Fabulous Felting Books

I adore felt, not just for its tactile and visual appeal, but also its versatility, its organic nature and its history and romance. In fact, when I was studying a Diploma of Textile Art at Box Hill TAFE, I based my main exhibition piece (postcard format) on the reverse appliqué technique of the Kyrgyz shyrdaks of Central Asia, learning so much about felt and its history in the process!  Here are two photos of my work from that exhibition: BlogFeltBooks50%nov 2010 295BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.41.25I first saw these beautiful appliquéd felt rugs, which are traditionally used to furnish nomadic yurts, at Ada’s Place in Millthorpe, New South Wales, and fell in love with their bright bold colours and symbolism. Here is a photo of Ada (taller) and her sister Kathleen in front of one of their shyrdaks.BlogFeltBooks50%midmay 299Unfortunately, the gallery closed in 2013: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/1804338/ada-closes-iconic-millthorpe-gallery/.

You can see more examples of this beautiful craft at:

http://www.feltrugs.co.uk/

and   http://kyrgyzfelt.blogspot.com.au/.

Felt can also be used to make clothing, hats, bags, cushions, flowers and toys and you will see some of my felt creations throughout this post. I have also attended a number of workshops, which I will also describe along the way, but first the books!

 

History

Nomadic Felts by Stephanie Bunn 2010

https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/dept-seminar-power-felted-cloth-through-time-and-space

I came across anthropologist Stephanie Bunn’s name a number of times during my internet research for my exhibition piece, so this book was a must! In it, she describes the ancient history of felt, its traditional production and use throughout the world and the cultural beliefs and symbolism behind the patterns.

Felt has existed for thousands of years and felt fragments have been found in grave chambers in Çatal Höyük, dated 6500 BC; felted hoods and socks on the Urumchi mummies of the Tarim Basin, China, dated 2000 BC; and appliquéd felt wall hangings, coffin linings, clothing, saddle cloths, blankets and bridles and swan pillows stuffed with deer hair, found in the grave chambers of the Pazyryk Kurgans of the Altai Highlands, Siberia, and dated from 600 to 200 BC.

It has played a central role in the lives of nomads from Central Asia, Mongolia and parts of the Middle East, the lightweight, portable and highly insulating wool being used for tent walls (yurts), floor coverings, decorations, bags and clothing.

After the Medieval period, felt became a well-established tradition in Europe with felt boat caulking and other felt objects from the 9th to 13th Century found at Haithabu on the German-Danish border; British felt hats from the 15th Century; and Scandinavian gloves and socks and Russian valenki (felt boots) from the early 20th Century.

Traditional feltmaking is still practiced by Central Asian and Mongolian nomads, as well as practitioners in Turkey and Iran, while experimentation by contemporary artists is producing some wonderful garments and toys.

This fascinating book looks at its extensive history, the science behind felt and the wide variety of feltmaking techniques and traditions. She particularly focuses on the Turkic and Mongolian feltmakers of Krygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekitan, Turkmenistan and Xinjiang, as well as Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan and South-East Asia, and the closely related styles from Afghanistan and the Caucasus: their influences and their belief systems and symbolism. With fabulous photos and illustrations supporting the text, it is such an interesting book, not only for feltmakers and textile enthusiasts, but anyone interested in archaeology and history, anthropology, different cultures and the Silk Road!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-57

Production

If you only have room for one felting book in your library, the following book is an excellent reference guide.

Uniquely Felt: Dozens of Techniques From Fulling and Shaping to Nuno and Cobweb. Includes 46 Creative Projects by Christine White 2007

This highly comprehensive book covers all aspects of felt making.

The introduction defines the different kinds of felt (fulled knitting, wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting, cobweb felting, carved felt and yarn felt); history; suitable fibres; the chemistry behind felting; and the whole process from fleece to felt. It also includes instructions for a simple needle felted ball and a Featured Artist page, an inspiring inclusion, which is found at the end of successive chapters.

The next chapter covers tools: wool; soap; screens; rolling mats; plastic resists; scales; water; templates; and felting machines, as well as notes on designing a studio and  working posture.

Chapter Three introduces beginner projects like making cords (photo below) and spikes; loops and beads; jellyroll trivets; buttons and balls.

Chapter Four: Learning the Basics covers working with roving; making prefelts; wet felting; calculating shrinkage and a Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as projects like place mats and table runners, blankets and cushions.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-92Chapter Five really examines the raw material, wool: where to find it, how to test its feasibility and materiality; making felting samples and the types of fibres and sheep wool, including a swatch gallery. Projects include math mats, place mats, carved coasters, upholstery yardage and a boot tray.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-85After mastering simple 2-D items, developing felters will be keen to try out making 3-D seamless felt, which is the main topic of Chapter Six. Two flat halves are separated by a resist, the fibres at the side being joined in a seam during the felting process. The different types of resists (open/closed) and materials used, seam considerations and shrinkage rate and template size are discussed in detail.

Pillow covers, book covers, slippers and boots, vessels, sculptural objects (like the photo above and below made using an old butter cooler as a resist) and a myriad of creative bags can be produced in this way, not to mention hats, the subject of Chapter Seven, from berets and head-hugging cloches to hoods, wide-brimmed hats, fedoras and some very artistic and creative examples. Hat sizes; making hat templates; using hat blocks, and stiffeners and embellishments are all discussed. Anita Larkin is a sculptor, who uses felt to create some amazing 3-D vessels and objects. https://timelesstextiles.com.au/artist/anita-larkin-2/.

late sept 047Felt can also be very light and airy with the inclusion of silk (Chapter Eight: Nuno Felting) and holes (Chapter Nine: Cobweb Felting). Both chapters include definitions and detailed notes on techniques, as well as projects like scarves and shawls, vests, hats, cushions  and curtains.

My first experience with felting was helping a friend make a raw sheep wool floor rug, using an old bamboo blind as a roller and Chapter Ten on larger projects would have been very useful, though the emphasis of this chapter is really more on making felt garments: tops and vests, tunics and dresses, and skirts, as well as including  notes on garment patterns and templates. Jorie Johnson (http://www.joirae.com/)  makes some beautiful contemporary clothing and is the featured artist in this chapter. Another wonderful felt garment designer is Norwegian artist, May Jacobsen Hvistendahl, whose work can be seen at:  http://www.filtmaker.no/eng/index.html.

It is really fun making felt with others, as it can be a time-consuming process and it’s a great way to bond not only the fibres, but also community and friendship ties, as discussed in the final Chapter Eleven, along with teaching feltmaking, community projects like rugs, felting weird and wonderful creations for theatre, and framing and finishing felt. There is an extensive glossary and list of artists, resources and relevant websites in the back. An excellent book!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-60

It is also well worth joining a felting group like Victorian Feltmakers http://www.vicfelt.org/ or the Feltmakers of WA: http://www.feltwest.org.au and attending a few workshops to master the practical aspects. I belonged to the Victorian Feltmakers and some of the memorable workshops I attended were:

Phyllis Hoffman: Felting a Scarf July 2010 / Felting a Hat August 2010.

BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 051Great fun, as I did these workshops with some of my fellow students from my textile course at Box Hill TAFE. BlogFeltBooks50%late july 2010 029 I was so impressed with my friend Heather’s hat!BlogFeltBooks50%july also 002 Phyllis is a great teacher too! You can find out more about her at: https://www.stonehousegallery.com/phyllis-hoffman.html.

Elizabeth Armstrong: Felt Art Dolls August 2010

Like me, Elizabeth LOVES colour (see her fabrics below) and I absolutely adored this inspirational workshop!BlogFeltBooks50lt 014BlogFeltBooks50lt 017She is so enthusiastic and fun! Here she is behind our workshop dolls. The grey bird dolls are samples of her work.

 

On the first day, we made our material using prefelts, roving, yarn and even chiffon ribbon, then the next day, we had to take a deep breath and cut into our beautiful precious homemade fabric, then assemble and embellish the dolls with embroidery, appliquéd felt pieces and hand-painted faces. Below are photos of my fabric pre- and post-felting.BlogFeltBooks50lt 015BlogFeltBooks50lt 016 I loved my earth goddess Gaia, even though I forgot to sew in a base!BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.40.37BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-98 Elizabeth’s website is: http://elizabeth-armstrong.blogspot.com.au/.

Sue Pearl: Crazy Felt Critters  February 2012

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Sue Pearl gave a workshop at the Victorian Felters and  we were very lucky to be able to attend. My strange alien creature left a bit to be desired, but gave me a feel for creating 3-D toys.BlogFeltBooks50%IMG_9937

Sue’s website is at: http://www.feltbetter.com/. But now,  back to the books…!!!

Felt To Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists by Sheila Smith 2006

Another excellent guide covering similar topics to the previous book: Hand-rolled felting; making prefelts; nuno felting, 3-D hollow forms; cobweb felting and needle-punched felting, but also has a big section on design with detailed discussions on colour, texture, line, shape and pattern.

There are instructions on colour mixing; using acid dyes; rainbow dyeing; making fibre paper; shibori; low-relief designs; using Markal Paintstiks; stencilling and printing. Projects include book covers; bags; cords, toggles and balls.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-58

Felted Bags, Boots and Other Things by Cendrine Armani 2007

Making bags and boots are so well explained in this book with step-by-step notes, supported by excellent colour photographs of all the tools and each stage of each process: Flat felting; felting with a template; mixing colours; cutout motifs and insets; lining bags; inserting magnetised clasps and eyelets, embroidery; and making balls and pendants, and that’s just the first section!

The rest of the book is devoted to 56 bright and colourful projects from pencil cases, pouches and purses to jewellery, felt flowers, slippers and bags. It is certainly a very inspiring and practical book and makes you want to leap out there and start felting!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-69

Felted objects can also be needlefelted using a dry felting process or stitched from flat felt pieces and/ or embroidered, as showcased in the next four books. The first book describes dry felting, which uses felting needles to work wool roving into shapes, while the other three books create flowers and toys from patterns cut out of sheets of wool felt, stitched together and embroidered.BlogFeltBooks2017-08-28 18.04.28Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give and Hug by Jenn Docherty 2008

While I haven’t done much needle felting (it’s a bit too time consuming for me!), it is good to have a book, which describes all the tools and techniques, as well as a number of small projects from flower pins and gumdrop rings to belts, coasters, book covers, purses and toys like the cute ones on the cover. A good book for crafters, who love felt, but don’t want to work with water!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-64

Felt Fresh Flowers: 17 Stunning Flowers to Sew and Display by Lynne Farris 2007

A very useful book for the middle of severe Winter, when the garden is fast asleep and nothing much is happening in the way of blooms! We are very lucky here in Australia in that many of our native plants flower in the Winter and our milder warmer climate still allows for the blooming of camellias, violets and Winter honeysuckle. We still get heavy frosts in our garden though, so I am still attracted to the bright colours of the felted flowers in this book, though I am more likely to use them to embellish bags and hats!

Basic tools, materials and techniques are covered before detailed instructions for a range of blooms from African violets, gerberas, geraniums and daffodils to lilies, roses, iris and sunflowers. I particularly liked the tulips, nasturtiums, magnolias and tropical anthuriums!

BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-62

Felties: How To Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends by Nelly Pailloux 2009

A sweet little book on making felt toys. Starting with brief notes on tools, templates, stuffing, sewing and embroidery, it contains patterns for some very cute and obscure creations from the sweet little Babushka Doll, the Mushroom Girl, Sleepy Fox and Pensive Rabbit to the Pirate Mouse, Hoodie Wolf, Retro Alien and Sun-Loving Rat!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-63

Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor 2003

Salley Mavor (https://weefolkstudio.com/) is well-known for her imaginative fairy worlds and creative appliquéd and embroidered felt purses, bags and brooches.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-61

I made my daughter a felt bird purse using one of her patterns.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-04 09.49.18 I also love the appliquéd felt work of artist Renee Harris. See:   http://www.reneeharris.net/Pages/GalleriesMenu.html.

