Good Reading : April 2007
categorical no doubt inspired many budding stitchers. Sadly, this now seems to be out of print but many of the books cur- rently available date from this boom period. Specialist stitchers can still buy Embroidered Silk Ribbon Treasures, a bind-up of two slim volumes by Helen Dafter, while Stumpwork Embroidery by Jane Nicholas continues to bring an eso- teric technique to modern audiences. Both of these contain minimal colour but are fortified by clear instructions and attrac- tive designs. Kaye Pyke’s Elegant Embroidery and Tonia Todman’s Candlewicking Book are two other bestsellers still in print; their titles hint at the power of person- ality in craft. There’s been a lull in craft publishing of recent years, but there are signs this is turning around.The team behind House & Garden magazine have recently published a bright and airy project-based book entitled Hand Crafted that dips into crafting with fabric, yarn, paper and paint, with the addition of gift ideas from the kitchen and garden. Its broad coverage and contempo- rary feel could well lure younger readers to try their hands at craft. Craft books range from such general volumes to the strangely specific.There have always been fads and fashions in craft: an instance is the art of quilling. Quilling is the technique of curling thin strips of paper, gluing them into delicate shapes and assembling the shapes into a design. Today, this entertainment for Victorian ladies is enjoying a renaissance with books on the topic flooding in from overseas. If your fingers are feeling dextrous, you might consider Quilled Greetings Cards from the UK or Quilling for Scrapbooks and Cards from the US. This lets me segue nicely into the topic of scrapbooking – which, let’s face it, isn’t really a craft so much as a narrow deployment of papercraft techniques.There is a huge array of books available on the popular pastime, most from the US, but I have it on good authority that scrapbooking is on the way out, so I would much rather point you in the dir e ction of a reliable book on papercrafts, such as The Complete Book of Papercraft by Lynne Garner. A new eries of craft titles, pro- duced locally by Murdoch Books, includes Paper which covers techniques f paper-making and manipulation in a fresh, eye-catching style that is akin to the publisher’s beautiful cookery books. It includes many beautiful ‘recipes’ for hand- made books. Other truncated titles in this very contemporary series include Quilt, Knit, Bead, and the most recent Stitch and Felt. Clearly the editor considered Well Dressing too much of a mouthful! The aforementioned Bead is just one of an abundance of books on beading. I’m a little suspicious of beadstringing as a craft, but maybe I’m just jealous: the covers of books like It’s All About the Beads! (by Barbara Case) just look soooo alluring. Beading Basics by Stephanie Burnham is singular in that it has a curiously un- attractive cover, but the book’s hands-on approach to the subject makes it very accessible. In the same Milner Craft Series is Mosaic Basics by Teresa Mills, introducing another craft that looks tempting.Those already up on techniques of nipping, pricking out and grouting might turn to Mosaic Patterns by Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin for ideas. Inspiration for any type of crafter is to be found in Pattern Motifs: A Sourcebook by GL McCallum.This contains patterns from various historical and cultural periods for you to pinch and adapt at leisure: craft people are allowed to admit to that whereas artists aren’t. Even better is a lav- ish new edition of Owen Jones’s 1856 classic The Grammar of Ornament, reissued as Decorative Ornament; it’s a visual feast. Needlecrafts are still well catered for; there would probably be a rampage of angry quilters if not. Most emanate from the land of patchwork quilts, the USA, but one home- grown volume is Beautiful Embroidered Quilts published by Country Bumpkin.This enticing book features six very different quilts and contains a visual library of stitches and techniques needed to complete them. An injection of inspiration from the East is to be found in Japanese Quilt Blocks by Susan Briscoe, ideal for experienced quilters who might like to borrow from Japan’s rich heritage of decorative motifs. The Quilter’s Book of Embellishments is something of a crossover title, drawing on beading, embroidery and other methods to enhance fabric craft. Other books that combine techniques are also appearing: Easy Beaded Crochet (by Carol Meldrum) and Easy Beaded Knits (Jeanette Trotman) are just two. Knitting seems to be back with a vengeance, championed by the amusingly named Stitch ’n’ Bitch movement in America and the Cast Off guerrilla Books for Creative People For a full list of our craft titles, go to www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au s SIMON & SCHUSTER AUSTRALIA All of us have an inherent need to create or construct. Hobby-craft fills the niche nicely.