. This guide gives instructions for stitching each of the blocks, as well as several setting options for quilters interested in commemorating their own special anniversaries. Both hand- and machine-piecing are used, and many of the blocks require cutting templates provided on a pullout sheet. VERDICT ­Thomas’s chronicle-in-patchwork of her years as a quilter and a military wife brings personal meaning to ever-popular sampler quilts, and skilled quilters will enjoy both the blocks and the stories behind them.

Interior Design

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

Tanov, Erica . Design by Nature: Creating Layered, Lived-In Spaces Inspired by the Natural World. Ten Speed: Crown. Apr. 2018. 232p. photos by Ngoc Minh Ngo. ISBN 9780399579073. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780399579080. INTERIOR DESIGN Inspired by the natural beauty of her home state of California, Tanov created a successful clothing and home goods line featured in her boutiques and online store. Here, she shares her ideas on using the patterns and colors found in nature—such as wood, water, and soil—as the basis for creating one’s own home interiors. Throughout, Tanov spotlights textile and visual artists whose work she has featured in her stores and designs. Filled with more than 200 color photographs, primarily of details of nature, the bulk of this volume contains Tanov’s ruminative essays but unfortunately lacks much practical advice. VERDICT Recommended for those who already possess a design sense and are looking for ­additional ideas.


As the author of "The Art of Coloring Wood" I appreciate your comments that I will use for a second book. Respectfully, Brian Miller

Posted : Mar 08, 2018 05:16



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