Here are some photos of my felt appliqué work, which you will no doubt recognise from previous posts: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFeltBooks2517-12-06 08.18.25Steiner education is big on felt for all the same reasons that I love it. It’s a natural organic material, has wonderful colours and texture, is easily worked by children and makes imaginative and creative toys! I recently visited their shop, Winterwood Toys, in Warranwood, Victoria, to check out their beautiful felts.BlogFeltBooks2518-03-19 11.39.05

It is always a wonderful and inspiring experience, as is a digital visit to their website: https://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/!

BlogFeltBooks2518-03-23 17.16.40They stock wet felting supplies and a huge colour range of hand-dyed and commercially dyed 100 percent pure wool felts (photo above), as well as toys, patterns and kits and books, many of which hail from Germany, the birthplace of Steiner education, as well as the origin of some wonderful felt designers and creations like the toys and Christmas decorations sent to us by our daughter Jen, who has been teaching in Germany for two years.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.41.16Here are three felt books, which I have bought from Steiner shops over the years.

Creative Felt: Felting and Making More Toys and Gifts by Angelika Wolk-Gerche 2007/2009

Another good basic guide to felting, but with an emphasis on felting with children and imaginative play, a key tent of Steiner education.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-59 The history of felting, different fibre types, setting up the workplace, preparing the wool, natural dyeing, the basic felting process, creative possibilities (mixing colour, collages and felt pictures, modelling and embroidery) and felting with children are all topics covered in the first section of the book, followed by lots of suggestions for felt projects: Hats and jewellery; slippers and hot water bottle covers; felt envelopes and gift wrap; book covers and treasure pouches; juggling balls; dolls and accessories; toy animals and puppets; and Easter rabbits, seasonal toys and dioramas and Christmas decorations.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-112Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys by Petra Berger 1994/2001  

More Steiner toys and child-oriented projects are included in this book.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-67 They include wooden and felt gnomes, angels, flower children, fairies and dolls, jesters, finger puppets, ducks, butterfly mobiles, snails, dogs and cats, horses, mice and balls, as well as felt pictures and books, jewellery, bookmarks, boxes, egg cosies, purses and cases. Here are some egg cosies and felt toys, made by my children when they were young, as well as some finger puppets.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.35.35BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.34.43BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-79I love making felt toys and would not be without the next book, which I have used to make camels and pigs for my daughters!

Sew Soft Toys : Using Natural Fibres by Karin Neuschütz 1996/2007

After a brief discussion of sewing with natural fibres, stuffing materials, and tips for sewing and stuffing toys, it gets straight into instructions for the toys themselves: Dogs and cats; mice and rabbits, farmyard animals, marine animals, African animals, and bears, foxes and weasels.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-65 They are lovely patterns with excellent clear instructions and illustrations and the toy animals are just so cute! Below are photos of Jen’s camel and Caro’s piglet, which I embroidered as well!:

BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 012 BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 014I could easily make every animal in this book! And perhaps over the years I will, gradually recreating my husband’s old family Christmases!BlogFeltBooks2515-10-13 15.06.45Over the years, I have also made embroidered birds and fruit, Christmas angels and dear little felt mice, as seen in the photos below.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-22 08.55.47BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.34.34BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.31.53BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 046BlogFeltBooks3015-04-22 08.56.18 - CopyAK Traditions (https://aktraditions.com/pages/about-us) in Prahan, Melbourne, Victoria, is another source of wonderful Central Asian felt toys, some of them featured in the photos below:BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.41BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.19And finally, some of my favourite books for felting inspiration! These books are wonderful and showcase the imaginative work of two contemporary European feltmakers, as well as showing the enormous creative possibilities afforded by felt!

Filz Spiel: The Felted Play by Annette Quentin-Stoll 2010

Annette is a German artist (born 1978), who was introduced to felt in Finland, and she produces the most amazing sculptured hats, bags, costumes, vessels, games, toys and puppets, based on cones and spheres, concertina folds and pleats, elastic structures and even the incorporation of marbles.BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-70 I just loved her Rainbow Worm, her Dragon and Elephants, her mouse finger puppets, snail and star rings, animal bags and spiky swim hats and seed pod vessels. She has also written three other felt books: Filz Ornament (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzornament/); Filz Experiment (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzexperiment/) and Filz Geschichten (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzgeschichten/).

Gentle Threads: Felts of Judit Pócs

Judit Pócs (born 1976) is a Hungarian artist, whose work I simply adore!  She dyes the raw wool before felting and like the previous artist has a fabulous sense of colour and fun!BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-73 She too makes weird and wonderful sculptured hats, exotic colourful bags and fabulous toys, all featured in this book, as well as in the gallery on her website: http://pocsjuditstudio.hu/gallery2/.

I also own her inspiring video:

Video: On Gentle Threads About Feltmaking by Judit Pócs and István Rittgasser 2007.

It is a wonderful accompaniment to the book and is spoken in Hungarian and English.BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-72 In it, Judit generously demonstrates the making of a rug, based on the felt origin myth of Noah’s Ark, as well as a scarf, a bag, two of her amazing sculptural hats and a wonderful stylised crested lizard. She makes the magical process of felting all look so easy, even though her work is incredible skilful! There are also delightfully quirky animations and the catchy music of Krulik Zoltán, the founder and leader of Hungarian ethnomusic band Makám (www.makam.hu).

To view stills from  the film, see: http://www.filmkultura.hu/regi/2008/articles/films/szelidszalakon.en.html.

I  will finish with a gallery of my felt cushions, which you will recognise from previous posts.BlogFeltBooks2016-08-22 14.53.46BlogFeltBooks2017-03-28 14.02.24BlogFeltBooks2518-04-25 12.07.18BlogFeltBooks2016-11-15 12.55.50BlogFeltBooks2016-02-23 13.13.36

 

Books For Winter: Crochet Books

A short post this time as I am not really a crocheter, though I still do own a few reference guides for those odd times I feel inclined! The basic technique is so simple really and requires so few tools and yet stunning effects can be achieved, like the beautiful super-fine scarves designed by Sophie Digard. See: https://www.dncinternational.com.au/sophie-digard and https://www.lilypond.net.au/collections/frontpage.

I have bought a tiny crochet hook and crochet cotton to try and make something like her amazing creations, but have yet to master the basics, so this first book is very useful for a beginner like me!BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-19 09.20.45Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs To Wear by Jane Davis 2001

As with all good craft books, it starts with the basics:

Tools and Supplies: From the simple hook in a variety of sizes, stitch markers and tapestry needles to an enormous variety of wonderful yarns of different types, sizes and textures;BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.04.14Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations; Gauge; Crochet Hook Size; and US and European equivalents. It can all be a bit confusing to the beginner, as terminology varies between the US and Europe. This is an American book, the basic stitches listed below being the American forms, so I have put their European equivalents in brackets.

Basic Stitches: Holding the yarn and hook; Making a slip knot and chain; Slip stitch (Single Crochet); Single Crochet (Double Crochet); Half Double Crochet (Half Treble Crochet); Double Crochet (Treble Crochet); Half Triple Crochet; and Triple Crochet (Double Treble);

Basic Techniques:  Crocheting in rows of stitches; Chain space; Joining into a ring or at the end of a round; Changing colours; and Variations and Advanced Stitches. I made a knitting/ crochet roll for all her hooks and needles for my daughter, who is a crocheter!BlogCrochetBooks2017-09-07 13.26.49The remainder of the book is devoted to projects, so the techniques can be learnt and mastered, from evening bags, granny squares and edgings to scarves, mittens and hats and larger vests and tank tops.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.01In the back is a Stitch and Pattern Symbol Library, showing the picture symbols, which often accompany written instructions. While I am sure they are probably very straight-forward and easy, I have yet to master these!BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.30

The Harmony Guides:

Volume Six: 300 Crochet Stitches 1986/ 1998

Volume Seven:  220 More Crochet Stitches 1992/ 1998

While I do not own any of their knitting guides (Volumes One to Five), I do possess the last two volumes, which are both devoted to crochet. Published by Collins & Brown in London, they use the European terminology and abbreviations: Chain stitch (ch); Slip stitch (sl st); Double Crochet (dc); Half Treble (htr); Treble (tr); and Double Treble (dtr).

Volume Six covers all the basic stitches, as well as lace patterns; motifs; filet; clusters; shells; textured stitches; spikes, stars and relief stitches; puff stitches; knobbles and bobbles; loops; openwork and lace patterns; filet crochet; motifs, edgings and trimmings and an introduction to Tunisian crochet, while Volume Seven includes all-over patterns; more edgings and trimmings and motifs; and Irish style and Tunisian crochet.

BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.54

In both books, the Introduction covers:

Basic Stitches;

Making Crochet Fabric: Working in rows; Joining in new yarns; Fastening off; Changing colour; Working in rounds; and Joining motifs;

Stitch variations: Groups or shells; Clusters; Spikes and stars; Raised (Relief) stitches; Bobbles; Popcorns; Puff stitches; Picots; Lace loops; Corded crochet; and Crossed stitches and Linked stitches;

Techniques: Placement of stitches; Working into chain spaces; Working around the stem of a stitch; Working between stitches; ; Right side and wrong side rows; Starting chains and pattern repeats; Working in colour; Tension/ Gauge; Shaping; Joining seams;  and Pressing and Finishing;

Following Crochet Patterns: Terminology and abbreviations; Working from a diagram; Filet crochet from charts; and Colour work with charts.

All the stitches are well described and supported by stitch diagrams and colour photographs.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.49

99 Granny Squares To Crochet Published by Leisure Arts 1998

Granny squares are fun and a great way to practice your crochet skills, as well as having a wide application from vests to bay rugs and throws.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.30 While published by an American company, the stitch guide refers to treble rather than triple crochet, further confusing the beginner. My best advice is to use the terminology specified by the particular crochet book! But fortunately for me, all instructions are written with no fancy stitch diagrams! There are colour photos of all the motifs on the middle pages and the front and  back covers.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.37

200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Fresh Looks For Roses, Daisies, Sunflowers and More by Claire Crompton 2011

Being a keen gardener and floral arranger, it was inevitable that I should be attracted to this book!! And it is certainly a lovely addition to the crochet library!

It starts by describing the wonderful variety of natural, blended and synthetic fibres available these days, as well as examining colour palettes and different yarn textures and weights, before discussing tools and equipment, including a crochet hook conversion chart; and gauge and swatches for fabrics, trims and motifs.

Basic stitches are illustrated and described, using US terminology, though again here, they use the term treble rather than triple, followed by more complex stitches including shells and fans; clusters; puff stitches; popcorns; and picots.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.41There are sections on:

Following written crochet patterns (including abbreviations and US/UK equivalents) and crochet charts with symbols for fabrics, trims, and motifs and flowers;

Being creative with colour : Inspirations; Changing colours; and Working in stripes;

Making Crochet Fabrics: Foundation chain; Working into loops or chain stitches; and Working in rows;

Making Crochet Motifs: Inspirations; Motif centres; Shapes of motifs and flowers; Joining motifs; and Sewing or crocheting seams.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.50

The book is then divided into four major parts: Flowers, Trims, Fabrics and Motifs, each introduced  with inspirational ideas for their use and containing a large variety of patterns, each accompanied by colour photographs, keys and stitch diagrams. For example, flowers can be made into bunting like in the photo below, which is based on the pattern for Six-Petalled Flowers, as well as necklaces, corsages and decorative pieces to embellish bags or hats, while trims can be used to edge scarves, blouses and skirt hems.BlogCrochetBooks2017-07-16 12.24.22 Crochet fabrics can be assembled into cushion panels, scarves and lavender sachets and motifs can be used for Christmas decorations; jewellery, decorative collars and embellishments for clothes and bags. In the back is a list of contemporary suppliers, complete with websites.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.42

My final book completes both my knitting and crochet book posts, as it addresses both art forms.

Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet by Prudence Mapstone 2002/ 2004

Once all the basic techniques and principles are mastered and understood, experimentation is possible and the rules can be broken in the interests of promoting creativity! Any stitch or technique from either art form can be incorporated in the one work and the work grows organically, governed only by the moment or the availability of materials in your yarn stash, resulting in a truly unique and creative piece.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 12.25.20

It is such a great way of using up all those odd balls of wool or spur-of-the-moment single purchases, because you were seduced by the colours or texture and couldn’t resist! Ply, gauge and dye lots are totally irrelevant with freeform artwork and fine lightweight yarns can be doubled, tripled or combined with another thread.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 09.19.25

It is also a lovely way to explore colour combinations. Prudence provides detailed notes on colour and yarn choice and fabrication, as well as helpful hints for success,  instructions for aftercare and an appendix of abbreviations, yarn equivalents (for Australia, UK and USA), knitting needle and crochet hook size conversions (Imperial or Old UK/ Metric and USA).BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 13.47.23She includes some patterns for elements that can be joined together, as well as lots of inspirational colour photographs of garments and goods made with her freeform techniques from hair bands, hats and bikinis to vests and jackets and  footstools, cushions and bags. While you wouldn’t necessarily wear all of her garments, there are some colour combinations that are quite lovely and it certainly does show you the vast potential of the medium! Be adventurous and take risks and above all, have fun!!!!

Next week, we are off to Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for our annual Winter pilgrimage for the Four Ws: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Weather!!!

Books For Winter: Knitting Part Two

Continuing on from last week’s post, I am now featuring books written by knitting designers and containing some fabulous patterns.

Passion for Colour: Designer Knitting With Natural Dyes by Sarah Burnett 1990

While I could have included this book in my post on Natural Dyeing Books, I decided to reserve it for this post, as it has some great patterns, one of which is a Fair Isle pattern for a child’s cardigan, which I started for my toddler daughter, but unfortunately never completed! However, I had so much fun with colour combinations during its pursuit! It is a delightful book, even though a little dated now, and was one of the first to really showcase designs against their sources of inspiration.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.17The first section titled: Cooking With Colour describes the natural dyeing process: Equipment, mordanting, natural dyestuffs, dyeing methods and how to produce a range of colours from reds, pinks and wines to navy, greys, ochres and walnuts, yellows, greens and indigo blues of varying shades and hues.

I didn’t actually dye my wool for the cardigan, but bought some very fine four-ply Rowan yarns in a range of colours from Mostly Mohair in Richmond, Tasmania. I couldn’t decide between the brights and the pastels (a perennial problem for me, as well as probably being a major frustration for the patient, long-suffering saleswoman!), so I bought both colour ranges, including a wide variety of blues: navy, deep turquoise, royal blue, jacaranda blue, soft blue and aqua blue, as well as olive and full green; rust red and deep red; gold and bright yellow; and cream. Here is a photo of the back of the cardigan.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.32 I loved experimenting with colour combinations in practice swatches like this one in the photo below, before making a final decision on the next row of the cardigan. I probably should undo it all and reuse the wool for another project, unless a grandchild comes along first!!!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-18 07.42.40In this book, there are also some very feminine patterns with blowsy full sleeves, frilled edgings and peplums, and bold patterns and brilliant colour. I particularly loved the Paisley Jacket and the Fritillary Jacket, both of which I could still easily wear and knit (though perhaps not so easily!). I also loved the pattern of the Rambling Rose Cardigan, though would probably try to combine its rose pattern with the longer style of the Paisley or Fritillary Jackets. The Sunflower Jacket is also very attractive with its bright happy colours and bold design.

The glossary at the back includes notes on needle size, knitting in the round, tension, using charts, Fair Isle technique, blocking, different grafting methods, ribbing, pleats and making those beautiful Dorset Crosswheel Buttons used in the patterns.BlogKnittingBooks3018-02-07 15.25.30

Sarah continues to knit and design ad her more current work can be seen at: http://www.naturaldyecompany.com.

Kristin Nicholas: Kristin Knits: 27 Inspired Designs For Playing With Colour 2007

A good book for all those knitters, who are seduced by all those lovely colourful yarns in the wool shop, but don’t necessarily feel super-confident about improvising with colour! It’s a lovely bright colourful book with some terrific projects from easy garter stitch scarves with pompoms and tasselled mitre-cornered stockinette scarves, embroidered with flowers, to bold bright Navajo-inspired afghans, a variety of colourful striped hats, socks and boot toppers, gloves and mittens, and jumpers and cardigans.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 09.00.22She has a great sense of colour and makes your fingers start itching to begin one of her projects! Also included are notes on colour and design; experimenting with swatches; Fair Isle techniques; steeking; mitred corners; tension and gauge; duplicate stitches; decorating with embroidery; making bobbles, tassels and pompoms; stitching seams; sewing in zippers; and blocking and finishing garments. I am so tempted to stop writing and go and make her Autumn Leaves Socks instead!!! You can learn more about her on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwghwh9_4dM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TI9SRIVJNg.

.Kaffe Fassett (1937-):

Glorious Knitting: Over 30 Exclusive Patterns 1985

Family Album: Knitting For Children and Adults 1989

Kaffe’s Classics: 25 Glorious Knitting Designs 1993

If you love colour and pattern, you will definitely have come across Kaffe Fassett’s name in your knitting journey! He shot to fame with his first book Glorious Knitting in 1985 and proceeded to write further books on knitting like Family Album and Kaffe’s Classics, all of which I own, as well as delving into the equally colourful worlds of needlepoint, patchwork and quilting, painting and ceramics, and even mosaics.

This man is so enthusiastic , energetic and inspiring and a wonderful ambassador for colour and craft! He has designed knitwear, tapestries, quilts and fabrics, costumes and stage sets, and was the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1988, the exhibition so popular that it went on to tour nine countries: Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and Iceland.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.59.25

He has written more than 40 books and has hosted a number of craft-related television and radio programs for the BBC and Channel Four, including his own show Glorious Colour. He has also featured in a a large number of videos, which can be seen on his website at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/publications/videos/.

It is also well worth reading his biography Dreaming in Colour: An Autobiography 2012. See: http://www.kaffefassett.com/2831-2/, a brief précis of which can also be found at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/about/.

But back to his books, though I must admit that I have not actually knitted any of his patterns, which are probably a bit too complex for me- in fact, I am probably more likely to stitch one of his needlepoint designs, as embroidery is more my forté!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.21

Glorious Colour features patterns for garments based on Stripes, Steps and Zigzags, Diamonds, Stars, Squares and Patches, Circles and Flowers, while Family Album features: Squares and Plaids; Circles and Dots; Stripes and Boxes; Brushes and Combs; Stars and Mosaics; Flowers and Bows; Cables and Flags; Turks and Harlequins; and Diamonds and Patches.

Kaffe’s Classics revisits 25 of his classic originals, inspired by Japanese art, Chinese landscape paintings, Islamic tile work, Turkish kilims and Spanish architecture and originally published in Rowan Collections, rather than his own books. They are beautiful garments, though very much a product of the 1980s and 1990s.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.29

Kaffe has designed knitwear (see: http://www.kaffefassett.com/gallery/knitwear/) for Rowan Yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/) for more than 30 years to showcase their beautiful yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/yarns). They produce seasonal pattern collections, as well as a large number of publications and patterns.

Jo Sharp :

Knitting Emporium 2000

Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.

Australian Jo Sharp also produces beautiful luxury yarns in wool, silk, cashmere and cotton in an extensive range of natural shades. See: https://www.knit.net.au/.

She has also published some wonderful patterns and pattern collections and books, two of which I own: Knitting Emporium 2000 and Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.50

I love her sense of colour! Knitting Emporium has some lovely patterns, especially Solstice, Tashkent and Millefiori. I made my husband his one and only jumper (knitted by me! He does own more jumpers!!!) using her pattern Antipodean, though the shoulders probably should have been adjusted slightly for him.  I also used her hat pattern for Balthazar as a basis for the hats below, though using a mixture of yarns I owned.BlogKnittingBooks30%DSCN1488BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1508BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.39.30 Even though they are not Jo Sharp yarns and I incorporated stripes as well, I think the hat still reflects the exotic essence and colour of this pattern.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.02.39

Knitting Heartland  is equally inspiring with some beautifully coloured designs for children, which I will definitely try when I become a grandma!!!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1499 I did use the pattern Phoebe’s Bag when making crochet flowers for my hat and scarf ends (photos above and below).BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.38.38Zoë Mellor

Another well-known and successful knitwear designer, who has written a number of books, including:

Head To Toe Knits: 25 Colourful Accessories For Your Home and Children 1998

Animal Knits: 26 Fun Handknits For Children and Toddlers 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.06

Again, wonderful bright colours and a great sense of fun! I loved making her Wee Willy Winky Hat  in Head to Toe Knits and could easily knit some of her other patterns, especially the Cat Hats with their striped ears, the colourful bags and cushions and the Reindeer Scarf and Hat.32271755_10156215149454933_8570604297115402240_nI adapted her pattern for the Harlequin Hat, enlarging her basic pattern and knitting stripes instead of harlequins.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.24.46Animal Knits is also great fun with some very appealing patterns like the Animal Bootees, based on rabbits and bears; the cute Farmyard Cushion; the sweet Ladybird Hat and all the delightful jumpers, jackets and toys. I could easily knit all the patterns in this book!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.30Louisa Harding : Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories To Knit 2007

Another favourite book, to which the last statement also applies. This is a delightful book, especially for gifts and smaller items.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.22 I have knitted quite a few of the patterns, including: the Embellished Mittens; Victoria Fingerless Mittens (three times!); and Cecily Beanie (below in order) !

Very soft and feminine, her designs often use cashmere wool and more of her patterns can be found on her website at: https://www.yarntelier.com. Below is a photo of my daughter in her Alice Beret and Victoria Fingerless Mittens, both from the book.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-23 13.13.01

Cat Bordhi: A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting 2005/ 2007

I love trying knitting patterns, which look like they are difficult and couldn’t possibly work, and yet if you trust the process, do work out and end up being really quite easy, once you get the hang of them! Cat Bordhi’s Infinity Moebius Cowls are a case in point!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.57 It’s all in the cast-on technique, but once that is mastered, it is just a matter of circular kitting to the end. Fortunately, there are some excellent YouTube clips to support this book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.40Having made this cowl three times, my most successful was with a soft mohair wool with a fair amount of give, so it stretches easily as I twist it twice around my neck and it feels so comfortable and soft!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1493 The cowl can also be worn with one twist round the neck and one over the head if it is particularly cold!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1494The basic technique can also be used to make needle cosies; magical baskets; sling bags, including a Jester Tentacle Bag and Hat, Moebius Bowls and Cluster Bowls, and Feline Bliss Beds and Kitty Nests, all patterns given in the book!

Curly scarves are also a pattern, which looks like it couldn’t possibly work, but does and is really very simple. See: https://knitting-crochet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knit-spiral-ruffle-scarf-0133365/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.04 My next challenge is this teapot cosy, knitted by my friend Heather. I love the colour combination of hot pink and orange, but I have chosen more natural greens. It involved learning and mastering a new casting-on method for me, working out how tight to pull the carried thread to achieve the correct density of folds and then making absolutely sure that the thread was always carried to the back side of the work! I’m currently on my fourth attempt!!! While I cannot find the original source of my pattern, it can also be found at: https://www.the-knitting-wool-store.com/grannies-tea-cosy-pattern.html.BlogKnittingBooks2518-03-21 12.31.25

Another challenge I would like to try one day is body knitting with arms rather than needles! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FapvTEjbR9M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6vj_JnWy8.

Finally, some knitted toy books…!!!

Kath Dalmeny’s World of Knitted Toys 1998 features animals from all over the world: the Jungle; the Australian Outback; Down on the Farm; The Deep Blue Sea; Forest Friends; On Safari; and the Snowy Regions. Patterns can be knitted in two sizes- ‘clutch’ for a child’s hand and ‘cuddle’, big enough to be hugged.

