Because it is only a few days since my last newsletter I thought I would tell you about some of the wonderful books that come past my desk but I don’t have the time to give a full and indepth review to on whipup.net. Some of the books that are sent my way are interesting in many different ways, challenging, thought provoking and a bit different from the usual crafty offerings. So here are a few that I have been reading and enjoying lately.
Renaissance Secrets: Recipes and Formulas by Jo Wheeler and published by V & A Publishing (November 1, 2009). A beautifully presented book full of concoctions from the renaissance era – from marbling paper to making printer ink, recipes for moth repellent and stain remover, making your own varnishes, paints and glue and even an ancient aphrodisiac concoction. These ancient recipes are presented with original imagery and text and are a pure delight to read.
Horrockses Fashion: Off-the-Peg Fashion in the 40s and 50s by Christine Boydell and published by V & A Publishing (May 1, 2010). Covering late 1940s and throughout the 1950s – this is the story of Horrockses Fashions a British ready-to-wear label. This image heavy big hard cover book details the fabric designs and patterns of some really gorgeous frocks from this era – day dresses and evening gowns with impossibly small waists and lavish big collars. Photos are included from modeling sessions as well as with real women wearing the dresses. The designer illustrations, original advertisements and fabric designs are a real joy and inspiration.
The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual–and the Modern Home Began by Joan DeJean and published by Bloomsbury USA (September 15, 2009) (Allen and Unwin Australia). A fascinating read of Paris in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries where a change of furniture style signaled a major change in how people lived their lives. Who would have thought that the invention of such comforts as the couch could be such a pivotal point in history.
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky (Portfolio – April 15, 2010). This book offers an easy to read format filled with visionary ideas. Its all about how to harness all those great ideas you have everyday and actually bring them to fruition – discussed are the various ways of making this happen – such as getting organised, and project management. But beyond rethinking these two basics are chapters on how to harness your community, and how to lead a creative team as well as self motivation techniques. Its all very inspiring with lots of practical tips and alternative methods – this guy really delves into looking at different methodology and finding what works best for you – experimenting with different techniques to get things done.
Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World by Mark Frauenfelder (Portfolio – May 27, 2010). Frauenfelder is the co-founder of boingboing (and editor in chief of Make Magazine), you can imagine that such a guy would be an entrepreneur, a person who thinks outside the box, willing to experiment with ideas and ways of doing – and that is pretty much what this book is all about. Together with his family he throws away consumerism and takes up DIY, embracing the handmade movement with passion and obsession. This years journey which is chronicled in this book enabled him to take control of his life in a way he never expected. This book is very pleasant to read, and while for me many of his life changing practices are part of my everyday life already (such as chicken rearing and home diy) many of the projects are achieved on a scale that involves the whole family making a commitment to change.
Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship by Tom Quinn, published by David & Charles PLC (February 12, 2010) (available through can do books). Here is a wonderful hardcover book – solid and earthy – the pages are heavy and uncoated – the matt paper is a joy to touch – the real life photos of men and women working are a pleasure to look at again and again. The premise of this book as an accompaniment to a tv series which I have not seen but which looks incredible. Traditional British craftsmanship such as woodcraft, thatching, weaving, stone masonry, metalwork and glass making, with master craftsmen who have such incredible skills and pride in keeping these traditional crafts alive.
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