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Top 10 Craft Books

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I love books of any kind, but even more so if they are about art and crafts.  I’ve collected a few together here from my own little library.  Some I use regularly; some I hope to use in the future; some I just love looking at.  Perhaps you might find them inspiring too?


In no particular order:

The Art of Enamelling

The Art of Enamelling

Enamelling is the art of fusing glass to metal.  The glass generally comes as a powder and most people start by sifting it onto shapes cut from copper sheet, though you can also paint with enamels and they will adhere to many types of metal.  I use a small jewellery kiln to fire mine.  Once fired the colours never fade.

Jewellery kilns costs around £200-£300 and will be your main outlay as the other tools needed are fairly cheap.  It’s magical when a coat of powder fuses to become a shiny layer of colourful glass.

This book really is a defintive guide to enamelling, except in the area of painting with enamels which it doesn’t clarify well enough for me.  For everything else it is a must-read with lots of inspiring photos.


Jewllery & Metalsmithing

I’ve included these two as ‘one’ book on my list.  They are very similar but each gives slightly different details and techniques.

If you’re into jewellery but you’ve moved on from beading why not try metalsmithing?  The possibilities for creating your own pieces are literally endless.  As with a lot of crafts, ideally you would need a bench set up permanently, but I reckon for less than £100 you could get most of the tools needed.  I always find books like these go a bit overboard when describing every last little tool you may need at some point in the future, but as with anything, it’s best to just get the basics then buy as you need them.  Dremel multitools always come in handy when working with jewellery as well.


 

Silver Threads

Staying on the metalworking theme, this book instructs on how to make the most beautiful jewellery from twisted silver wire.  It’s highly skilled, but I’m pretty sure a similar delicate effect could be made from hammered silver wire.  When I get my own workshop I’m going to have a dedicated metalworking bench and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to give this a go as the photographs are really inspiring.  This technique is particularly good for making wedding jewels.


The Practical Potter

The Practical potterThe Pratical Potter

Clay is such a wonderfully expressive medium, and one that most people unfortunately don’t have access to due to the need for a large work space and  kiln.  I’ve had this book for a long time so it is probably out of print, but it covers the basics of lots of techniques and the step-by-step guides make the projects seem possible.  It certainly gives a basic grounding to areas that could be explored further in detail in other books.


Handmade Pottery at Home

Handmade Pottery at Home

If you find pottery books like the previous one a bit scary, then I really recommend this book.  The author has such enthusiasm for simple homemade imperfect pottery that it’s hard not to go out and grab yourself some clay straight away.  There are several shops that have sprung up allowing groups to paint and fire their own pots (especially popular for children’s parties) and the author recommends contacing one of these to see if they will let you pay for kiln space during one of their firings.  Schools may also let you do this.  This book certainly makes pottery seem more fun and affordable!


Creative Papercrafts

Creative Papercrafts

This book is also now probably out of print, but there are hundreds of books like it which showcase paper as a truly unique material.  Aesthetic uses for paper are infinite, from simple cardmaking through to decoupage, papercutting (there are some truly remarkable 3D papercuts out there), 3D book cutting and 3D structures and mobiles.  I love the fact that such a humble material is enjoying a revival.


Making an Impression

Making an Impression

Another book in which the author’s enthusiasm for her subject is contagious.  Stamping has been around for ages but other people’s stamps may not express exactly what you want to say visually.  Using a scalpel knife and pencil rubbers to create art is surely one of the cheapest ways of making an image!  The author also has her own unique personal style with a certain niaivety which I adore which makes the book visualy appealing.


Learning Linocut

Learning Linocut

I’m really into printing at the moment and linocut is one of the easiest ways of starting out.  Printing anything simply means that you can reproduce an image many times.  It’s excellent for maing your own cards and print runs.  In my watercolour paintings I naturally paint in a very detailed manner, and while you can create detail withl inocut if you wish to, I find it allows me to think in bigger shapes and blocks of colour to create more design-led pictures.  Due to an arthritic hand I use a product called ‘easicut’ which is more of a rubbery substance than lino and easier to cut.  This book has lots of easy-to-understand instructions and exercises to help you ‘think outside the box’.


Stitched Safari

Stitched Safari

Featuring a menagerie of felt animals, this book has extreme cute factor.  You could have a whole Naoh’s Ark going on!  I picked it up for £3 from www.stitchcraftcreate.com which has an awesome bargain books section.  The patterns could easily be enlarged to make bigger critters.


Sew Sunny Homestyle

Sew Sunny Homestyle

This book is just a representative example of any by Tone Finnegar who creates the Tilda range of fabrics and craftware.  Half the reason for buying them is surely the beautifully-styled photographs, the other half for the lovely projects inside.  Lots of people buy them for their distinctive doll patterns, but being animal mad I buy them for the the critter-themed projects, such as cows and pigs with wings!  Designs for lots of homewares are also included using the luscious Tilda fabrics – who cares if these books just create reasons for us to go out and buy more of it?


 

I hope you feel inspired by my little guide to some of the many craft books I’ve collected along the way.  Now get out there and start making!

Kelly.

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