Patterns can also be adapted to produce other animals. For example, the polar bear pattern can be adapted to create a panda, while a sea lion can be made using the walrus pattern. There are even patterns for humans, complete with an entire wardrobe and accessories. I made a pig for my daughter and would like to try some of her other patterns. The koalas and kangaroos and joeys are so cute and I would love to make the turtle and penguins!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.03.16

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh 2009  is another very inspiring book. The term was originally coined from the Japanese words ‘ami’, meaning ‘knitted or crocheted’ and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘stuffed doll’, and while big in the crochet world, it was adopted more slowly by the knitting community, with very few patterns on knitted amigurumi. This book goes a long way in addressing this shortfall with lots of fun small creations like vegetables and fruit; hermit crabs , octopus,sea stars, jellyfish and black-devil anglerfish; snails, praying mantis, ants and spiders; and weird and wonderful cryptids-krakens, jackalopes and the famous Loch Ness monster, Nessie! They are certainly very cute and appealing, even though some of them look fairly challenging!!!BlogKnittingBooks4018-04-17 11.03.09Hopefully, some of these books might have inspired you to start knitting for the season or maybe you are a crochet fiend, in which case my next post will feature my favourite crochet books! In the meantime, Happy Knitting!!!32501206_10156215149564933_5986553767691026432_n

Books for Winter: Knitting Part One

Now that it’s Winter, it’s an ideal time to get out those needles and wool, cosy up in front of the fire and start knitting! While I am definitely no expert in the art form, hence I suspect my large number of books on the subject, I have still managed to make quite a few scarves and hats over the years, which I will feature throughout this post, including the odd challenging and stimulating technique! I actually did do a brief course in knitting at TAFE years ago, some of whose samples are also featured in this post!

Here are some of the knitting books in my craft library, which I have found particularly useful! Because this post is quite long, I have divided it into two posts: General Knitting Books (Beginners and Advanced) this week and Designers and Patterns (including toys) next week.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.47.42General Knitting Books

Beginner Knitters

How To Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete With Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects For Your Home and Family by Debbie Bliss 1999

An excellent book for the beginner, the Introduction covers yarns and equipment and instructions for working from a pattern and knitting a tension swatch, to holding the yarn and needles, making a slip knot, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, the basic stitches and the first of a number of simple projects throughout the book to familiarise the reader with the techniques.32476691_10156215149529933_7249506115308748800_nChapter Two covers single and double rib, picking up stitches, making a stitch and cast-off buttonhole, as well as a simple stitch pattern library.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.34.37While Aran knitting, with its intricate cables, twists and bobbles creating amazing textures, is the subject of Chapter Three, personally I was more drawn to the colour workshop in Chapter Four with its emphasis on Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques. Joining in yarn, securing ends, weaving and stranding, working from a chart and working in the round with circular needles or a set of four needles is also covered.BlogKnittingBooks2518-05-13 13.38.47Chapter Five focuses on lace knitting, with instructions on yarn overs, additional decreases and making lace edging, as well as a lace stitch library of pretty lace patterns. While I will probably never do the complicated -looking entrelac knitting, it is still good to know that I can learn how-to in Chapter Six! I am more likely to use Chapter Seven, which discusses all the decorative details like embroidery, Swiss darning, loop knitting and fringing, the use of sequins and beads, making pompoms and cords, and finishing a garment with a decorative hem.

For more experienced knitters, there is a Design Workshop in Chapter Eight, which discusses design  principles and how to design a simple sweater, making sweater calculations, patterns and motifs, edgings and designing for children.

The final chapter appropriately focuses on finishing the garment: Making up and joining pieces, seams, picking up dropped stitches, unravelling, finishing fabrics by blocking and pressing and caring for knitwear.

Standard knitting abbreviations and yarn weights are included in the appendix, along with a list of stockists.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.27

The Encyclopedia of Knitting: Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitches and Inspirational Designs by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths 2000

Another excellent book covering the basics, it is divided into three parts:

The Essentials: Materials, basic skills, and essential and additional know-how, including four different cast-on methods, knit and purl, garter and stockinette stitches, seven cast-off methods, picking up dropped stitches, shaping a garment with increases and decreases, picking up stitches, reading patterns and charts, understanding gauge, making up, hems and facings, fastenings, grafting, turning rows and bias and chevron knitting.

The Stitch Collection advances from basic knit and purl and ribs through cables, twists, bobbles and leaves and lace to stranded colour knitting, intarsia and special effects like cross-stitch and embroidery, incorporating beads and sequins, loops, slipstitch colour knitting, motif entrelac, tucks and pleats and circular knitting. The chunky cowl below was knitted in seed stitch on circular needles to a free pattern called Marian by Jane Richmond. See: http://www.janerichmond.com/products/marian-cowl.

BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1507BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.49Design and Inspiration covers the fundamentals of the design process: Measuring and number crunching, planning repeats, motifs and patterns, combining colour and cables, circular yokes and designing a cardigan, as well as a gallery of vintage patterns from the 1920s to the 1960s, multicultural influences, contemporary designers, colour and texture and knitting for kids and for fun.

In the back is a key to chart symbols, needle sizes and abbreviations and a glossary and index.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 10.58.18Knitting: Over 20 Exciting Projects For you To Make For Home and Family  Published by  Treasure Press 1986

This simple old book was my introduction to knitting back in my early married days and I am including it, because it was the source of my very first completed project and introduced me to the art of Fair Isle Knitting.

There is a brief history of knitting at the start, followed by information on different types of yarns and needles, needle sizes, basic skills and shaping, advanced techniques like cables, bobbles, buttonholes and colour work, reading patterns, tension and abbreviations and stitch symbols.

Stitch patterns include ribs, Aran patterns, colourwork, lace, slipstitch colourwork and lacy edgings.

There is also a small section on finishing off, laundry symbols, aftercare, design and decorative finishes.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.01.37

The rest of the book is devoted to patterns for a variety of sweaters and dresses, baby layouts, cushion covers and bedspreads and a beautiful Fair Isle trio of socks, gloves and hat, the latter which I knitted for my two girls- the book’s bright version for Caro in the photo below and a softer version in pastel blue, pink and green mohair for Jen.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.27.30

And lastly, for the kids…!

Fun With Wool Published by the Australian Wool Corporation 1981

An oldie, but a goodie, from which my children learnt to knit. It starts with Finger Knitting and  French Knitting with a homemade nancy, though we used the old wooden cotton reels with four nails in the top, as well as plying, plaiting and twisting cords and making wool collages.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 07.42.53Basic Knitting is next with easy  illustrated instructions for casting on and off, knit and purl stitches, stocking stitch and rib, increasing and decreasing, joining seams; reading a pattern, tension, pompoms and tassels and embroidery stitches.

There are many suggestions for knitted projects from jewellery, finger puppets and toys to pencil cases,tennis racquet covers, patchwork throws, scarves, hats and mittens, and simple jumpers made out of squares and rectangles.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.22.43

There are also chapters on basic crochet; simple weaving using cardboard looms or picture frames, forked branches and even cross of two sticks to make a God’s Eye; and basic spinning using a pencil or spindle. Here are two photos of my children knitting scarves- 14 year old Caroline knitting a bright colourful scarf for the Armidale Winter (above) and our 20 year old university student Jenny, who made us all long red scarves in the even colder Canberra Winter.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.46 She also commemorated her knitting forays in this cute illustration and even her own song- ‘The Long Red Scarf’!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.52More Advanced Knitters

The Handknitter’s Design Book: A Practical Guide To Creating Beautiful Knitwear by Alison Ellen 1992

While probably a bit advanced for me, this book is perfect for knitters, who want to create their own designs! It starts by examining the precedents of knitting- its history and traditional techniques; different kinds of yarn: wool, alpaca/angora and cashmere, cotton and linen, silk, synthetics and more unusual material like string and ribbon, rags and waste packaging; the properties of stretch and drape; choosing needles, tension and basic knitting techniques with all the possible variations including casting on and off; picking up stitches and colour knitting. The swatches below feature in order: Simple Cable Ribs (Cable to the left; Cable to the right); Horseshoe Cable; and Plaited Cable.

Texture, colour and patterns (horizontal/vertical and diagonal stripes; grids and checks; dots and repeat motifs; geometric; motifs; pictorial/floral and abstract/ random) are examined in great detail in Chapters Four to Six, while Chapter Seven focuses on shapes and details: block patterns; calculations and measurements; adjustments for different body shapes; shape variations-chevrons; waisted shapes, peplums and frills; skirts; sleeves and cuffs; armholes; necks; collars; openings; buttonholes and loops; pockets; and joins and seams. Below is a photo of a beautiful Broken Cable Pullover, which I bought thirty years ago and which still attracts admiring comments every Winter!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1491The Stitch Library is an excellent reference guide to over 50 different types of knitting stitches and is followed by a few projects, which can be used as a starting point for your own individual designs, with basic patterns for triangular and diagonal shawls; simple jumpers, cardigans and hats; and cushions.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.35

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore 1988

While designing my own garment from scratch is probably beyond my capabilities, I do love colour and am much more prepared to take up the challenge of Fair Isle knitting, with which I have had a lifelong love affair! In fact, we even spent a weekend staying at a bird observatory lodge on the Fair Isle, when we visited the United Kingdom in 1994. While we were there, I bought a beautiful warm polo neck jumper from some local knitters, featured in the photo below.BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1498BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1497Alice Starmore is a foremost authority on Fair Isle knitting and I own two of her books, one of which I have already featured in my post on Design Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/.

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While Charts for Colour Knitting has a distinctly multicultural feel with traditional and adapted patterns from all over the world, her Book of Fair Isle Knitting is specific to this beautiful little isolated island, with the first chapter giving a brief overview of the island’s history, as well as the origins and development of its unique style of stranded knitting.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.28.33

In Chapter Two, she discusses Pattern: the different types; reading pattern charts and creating patterns with a pattern library for Peerie, Border, Large, Allover, Norwegian Stars and Seeding patterns. Chapter Three focuses on Colour: its effect on and use in design with a gallery of different colour combinations for inspiration, while Chapter Four really gets down to the nitty-gritty with an emphasis on Technique: Circular knitting; Tension/ gauge; Casting-on; English and Continental knitting methods; Weaving in strands and corrugated ribbing; Increases and decreases; Steeks (the Scottish word for bridging openings like cardigan fronts or armholes when circular knitting); Joining knitting; Trimmings (buttonholes, pompoms, fringes and cords) and the care of Shetland wool garments.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.29.24

The Wardrobe of Patterns contains patterns for ganseys, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, vests and accessories (tammy, gloves and mittens), so the readers can gain confidence before embarking on the final section titled: Creating Your Own Designs, definitely a section for the more advanced knitter than myself!!!

It discusses measurements, drawing a plan, gauge, calculating stitches and rows, fitting patterns into widths/ lengths, centreing patterns, and  progressing from design to working instructions.

There are notes on designing tammies and caps; a gansey with a gusset (love the phrase!); gansey variations; cardigans; and variations in the shape and style of necklines, sleeves and lengths.

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An excellent reference guide for anyone interested in developing their knowledge and skill in Fair Isle Knitting!

Next week, we will feature books on knitting designers and their patterns.

Calligraphy Books

As many of you know from my post on history books, in which I discuss the historical development of languages (https://candeloblooms.com/2017/09/26/history-books-part-three-history/),  I have always been interested in this subject, especially the way in which we use symbols to codify oral expression with a wide variety of writing systems throughout time and place from ancient pictograms, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing to modern writing systems, based on word writing (Chinese characters), syllable writing (Japanese syllabaries) and alphabetic writing (based on phonemes or sound units). However, it is the practical application and art of writing or calligraphy, which is the subject of this post.

Calligraphy, sometimes known as the art of penmanship, derives from the Greek καλλιγραφία , ‘kalli’ and ‘graphia’, meaning ‘beautiful writing’ and refers to the design and aesthetic execution of lettering with a broad tip pen, brush or other writing tool eg quill or qalam (a reed pen used in Islamic calligraphy).

In fact, it is considered one of the highest art forms in the Islamic world, particularly during the Ottoman Era (1299-1922). Calligraphy was also the visual art form prized above all others in traditional China, especially during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). See: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chcl/hd_chcl.htm and http://www.art-virtue.com/history/tang/tang.htm. I recently bought a lovely Chinese calligraphy set, complete with two brushes, an ink stick, grinding stone, seal and sealing wax, seen in the next two photos.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.28The heyday of calligraphy in the Western world was during the Medieval Period, when scribes in monasteries copied the bible and other sacred texts by hand, producing beautiful illuminated texts like the Celtic Lindisfarne Gospels ((715–720 AD) and the Book of Kells (800 AD).

