Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Books of the Month

In my quest for less material stuff in my life, I have a couple of fatal flaws. One is fabric and art supplies - I have enough for ten lifetimes of making things. The other is books - even though my many moves have necessitated frequent purges, I have a huge collection of nonfiction, mostly art and textile books. It's shameful, I know, but at least, so far, my bad habit hasn't hurt anyone else.

Here's a few of my recent favourites:

Reconstructing Clothes for Dummies, by Miranda Caroligne Burns. Miranda Burns is a brilliant artist and terrific human being. I know her, like so many of the wonderful people I have met in the last year, through Swap-O-Rama-Rama. I love this book because it embodies her personality and philosophy of life - it's more than just a DIY book, it's a guide to a way of life that is more creative, fulfilling and easier on the planet. Very inspiring! And the projects are great too... Congrats to the publisher, Wiley, for NOT dumbing down Miranda's unique voice.

Just because this one has a bigger picture doesn't mean it's my favourite (although it's pretty darn good). I just was lazy sizing the images. The Crafter Culture Handbook by Amy Spencer introduces the reader to many of the big names in the craft field, and offers simple projects to make yourself. I enjoyed the stories of the makers, and like how there are lots of links and references if I was inclined to find out more. This book gives a comprehensive explanation to why young artists have begun making things as a form of resistance to many of the wrongs in the world, and why DIY is not just a quirky trend. Nice balance of text and project instruction.

Knit Knit by Sabrina Gschwandtner has been on a lot of people's lists, and for good reason. It's a marvelous book with exciting projects (there are several I want to make, and I hardly make anything for myself anymore.) The knitters featured in this book are uniformly amazing - I actually went into a mild downward spiral of inadequacy after reading about some of the truly multitalented people here. But that's just me being neurotic, and no reason to avoid this book. I love how conscious the artists are about their process and their politics - this is serious work. It's great to see knitting valued and honoured in this way.

I was lucky enough to have not only Sabrina, but Purl and Notorious N.I.T. from Knitta sign my copy while I was at Maker Faire in Austin. Sabrina has been doing quite a book tour, so check her website to see if she will be in your town anytime soon.

2 comments:

  1. great to have book reviews, i always have to get recommendations...i am really into re-doing clothing lately, and i am a dummy at the moment....tks!

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  2. I've been nagging myself alot lately that I do too many crafts and that all the supplies are bad for the environment. glad to see someone I am not the only one thinking about it!

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