AntiCraft: Knitting, Beading and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister by by Renee Rigdon and Zabet Stewart published by North Light Books (November 30, 2007) [want more visit the web site]
You should craft in a medium that understands you
[Renee and Zabets Antifesto]
Anticraft is a glossy black book with rough type and a rude feel. Curious? Well, Anticraft is the ‘sellout’ (they say that themselves) book from sinister crafters Renee Rigdon and Zabet Stewart. Its a complete package – witty authors comments, comic strips, crafty facts, patterns galore and glamorous fashion shots. One could almost forget that it is a craft book at all. At times the dark humor gets the better of the craft, which makes reading directions for a project
slightly difficult when laughing so hard.
The combination of mediums, not only through the design, but the variety projects offered makes sure that there is something for everyones liking. Will it be the gaff tape corset or recipe for Hellfire Heartburn Chick Pea Soup that will tickle your fancy? Although they say they only put 5% of their time into writing, this collection of patterns and ideas is comprehensive enough to fuel the imagination for many a read. Accompanied by illustrated useful tips in the back for those that have never crochetted or knitted or beaded before, Anticraft makes an excellent addition to any bookshelf.
About the patterns: my fave project – the Whilameenas – Nothing like a creppy softie to adorn the mantle piece. Definitely one to make for the person that you can’t live without. Strangest – the Skylla – the menstrual cup cozy shaped like a squid.
It really bent my imagination, but was cute at the same time. I would fear an unsuspecting guest would pick it up and get quite a surprise. The worst project – but only from where I sit – The Captains Daughter… just a little bit too soft for a cat-of-nine tails… maybe its the photo or the unconvincing noise whipping wool makes?
The design is heavy throughout the book. Definitely not for the faint hearted. It has a well thought out but complicated structure makes it an interesting read from whichever page you start. I found it hard to follow all the information without getting sidetracked and the lack of colour through the project pages made it all blur together a bit. The photography varied, the idea of stripping out the colours except for the project piece is a nice one… except when the piece is black.
Perhaps it is the matt paper that soaks up the ink that leaves the photos a little flat.
In the introduction the book, we are introduced to the concept of a journey through the work of 19 designers, and that is what it is. A complete smorgasboard of work from a variety of crafty disciplines, some projects have been around a while, but here they are presented with a twist. And basically that is the book, craft with a cynical sinister twist.
About the reviewer: Heather is a designer and illustrator who loves to make things – she has a suitcase full of vintage fabrics, ribbons and papers and sews away on her grandmothers old singer sewing machine. She is a subversive crafter at heart and resides in Australia.