With the development of the Gutenberg Printing Press in 1454, and its subsequent popularity, the production of illuminated manuscripts declined, but fortunately, the art of calligraphy was revived by William Morris, Sydney Cockerell and William Lethaby  during the Arts and Crafts Period at the end of the nineteenth century, with an English calligrapher, Edward Johnston (1872-1944), being credited as the father of modern calligraphy, along with German calligrapher, Rudolf Koch (1876-1934).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.51I discovered calligraphy in the early 1980s before children came along and I still had unlimited personal time! I did courses with The Pen Shoppe in Brisbane, which has since expanded to include a second shop in Brisbane, as well as shops in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and a huge online store. The shop in the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, also has a Vintage Pen Museum. For more about The Pen Shoppe, see : http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/g/26656/about-us.html. It still offers calligraphy supplies (http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/c/233763/1/calligraphy-.html) and courses (for dates, see: https://www.facebook.com/penmanshipworkshop/ and http://www.themodelshoppe.com.au/files/workshops-oct17-mar18.pdf ). Here are photos of my old practice pad and a very basic sample Christmas card from the 80s!

I loved the meditative aspects and beauty of this slow and aesthetic art form, but unfortunately, with the increasing pace of life and lack of free time and the development of computers with their digitised typefaces and desktop publishing software applications like AdobeInDesign, hand executed calligraphy is very much a specialised pursuit now, but I believe it is still very valid. There are certainly some beautiful sets these days!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.55.43BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.32Given that my last post on my craft library concerned books on papercraft, I thought a good bridging book to this post would be my first book:

The Handcrafted Letter: Get Inspired, Find Your Voice and Create Unique Projects to Keep in Touch by Diane Maurer-Mathison  2001

Given that most modern communication is via email or text, it is often forgotten that ‘snail mail’ was the major form of communication for many years, especially over long distances before the age of the telephone or internet. In fact, it is quite a rarity these days to receive a hand-written letter or card, elevating its receipt to a very special event, so it is even more important to spend time on the selection of papers and cards and the presentation of the message.

In her book, Diane quotes Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who described the arrival of a letter as being’ like the bright beams of the moon on the desolate heath’ (in a letter to his daughter Mary Jefferson on  7 Feb 1799 , sourced from the Domestic Life of Jefferson, as can be seen in: http://archive.org/stream/domesticlifeofth010719mbp/domesticlifeofth010719mbp_djvu.txt), a beautiful description, which is just as apt today for such an increasingly rare event!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.58.28 I totally identify with Diane’s assertion that a handwritten letter is far more personal, special and intimate than an email or typed letter and reflects our personality, as well as being a valuable record for future generations. We really value old family letters from the 1850s, when Ross’s great grandfather John, as well as John’s brother Thomas and cousin Edmund emigrated to Australia from England, and correspondence during the First World War between those family members left at home and the boys who fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front. The last letter from Ross’s 25 year old uncle, Alf, who died at Pozières, France, on or about the 5th August 1916, was particularly poignant! However, I digress…!!BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 16.51.43In her book, Diane covers a variety of topics from simple italic handwriting and letter-writing tips to the materials themselves: Pens and writing implements; decorative stationary and artful envelopes, as well as a number of different decorative techniques including card making; handmade paper; pressed flower paper; puzzle letters; embossing; decorative borders; quilling; spatter painting; leaf printing; collages; stencilling; rubber stamping; Suminagashi marbling; and making paste paper. It’s certainly a very inspiring book with some wonderful ideas for creating beautiful letters!BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.48.17Now to the other sort of ‘letter’ with two interesting books on the development of the alphabet:

Alphabet: The History, Evolution and Design of the Letters We Use Today by Allan Haley 1995

This fascinating book tells the story of the Latin alphabet from the monumental capitals, inscribed on ancient Roman monuments, to the history of our lower case alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks.  In the beginning of the book, there is a System of Classification for Typefaces, based on nine basic groups: Old Style; Transitional; Modern;  Clarendon; Slab Serif; Glyphic; Sans Serif; Scripts; and Graphic, with descriptions of each type and examples of sub-types within each category. There is also a list of Typographic Terminology to enable understanding of the main text of the book.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.24After a discussion of the history of Capital Letters, each letter of the alphabet is described in detail, its evolution, as well as notes on its structure, design and practical presentation. Did you know that: the Capital Letter A is thought to have been derived from the Phoenecian alef, the symbol for the head of an ox, one of their most important working animals and main source of power, and that its width should be three-quarters its height, while our second Capital Letter B evolves from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph signifying shelter, the second most important ingredient for human survival, as well as correlating with the second letter of the Phoenecian alphabet beth, meaning house, as in Bethel (House of God) and Bethlehem (House of Bread).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.19The history of the lower case letters is equally fascinating from the development of three different hands by scribes for graphic communication (Square Capitals; Rustic Capitals and Roman Cursive)  to the rounded Uncial letters found in bible transcriptions and fine calligraphy from the fourth to the ninth century and Half-Uncials, an easier, more condensed and readable style for secular documents.

National Hands developed, specific to each geographical region, the Irish Hand being one of the most beautiful, as seen in the Book of Kells of 800 AD. Charlemagne further reformed writing styles in the late eighth century with the Caroline Miniscules, eliminating cursive forms and all ligatures and adapting easily to Gutenberg’s Movable Type in the mid-fourteenth century.

Again, the origin and formation of each lower case letter is described in detail. I was particularly interested in the ‘r’ and ‘s’, as I have learnt both letters in their two different forms (Cursive and Common Core) in the past and still mix them up within the same text! For younger readers, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EzdAFw2aWc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tdmbYz0O7o.

The design development of Ampersands, Arabic Numerals from 0 to 9 and Punctuation Marks, including periods, commas, colons, semi-colons, quotation marks and exclamation and question marks, are also discussed in this informative source book for typographers and calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.06Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen 2013

This highly entertaining and readable paperback also explores the history of the alphabet in a series of anecdotes covering different alphabet-related topics. Each of the 26 chapters starts with a short story about the evolution of the particular letter, its pronunciation and its use. For example, A is for Alphabet ; C is for Ciphers; D is for Disappeared Letters; J is for Jokes; M is for Music and Memory; N is for Nonsense; P is for Pitman; Q is for Qwerty; and Z is for Zip Codes. I hope these examples whet your appetite to read this very enjoyable book.

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In the back is a series of twenty challenges named The Oulipo Olympics, including Pangrams (a sentence using all letters of the alphabet eg ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’); Isopangrams ( a sentence 26 letters long using all the letters of the alphabet); Palindromes (words spelt the same forwards and backwards eg Mama or a more complex phrase: ‘A man, a plan, a canal – Panama’); Acrostics ( a poem using the alphabet letters as the initial letters of the lines of the poem) ; Word Ladders (transforming one word into another by changing one letter at a time eg Head to Tail: Head, Heal, Teal, Tell, Tall and Tail); and Homoconsonantism (a text with all vowels removed, then replace with other vowels, which still makes sense!)

For a theoretical guide to the alphabet, this is a really fun book! Now for some practical books about calligraphy in order of their publication!

The Art of Calligraphy: A Practical Guide by Marie Angel 1977

Marie Angel (1923-2010) was a British freelance illustrator, miniaturist  and calligrapher, who wrote and illustrated 25 books and was responsible for reviving interest in calligraphy in the 1980s. Some of her beautiful images can be seen on: https://www.pinterest.com.au/patsy01942/calligraphy-by-marie-angel/.

She focused on animals, lettering, and the spiritual, and her work demonstrated the very highest level of attention to detail, exquisite skill and the use of beautiful colours. If ever anyone could inspire you to take up calligraphy, she could! This photo shows some of the tools, with which I started: Pencils, brushes, fountain pens and holders with interchangeable nibs. BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.58This  guide starts with chapters on Tools and Materials (Drawing Boards; Writing Pads; Blotting Paper; Paper and Vellum; Guards; Rulers; Pencils; Metal Nibs; Fountain Pens; Inks; Watercolors; Poster Paints; Gouache; Compasses; Erasers and Pumice Powder) and Working Positions, followed by a discussion of Roman and Formal Italic Alphabets, before honing in on :

Planning a Book of One Section;

Practical Use of Calligraphy (posters; rolls of honour; certificates; greeting cards; invitations; bookplates; monograms; record books; catalogs; and decorative maps and travel journals);

The Layout and Decoration of Manuscript Books; and

The Binding of a Single-Section Manuscript Book.

Her final chapter discusses suggestions for more Advanced Studies: More complicated hands; Making versals (compound letters); cutting quills; and raised gilding, of which she was such a master!

In the back of the book are Appendices of Calligraphic Societies; Workshops and Classes; Suppliers of Calligraphic Materials and a Bibliography.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.18Using Calligraphy: A Workbook of Alphabets, Projects and Techniques by Margaret Shepherd 1979

I loved the presentation and style of this practical workbook, handwritten totally in Italic lettering. The first chapter focuses on the Five Ps: Pens, Pigments, Paper, Proficiency (the fifth one being Practice, implied but not included in the chapter title! It discusses quill pens; felt pens, Mitchell pens and fountain pens with interchangeable metal nibs of different sizes and shapes; inks (India Ink; coloured inks and water-based dyes); vellum; calligraphy papers; goldleaf; liquid paper and erasers; pencils; calligraphy books and societies; and basic calligraphy practices and workmanship.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.01.13The next section of the workbook, New Alphabets From Old,  reviews five basic scripts: Roman, Celtic, Gothic, Italic and Bookhand. It includes short lessons and master-sheets (guideline sheets) to copy for practising and attaining a firm grasp of these scripts, as well as easy experimental exercises for 50 alphabet variations.

The third section of the book explains seven different practical  projects: a Framed Favourite Quote; Artwork for an Announcement (Publicity); Designing a Logo, Letterhead and Cards; Two Designs for a Family Tree; Party Invitations and Seating; Diplomas, Awards and Scrolls; and Making a Large Poster or Standup Sign. 

The final chapter looks at Going into Business as a Calligrapher: Calligraphy Services/ Teaching/ Craft Fairs; Advertising and Promotion; and Pricing and Accounting.

It is a very useful book for both beginners and more experienced calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.27

Painting for Calligraphers by Marie Angel 1984

Another beautiful and inspiring book by Marie Angel, I bought this book in a little old corner bookshop in Rye-on-Winchelsea on my first overseas trip. I adore this book and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in calligraphy. Marie wrote this book after The Art of Calligraphy in response to an increasing number of requests for more detailed information on her method of painting miniatures, so she assumes a basic knowledge of calligraphy and focuses more on the illustration side. It is a truly beautiful book!

The first few chapters concentrate on:

Materials: Drawing Boards; Pencils; Erasers; Knives; Pens; Paint Colours (Tubes; Powders; Cakes and Gouache); Coloured Inks; Brushes; Shell Gold; Vellum; Paper; Stretching vellum and paper; Tracing Paper; Binding Media and Sundry Supplies (Palettes; Rags; Sponges; Tissues; Blotting Paper; Tape; Rulers; Compass; Dividers; Set Squares and T-Squares);

Colour: Colour Theory and Technical Terms (Hue, Tint, Tone and Brilliance; Warm and Cold Colours; Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Colours; Complementary Colours; and Induced, Local and Reflected Colours);

Pigments: Colour Permanence and Colour Testing for Fastness to Light; Selecting and Mixing Watercolours; Gouache Pigments; and Powder Colours.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.00.36The following section focuses on the Design Process: Page Design; Space; Margins; Capitals; Composition; Focal Points; Tones; Broadsheets and Broadsides; and Composition Methods, as well as Illustration Techniques: Drawing; Preparation; Watercolours; Line-and-Wash Drawings; Using Gouache, Dry Ground Pigments, Acrylics and Shell Gold; Decorated Initial Letters; and Painting Heraldry.

Throughout the text are beautiful examples of calligraphy by herself, as well as Celtic, Medieval, Islamic and contemporary calligraphers. In the back are technical notes by contemporary scribes. While this book was written pre-internet, I have included websites where appropriate. They include:

Irene Base: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1well&mtri=cscu1calig;

Ida Henstock;

Dorothy Mahoney;

Sheila Waters: https://designtraveler.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/sheila-waters-a-link-to-calligraphic-foundations/;  https://www.calligraphersguild.org/SheilaWaters.html; http://www.thepensivepen.com/2014/12/foundations-of-calligraphy-sheila-waters.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0YM_EhfUCs. I adore her Roundel of the Seasons!;

Joan Pilsbury: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1pilsbury&mtri=cscu1calig and https://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Crafts/021M-C0960X0121XX-0001V0;

Wendy Westover : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10742720/Wendy-Westover-obituary.html and https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-champion-of-calligraphy-and-illumination-20140411-zqthv.html;

Thomas Ingmire  http://www.thomasingmire.com/;

John Prestianni; and John Woodcock, as well as a list of suppliers of artists’ materials.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.37Sixty Alphabets: Selected and Introduced by Gunnlaugur SE Briem 1986

Another book, which introduces the work of sixty talented calligraphers. Each artist was invited to contribute one of their designs, along with an introduction to themselves, their artistic journey and their work. This book displays the huge diversity of styles and media used within this art form and serves as an inspiration to future calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.52.42

Calligraphy: A Handbook for Beginners by Beverley Amos 1989

This is a great book for beginners, teaching new calligraphers to use edged pens to produce letter forms in the basic styles of Roman, Foundational, Uncial, Italic and Rounded Gothic alphabets!

It begins with a discussion of Materials, common to the other books, but also specifying essential nibs, pens and inks. Also included in Part One are notes on Setting Up; Getting Started; Left-Handed Calligraphy; Handy Hints; Nomenclature; Ruling Guide Lines; and Pen Widths.

Part Two discusses Letterforms, the different lettering styles in detail: their history and evolution; letter proportions and spacings; and practice strokes and examples.

Part Three examines Design Features: Choosing the Right Style; Layout Tips; Decorative Layout; Common Errors; Texture; Backgrounds; Special Pens and Effects; Decorative Motifs, Borders and Flourishes; Decorated Letters; and Using Colour (Inks, Watercolours, Poster Colours, Designer’s Gouache, Stick Ink and Felt Pens).

The final section looks at practical applications in Part Four: Calligraphy For Every Occasion and  discusses layouts and guidelines for Posters; Letters and Envelopes; Greeting Cards; Certificates and Place Cards; Retail Tickets; Labels; Bookplates; Monograms and Ciphers; Logos and Letterheads; and Gift Ideas.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.44

Calligraphy Stroke by Stroke: A New Illustrated Guide to Calligraphy Techniques With Eleven Calligraphic Alphabets by Annie Moring 1995

My final book on calligraphy, this is another excellent and comprehensive guide for beginners with Introductory Notes on Tools and Materials; Writing Position; Ruling; Stroke Order; Pen Strokes; Geometric Forms; Slope; and Serifs (the starting and finishing strokes of letters); followed by  11 of the most commonly used Alphabets in their upper and lower case forms. They include: Foundational Hand (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Script (Miniscule and Capitals); Roman Capitals; Uncial Letters (Modern and Half Uncial); Gothic Script (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Cursive; and the elegant Versal Letters, used in the early illuminated manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.04.22Each alphabet has an Essential Information Panel covering elements like letter height, pen angles, geometric form; slope and serif forms; Photographic step-by-step sequences showing the formation of each letter, including directional arrows and angles, as well as alternative letterforms, punctuation and numerals;  a Troubleshooting Section analysing common mistakes and a Gallery of inspirational professional work. Rulers, compasses and set squares, as well as erasers and sharpeners are very useful tools for calligraphers.

The final section of the book looks at Presentation: Letter, Word and Line Spacing; Margins; and Types of Layout. I would highly recommend this book as well.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.50For more books about calligraphy, see: http://www.holoweb.net/liam/pictures/calligraphy/resources/books.html;

It is also worth exploring the following sites:

Modern Calligraphy Collection of The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. See : http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/n/nal-modern-calligraphy/;

The Edward Johnston Foundation, a research centre for calligraphy and the lettering arts: http://www.ejf.org.uk/ejfcollectiona.html;

The Society of Scribes and Illuminators: https://calligraphyonline.org/about/, which holds annual exhibitions; courses and workshops, including correspondence course, study days and masterclasses; a list of suppliers; and an excellent Links section: https://calligraphyonline.org/links/ to further sites;

The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, the largest Western calligraphy and lettering society in the world, which is based in the United Kingdom and holds regional meetings and a six-day Festival of Calligraphy over the Summer: http://www.clas.co.uk/ and http://www.clas.co.uk/pdf/CLAS%20brochure%202018%20Final.pdf;

International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH), the oldest and largest penmanship organization in the United States:  https://www.iampeth.com/home;

The Craft Study Centre at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, UK: http://www.csc.uca.ac.uk/calligraphy-and-lettering/;

The Pen Museum, Birmingham: https://penmuseum.org.uk/;

The Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering at the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the San Francisco Public Library: https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000013701 and

The Calligraphy section of the Online Resource for Visual Arts: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1calig&mtri=cscu1calig;

The Calligraphy Bookshop: http://www.calligraphity.com/;

John Neal Booksellers: http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/calligraphy-illumination and http://www.jnbooksellerblog.com/;

Scribblers Calligraphyhttps://www.scribblers.co.uk/;

The Letter Exchange: http://www.letterexchange.org/;

Quill London: https://quilllondon.com/# and https://quilllondon.com/blogs/modern-calligraphy-blog#;

Art at Clevancy, Wiltshire: http://www.artatclevancy.co.uk/; and here in Australia,

The Australian Society of Calligraphers: http://www.asoc.org.au/ and Calligraphy Supplies Australia: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/. They even have a blog: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/blogs/news, which lists owner Kerry’s top ten Calligraphy and Lettering Instagram accounts.

There are also a huge number of calligraphy blogs online. See: http://www.webdesignschoolsguide.com/library/40-fantastic-calligraphy-blogs.html; https://blog.feedspot.com/calligraphy_blogs/ and https://thepostmansknock.com/beginners-guide-modern-calligraphy/, as well as Youtube tutorials like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3phzKsXpko8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8aXoFJ1I9A; and online courses like those listed at: https://www.skillshare.com/browse/calligraphy and https://learningcloud.com.au/courses/1295/calligraphy.

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Books on Papercraft: Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making Models/ Flowers/ Toys and Decorations; Papier-mâché and Papermaking

Last week, we examined some of the wonderful books describing general paper craft, in particular, those involving cutting : Papercutting; Silhouettes and Découpage. This week, we are focusing on Paper folding and origami; Constructing models, toys, games and decorations from paper, Papier-mâché and finally, the craft of making handmade paper!

Origami and Paper Folding

When one thinks of paper crafts, one of the first ones which springs to mind is the art of origami, which derives from the Japanese words: ‘ori’ meaning ‘to fold ‘and ‘kami’ ‘meaning ‘paper’. While paper folding itself probably started earlier in China, origami originated in Japan in the 6th Century, after paper was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. In 1797, the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru Orikata by Akisato Rito, though it was more about cultural customs and the Legend of the Thousand Cranes, in which the maker of 1000 paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.14.09 I didn’t quite get there with my paper crane mobile, which I made out of Japanese papers, seen in the photo below, and hung from an old shuttle for my friend Heather to celebrate the launch of her Saori weaving business, Art Weaver, in March 2014.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 08.42.36 Saori weaving  also originated in Japan and Heather is the Melbourne agent. See: http://artweaverstudio.com.au/. Here are some photos of the finished mobile!

The modern form of origami was developed and popularised by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), including the technique of wet-folding and the use of a set of universally recognised symbols for instruction, the Yoshizawa–Randlett system. Dotted and dashed lines represented mountain and valley folds, and Yoshizawa also created symbols for ‘inflate’ and ‘round’. These symbols and folding techniques are discussed in the next book, also written by a Japanese origami expert, who originally studied under Yoshizawa, but progressed to develop his own style.

Creative Origami by Kunihiko Kasahara 1967

My first book of origami, this is a great basic guide to the artform, with 100 patterns for creating birds, animals, insects, marine life, flora, masks and people. I have used it quite a bit over the years. In the back of the book, Kasahara also discusses the nature of creativity, especially in relation to origami, as well as the basic folds, framework and compounds. For more on the author, see: http://www.britishorigami.info/academic/lister/kasahara.php.

You can also find excellent patterns online at sites like: https://www.origami-resource-center.com/free-origami-instructions.html; http://www.origami-fun.com/free-origami-instructions.html and https://origami.me/diagrams/.

It is also well worth looking at the art of  origami masters like Robert J Lang at : http://www.langorigami.com/, especially: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYKcOFQCeno. Absolutely mind-blowing!

The artwork of other contemporary practitioners can be seen on: https://mymodernmet.com/contemporary-origami-artists/.

I would also love to see the documentary Between the Folds one day. See: https://www.betweenthefolds.com/.

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The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book by Paul Jackson and Angela A’Court 1992

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Children may find the origami patterns in this book slightly easier to follow, as this particular book is very much directed at a younger audience. My children used this book to develop their paper craft skills, including making wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift tags, cards (see photo of my daughter’s homemade cards below) and envelopes, party hats, masks, desk sets, kites, mobiles and decorations, pantins and paper dolls, paper flowers, papier-mâché models and even Easter baskets, Christmas crackers and Advent calendars.BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.09BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.34There are also some wonderful websites on origami and YouTube clips make it all so much easier! I had a lovely day teaching Zoë to make an origami cat, fox and mice bookmarks, which can be found on the following websites:

http://make-origami.com/easy-origami-cat/;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGJv9eHwoMs;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajPnqLqvqqM.

BlogPapercraft2016-01-01 01.00.00-23 (2)Folded Secrets: Paper Folding Projects Books One to Four.

I also own a series of books based on Chinese paper folding by Ruth Smith, who describes how to make ‘Zhen Xian Bao’ or Needle Thread Pockets, an ancient traditional art in South West China practised by the Miao, Dong and other minorities. See: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1249&sid=dba0d7a0a57d924a2077acf54ca74eb0.

Ruth has an article about these pockets on: http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf, but it is well worth purchasing her books, so you can work your way through all her projects of increasing complexity. I had to email Ruth to buy this books at : eruthsmith@btinternet.com. Hopefully, the email address is still current.

I found these little pockets fascinating and the instructions very clear and easy to follow. After practising the basic technique with brown paper and making this Folded Secrets Book with 15 Compartments,BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.06.06

I made Square Mini Books for Christmas gifts (Book One),BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.49BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.40BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.52 my skills culminating in the Folded Secrets Advent Calendar for 2012 (Book Four).BlogPaperPost5012-12-01 06.59.52

Each pocket held a tiny gift or a rhyming clue for a treasure hunt to locate larger objects.BlogPaperPost5012-11-27 11.49.03

There are also instructions for making interesting cards and beautiful gift boxes in Book Two.  I would love to try making the Star Fold Pockets one day!

Paper Toys, Games, Models and  Decorations

Childhood Games and Toys

Some of our earliest experiences with paper, at least when I was growing up, are paper chains and dressing up paper dolls, so I have included the following three books.

Vanishing Animal Paper Chains: A Complete Kit by Stewart and Sally Walton 1996

Using 12 animal stencils and patterned paper provided in the book, the authors give simple instructions for making paper chains, which can then be used to make cards, masks, calendars, games, wall friezes, t-shirt stencils and even a safari game park. The inset boxes teach children about the different rare animals from rhinos, mountain gorillas and snow leopards to giant anteaters, Arabian oryx and dhole, the wild dog of East Asia and India.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.41.37

I also used to love dressing paper dolls, with their little tabs which bent over the background figure, usually at the shoulders. I don’t know that they are available anymore or if kids would still enjoy them. Remember we are talking about pre-computer days!!!

Fashion Paper Dolls From ‘ Godey’s Lady’s Book’ 1840-1854 by Susan Johnston 1977

Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in America and was the most influential women’s magazine of  the 19th century. See: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=godeylady and  http://www.accessible-archives.com/collections/godeys-ladys-book/.

It provided its readers with needlework projects, household hints and recipes, as well as hand-tinted fold-outs, showing the latest fashions. This book contains seven fashion paper dolls, each with its own wardrobe, with 50 costumes in all.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.19

Paper Doll Portrait: Antique German Bisque Dolls by Peggy Jo Rosamond 1985

Peggy Jo Rosamond is a serious antique doll collector, including the German Bisque dolls, as well as paper dolls. This book combines her interests, featuring six original paper dolls with authentic period costumes from the 1920s. Once made and dressed, they can be assembled in a ‘Portrait in the Park’ tableau.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.42.13

As children, we also used to make houses out of shoe boxes, cutting doors and four-paned windows and decorating the insides with patterned paper and homemade furniture made from matchboxes. Making cardboard models and dioramas is an excellent way to develop children’s  imagination and creativity, as well as their eye-hand coordination skills. The following two books have taken on this concept, though really are an extension of the paper doll world. I still prefer the originality of homemade versions, even though these miniature worlds are very cute!!

Mouse’s Christmas Tree : A Cutout Model Book  by Michelle Cartlidge 1985

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Instead of dressing paper dolls, this book decorates a Christmas tree for carol-singing mice, complete with decorations, candles, stockings, paper chains and gift boxes, while

Little Boxes: A Cutout Model Book by Michelle Cartlidge 1983

Is based on a collection of little boxes, each containing a miniature stand-up scene: a puppet show; sweet shop; rabbits playing by moonlight; a ballet class for mice; sailing boats on the sea; bunnies in bed; and a mouse house with four rooms.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.33

Having developed box-making skills with the latter book, the next two books extends the artform with 15 very beautiful gift boxes of a variety of unusual shapes and 8 mathematical models to cut out and assemble.

The Gift Box Book by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild 1999

This lovely book, aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but really appropriate for any age group, contains 11 gift boxes, including a Flower Basket; a hexagonal English Rose Box; Pandora’s Box; Black Diamond Box; a pentagonal Mosaic Box; a triangular Lilac Box; Green Crystal Box; Rocket Box; Tent of Paradise Box; Lady Eleanor’s Casket; and the Fibonacci Box, and four boxes to colour yourself : Cottage Box; Sailing Ship Box; Rainbow Box; and Butterfly Box; as well as instructions for designing and making your own gift boxes, including cube-shaped boxes with attached lids; treasure chests; tent boxes (like Toblerone chocolate boxes); circular boxes with a separate lid and boxes with sloping sides.

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Make Shapes: Series No. 2: 8 Mathematical Models to Cut Out, Glue and Decorate by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild  1978

If your appetite is whetted for making increasingly complex shapes, this book is ideal for you! Plans are provided for a Great Dodecahedron; a Great Stellated Dodecahedron, a Rhombicosidodecahedron; an Icosidodecahedron;  a Compound of Five Tetrahedra; an Octahedran Cross; a Third Stellation of Icosahedron; and a Faceted Cube. In the back are notes about decorating these shapes. I must admit, we never did get round to making these models, but they look stunning and maybe, I will make up the Third Stellation of Icosahedron, the Great Dodecahedron or a Great Stellated Dodecahedron for Christmas one day! There is an earlier book in the series with slightly simpler models, which might be a bit easier for us!!!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.49

Another childhood activity was making huge concertina-folded crepe paper flowers and may have more appeal than mathematical models! While my childhood blooms were very dramatic and simple, the following book has a more modern and sophisticated approach with a huge variety of paper flowers.

Fanciful Paper Flowers: Creative Techniques for Crafting an Enchanted Garden by Sandra Evertson 2007

Using 10 different techniques and the beautiful vintage papers and ephemera provided, Sandra has instructions for 30 projects from simple bouquets, garlands and wreaths, and floral baubles and window decorations; to tiaras and brooches and even shoe clips and hat pins.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.42.56The next two books are wonderful sources of inspiration for adults with the paper bug!

Paper Bliss: Projects and Musings on Life in the Paper Lane by Skye Rogers 2012

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Using 10 templates printed on the inside of the book cover, 8 handmade specialty papers, specially designed by Skye, and recycled waste paper, this lovely book describes 29 projects, including milk carton vases; papier-mâché bowls; book sculptures; paper boxes and houses; mobiles and wreaths; books, envelopes and cards; stamp artwork; paper dolls and roses; articulated figures; twirling hearts; découpage drawers; and shadow treasure boxes. Here is a photo of my decoupaged drawers, which hold all my treasures!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.03.48

In the front are notes on the basic tool kit, basic techniques and a recipe for homemade glue, while inspiring books and magazines, websites and paper artists and Australian supply sources are listed in the back. A relatively recent purchase, I look forward to making some of these projects! For more about Skye, see her website at: https://www.skyesthelimit.com.au/.

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining The Book by Jason Thompson 2010

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As an avid reader and book collector, I am in two minds about Altered Books, sometimes known as bibliovandalism, or indeed using books as a material for any paper project! My feelings are  a bit akin to the same thoughts I have about tearing colour-plates out of old vintage books and framing them as separate pictures!

Nevertheless, I still have a sneaky admiration for artworks created from old books and given the huge numbers of books, which might otherwise be tossed in the dump, especially during our love affair and transition to the digital world, it is a way of recycling them and giving them a second life. Here are some photos of the recycled paper objects I own: a flower and bird made from old music scores and wrapped pencils.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.32.45BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.34.11BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.33.27The introductory pages describe:

Materials: Adhesives, tapes and cutting tools;

Basic Techniques: Laminating; papier-mâché; decoupage; folding books; rolling and beading;

Anatomy of the Book; and Sources of Books.

After the introduction, there are instructions for 28 projects, including:

Gift Boxes, Gift Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows, Gift Tags, Cards, Postcards and Letters;

Book Bags, Pocket Books, Business Card Holders and Book Jacket Wallets;

Paper Houses; Beads; Necklaces,  Flowers and Wreaths;

Coasters;

Pencil Holders and Woven Basket Cases;

Ornaments and Mobiles;

Papier-mâché Mushrooms and Birds;

And Sculptured Apples, though I own a Paper Pear.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.36.15 The final section of the book showcases the profiles and work of a number of Paper Artists, Some of my favourites are:

Nicholas Jones: http://www.bibliopath.org/;

Su Blackwell: https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Brian Dettmer: http://briandettmer.com/;

Guy Laramee: http://www.guylaramee.com/ and http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/05/magnificent-new-carved-book-landscapes-and-architecture-by-guy-laramee/;

Jennifer Khoshmin: http://www.jenkhoshbin.com/;

Kelly Murray: https://mymodernmet.com/kelly-murray-jolis-paons-paper-dress/;  and

Tracey Bush: http://www.traceybush.com/home.

Papier- mâché and Paper Pulping

Paper into Pots And Other Fun Objects: Using Hand-made Recycled Paper And Papier- mâché  Techniques by Gerry Copp 1994

Papier-mâché is the ultimate recycling technique. It differs to sculpting with paper pulp in that it is a laminating technique, in which layers of torn pasted paper are slowly built up on a mould to create the object, where as with paper pulping, paper is shredded, soaked, blended and combined with wallpaper paste, then pressed or shaped over a mould. I love the papier-mâché dragon, which my youngest daughter made at school.BlogPaperPost2518-02-25 12.20.09The author discusses both  the layering and pulp methods to cast from a mould and create a base, as well as making colourful handmade paper for creating surface pattern. There are some beautiful projects in this inspiring book, including bowls, goblets, jewellery, mirrors and frames, clocks and boxes and sculptures.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.43.09

Hand-Made Paper Making

Finally, a book on making handmade paper itself !

Handmade Papermaking For Beginners by Kayes Van Bodegraven 1977/1981BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.43.37

I bought this book and my mould and deckle after a hobby course in handmade paper making during my university studies. It was great fun and very satisfying turning recycled waste paper into new handmade paper. We used an attachment to an electric drill to create paper pulp, then used a mould and deckle to collect and sieve the paper pulp out of the water to form a thin wet layer of paper, which is then dried.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.44.16

We learnt how to emboss the paper and create watermarks, as well as incorporate other natural fibres or confetti to decorate the surface.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.50 My only reservation was the texture created by the chux superwipes we used between the papers!BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.59 Here are more photos of some of the papers I made.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.33.05BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.31.17In his book, Kayes discusses the history of papermaking; the raw materials required; how to make the pulp; using a mould and deckle and pressing and drying the paper; embossing and incorporating other fibres; polishing paper; watermarks; paper absorbency; paper sizes, making envelopes (see photo of envelope moulds below); testing paper for wood components; and care of equipment, as well as including a glossary of papermaking terms.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.00Next week, it’s back to our monthly feature plants with a post on one of my favourite plants: Dianthus.

Books on Papercraft: Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage

The art of papercraft originated in China, where paper was invented in 105 AD and encompasses a huge variety of forms from papercutting and silhouettes to collage and découpage, card and book making, quilling, altered books, origami and paperfolding, making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, papier-mâché and even handmade papermaking itself. This enormous diversity, coupled with the relative cheapness of and the sheer beauty of  the materials themselves, makes it a very popular art form with many people, including myself, so I possess a number of general and specific paper-oriented books in my craft library, which I have divided into two posts:

Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage; and

Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, Papier-mâché and Papermaking.

Please note both spellings: papercutting and paper cutting are used to describe this artform. In this post, I have tended to use the same spelling as used in each book on the subject.

Below is a photo of some of the beautiful textured papers available these days for papercraft! They inspire one to start making paper projects immediately!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.11.20General Papercraft

A Complete Guide to Papercraft by Carson Ritchie 1978

This fascinating small guide traces the History of Papercrafts from Chinese, Turkish and European papercuts;  Victorian silhouettes and Mary Delaney’s floral collages to model theatres and paper sculpture. The author covers paper types and storage; tools (scissors, craft knives; punches; tweezers; rulers, set squares, compasses and brushes); and adhesives and paints in his chapter on Studio, Materials and Equipment.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.08.52Our first experiences with paper occur in childhood and Chapter Three describes a variety of Paper Toys, which you may remember: Thaumatropes (spinning pictures); Swingers and Spinners; Pantins ( with movable limbs) like the Paper Owl, which my daughter sent me from Germany, in the photo below; Trick and Illusion Pictures, including Three Way Pictures; Shadowgraphs; Pop-Up Books; and Peep Shows.

Next is a series of chapters dedicated to describing specific papercrafts in more detail:

Silhouettes ; Chinese Papercuts; Western Papercuts, which are totally different to the Chinese forms, in that they are usually symmetrical and often multi-coloured, including French Découpage and Polish Wycinanki; and Collage (Assemblages: Montages and Gravure Assemblages; Tinsel Prints; Flower Mosaics and miniature Amelias; Found Paper Collages) and Stamping.

Further chapters feature: Pin Prick; Quilling (or Rolled Paper Craft); and Tole (3-D Papercraft) eg Peep Shows; Model Theatres and Shadow Boxes.

The final chapter discusses Specialised Techniques like Paper Dyeing; Marbling; Gilding; Paper Tearing; Frottage; Paper Sculpture and Models; and Stencil Work.

While being an old book now, it is an excellent introduction to papercraft, with clear instructions, black-and-white photographs and diagrams and lots of inspiration for further exploration! It is also valuable as a guide to older, more historical techniques.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.37.50

The New Encyclopaedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown 2011

This more modern guide to papercraft is more extensive in the range of paper crafts it describes, as well as having colour photographs; examples by contemporary  paper artists; and more detailed step-by-step instructions for specific projects.

After an introduction covering the different kinds of papers for each technique and a discussion of paper weight and grain, the book is divided into 11 units, each containing a brief history, a description of paper types and materials required, specific methods and variations, examples of each technique in the artwork of contemporary artists and a project to practice the technique. They include:

Origami: Symbols; Basic Folds; Geometric Divisions; Bases; Decorative/ Functional/ Modular and Action Designs. Projects include: Cranes; Iris; Balloon; Boat; Butterflies; Snails; Egg Stand; Picture Frame; Antiprisms; Flapping Bird and Hungry Crow. Below is a photo of some paper cranes, which I made from this book, as a practice run for the paper crane mobile, which I describe in my post next week.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.08.25

Pop-Ups: Incised; Multi-Pieced; and Boxes. Project: Pop-Up Spider Card;

Paper Sculpture: Cones and Cylinders; Decorative Forms; Assembly and Armatures. Project: Owl;

Bookbinding: Book Block; Hard and Soft Covers; Single Section/ Multi-Section/ and Stab Binding; Project: Concertina Book;

Quilling: Shapes; Applications: Flowers; Combining Elements; and Glueing. Project: Keepsake Box;

Weaving: Designs: Plain/Irregular/Tumbling Block and 3-D. Project: Woven Paper Bowl;

Papercutting: Techniques: Symmetrical Cutting; Detailed Shapes; Layering; and Shadow Silhouetting. Project: Paper Cut Window Hanging;

Collage: Cutting and Pasting; Composition; and Overlayering. Project: Painted Paper Collage;

Papier-mâché: Casting From Found/ Modelling Clay and Plaster Moulds; Decorative Ideas: Sealing with Primer; Varnishes; Texture; and Gold Leaf;

Paper Pulping: Preparing Pulp; Applications: Using Cardboard Base; Casting a Plate; or Using Other Moulds; and even…

Paper-Making: Making Pulp: Recycled Paper; Plant Fibre; and Pulp Pigmentation; Making Paper: Couching Pad; Pulling a Sheet; and Couching; Pressing and Drying; and Decorative Techniques: Embedding: Laminating and Inclusions; Embossing and Painting with Pulp; and finally, Papermaking Recipes: Recycled Paper Samplers; Paper from Home; Pigmenting Papers; Embedding (Laminating and Inclusions); Embosssing; Painting with Pulp; and Plant Pulps, including grass and carrot tops!BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.37.37Papercutting and Silhouettes

I have always loved the look of papercutting, ever since we were introduced to this ancient craft in the early 1990s by the exquisite art works of Brigitte Stoddart, a number of which we bought during our time in Tasmania. I love her symmetry, intricate fine detail, her traditional style, heavily influenced by Polish, German and French papercutting, with its distinctive Australian flavour and her portrayal of the innocence of childhood, as can be seen in the photo below.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.23.43Brigitte used a scalpel and small scissors to cut her design from a single piece of black acid fast paper, occasionally using coloured paper behind the black and then, she, her husband and two daughters would each take a corner and very carefully lay it flat on the glued surface of the mount! Such painstakingly precise work requiring so much patience! I adored her papercut of the three children, who mirrored the interests of and thus represented our three children, who were at a similar age at the time of purchase.

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Brigitte’s papercut designs are also featured in a book we bought for our children:  Okra and Acacia: The Story of the Wattle Pattern Plate by Libby Hathorn  2002.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.38.03While I could not find much of an online presence, she does have some work on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/236698379/boxed-set-of-8-papercut-print-cards, which we also own and which show some of her coloured work.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.20.50She has also written her own book on the subject: Papercutting 1973, unfortunately now out-of-print, but available at: https://www.amazon.com/Papercutting-Brigitte-Stoddart/dp/0800862473.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.21.24

The photos above and below are some more of her cards, which we also own:BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.19.40Other  contemporary artists are featured in my first book on this subject:

Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists; Timeless Craft Compiled by Laura Heyenga 2011

Paper cutting started in China after 600 CE and was used to decorate doors and windows with assymetrical designs of animals; flowers; landscapes and narratives. It really developed as an art form in Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868), with symmetrical mon kiri, as well as in 11th century Turkey, where it was used to create shadow theatres. It was also practised in Poland (Wycinanki), Germany (Scherenschnitte); Holland (Knippen) and Switzerland (Marques) and is closely related to art of Silhouettes, popular in the 17th and 18th century.

It has experienced a revival worldwide with the work of the contemporary artists showcased in this lovely book, with their biographies in the back. While all of them are amazing, my particular favourites include:

Peter Callesen http://www.petercallesen.com/;

Heather Moore https://skinnylaminx.com/2008/02/12/a-cut-tut/ and http://www.molliemakes.com/interview-2/mollie-makes-meets-heather-moore-of-skinny-laminx/;

Nicky McClure http://nikkimcclure.com/;

Su Blackwell  https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Cindy Ferguson  http://papercutting.blogspot.com.au/ and http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/newsletters/volume48.pdf;

Helen Musselwhite http://helenmusselwhite.com/;

Rob Ryan http://robryanstudio.com/;

Beatrice Coron http://www.beatricecoron.com/;

Emily Hogarth http://emilyhogarth.com/;      and

Elsa Mora http://www.elsamora.net/  (current website )and http://elsita.typepad.com/elsita/papercuts-by-elsa-mora.html (older work).

Other excellent sites about paper cutting by Elsa Mora  include: http://www.allaboutpapercutting.com/;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planetelsita/sets/72157665847183751/with/25758401536/ and

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/11/cut-paper-sculptures-and-illustrations-by-elsa-mora/.

BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.12While this book and websites are so inspirational, it is also good to have some practical how-to guides on the subject and I have four suggestions for you:

Cut Paper Silhouettes and Stencils: An Instruction Book by Christian Rubi 1970

Featuring many traditional designs, floral motifs, woven designs, beautiful silhouettes and stencil designs, this lovely old book provides patterns and instructions for papercutting designs to be used for door plates and knockers; coats of arms; covers and opening pages of books and photo albums; invitations, letter paper and cards; invoices, bequests and birth certificates; and calligraphy; as well as information on sharpening mat knives; the principles of silhouette composition; and making, transferring and fixing stencils, preparing transparent glazes, stencil paintings, multi-coloured stencils and  using letters and numerals.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.25

I love the unusual designs and sense of history conveyed by this book. Below is a photo of one of the intricate designs I drew from this book.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.40The Craft of Paper Cutting by Angelika Hahn 1996

More modern in feel, this simple little book discusses the History, Materials and Basic Skills, including :

Cutting from Folded Paper;

Medallion Cuts;

Repeat-Pattern Cuts;

Negative Paper Cutting;

Silhouette Cuts; and

Framing.

It also features a Gallery of Paper Cuts with Designs for Children; Fairy Tales; Circus and Theatre; Impressions of Nature; City and Countryside; Famous Heads; People at Work; On Land and Water; Festivals; Chinese Paper Cuts; Romance; Ornamental Patterns, including rosettes, brooches and borders; Contemporary Paper Cuts; Miniatures and the Animal World.

In the back of the book are over 100 designs to trace and cut to make life easy!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.11Silhouettes by Sharyn Sowell 2009

Another excellent guide covering the Basics: Tools; Supplies; Getting Started; Design Basics; and Mounting and Making Silhouettes, using four simple methods: Casting a Shadow; Using a Digital Camera; Cutting or Drawing Your Own Freehand Design and Using Pre-exisiting Patterns.

The rest of the book contains 88 patterns and instructions for 24 projects, including: Cushion covers, lampshades and curtains; Napkin rings, place mats and coasters; Clock faces, storage jars and serving trays; Coat hooks and chalkboards; Wall and shelf friezes; Artworks and photo mats; Storage boxes; Cards and ribbon; Book pages and travel logs; Office décor; and even, Christmas ornaments. It is a great book for ideas for using silhouette designs.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.17And finally, the newest addition to my craft library concerning this subject:

Cut Up This Book: Special Occasions: Step-by-Step Instruction for Festive Occasions, Invitations and More by Emily Hogarth 2013

Written by one of my favourite contemporary artists featured in my first book on this topic, this book is also the most comprehensive, covering basic techniques, projects and 60 templates on patterned paper to be cut up, as the title implies, or photocopied for repeated use!

The first section, Getting Started, introduces basic concepts, with photographs demonstrating technique and diagrams, which illustrate important points, key skills and common pitfalls. They include:

Essential tools and useful extras;

Choosing paper;

Cutting with a craft knife or scissors: Cutting techniques, changing blades and safety tips;

Cutting multiples: Accordion folding; and stacking techniques;

Transferring templates;

Single and multi-fold designs;

Scoring and indenting;

Layering and intercutting;

Thinking backward– especially important when cutting letters and numbers or doing directional designs;

Colour;  and

Themed motifs.

There are step-by-step instructions with photographs and templates for 25 projects, with boxes indicating tool kit, materials and templates; symbols for skill level ; graphics identifying the trickiest areas to cut or take special care; and tips, variations and finishing touches.

Projects include: Invitations, cards and gift tags; gift and favour bags; Hanging, window and table decorations, party garlands and pin wheels; Lanterns; Paper wreaths and corsages; Napkin holders, place mats, coasters and place cards; Food flags and cake toppers and wrappers; and Dress-up props, birthday buttons and hair bands. There are some lovely designs and I particularly look forward to making some of the cards and the window, pompom and rosette decorations.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.31

Collage and Découpage

A talented exponent of collage was Mary Delaney, who I have already mentioned in two  previous posts: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2017/04/18/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-one-inspiring-books-and-garden-travel-books/.

I love her work and would love to own one of her books one day, but in the meantime, her images can be appreciated on:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany;

And   http://littlegreennotebook.com/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html/. As I describe in my posts, I have used her work to inspire my own paper collage floral cards.BlogPaperPost2013-06-26 18.18.25During my embroidery studies, we had to make paper collages as preliminary studies for embroidery designs like the work featured in the photos below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.15BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.27 Here is another photograph of my paper collages.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.46.43

However, I do own two books on Découpage, a specialised form of papercutting, used to decorate the surfaces of objects with printed scraps of paper, like the hat box in the photographs below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.38BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.17.17 Découpage originated in France, the name being the French word meaning ‘to cut out’, and was very popular in the Victorian Era with prints of seaside holidays, angels, children and flowers covering screens, photo frames and jewellery boxes.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.52 Used today, it gives objects an old-fashioned feel and I have two books, both based on fairies, another popular theme in the 18th century.

Nerida Singleton’s Découpage Fairies Project Book, Featuring Peg Maltby’s Fairy Images 1995

Using a specified découpage kit and the delightful colourful images created by Peg Maltby and reproduced in this book on glossy paper, Nerida gives detailed instructions for a variety of projects, including boxes, letter holders, pencil holders and albums, to illustrate the basic principles of proper surface preparation; background colour; sealing; cutting and placing; glueing the fairy images; trimming, tidying and repairing; gilding the edges; varnishing (using water-based and oil-based varnishes) and sanding; painting faux linings; and finishing with beeswax or micro mesh.

Peg Maltby (1899-1984), born Agnes Newberry Orchard in Ashby-de-la-Zouche, UK, in 1899, studied at engineering college in England, before marrying George Bradley Maltby in 1917 and having four children. They migrated to Victoria, Australia, in 1924. While living in Coburg during the Great Depression, Maltby supplemented the family income by painting commercial items such as chocolate box lids and birthday cards. She became a member of the Victorian Artists’ Society and had some successful exhibitions of her fairy paintings. She also illustrated a number of children’s books, including: Nutchen of the Forest; Meet Mr Cobbledick; Nursery Rhymes; Pip and Pepita; Ben and Bella; and

 Peg’s Fairy Book by Peg Maltby 1944, which can be viewed at :  http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2600932/view?partId=nla.obj-2656867#page/n0/mode/1up.

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The Flower Fairies Découpage Book  Based on the Original Flower Fairies Books by Cicely Mary Barker 1997

A similar book with a similar subject matter, whose  illustrations and style I personally prefer, having been reared on her books in my early childhood. While some of the projects are the same, there are also a number of different projects in this book.

Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was also born in England at a similar time to Peg Maltby and published her first flower fairy book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, in 1923. She painted in watercolours from life, using plant specimens from Kew Gardens and modelling the fairies on the children at her sister’s nursery school. Primary influences included Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites.

In this book, there is a wide selection of her images, reproduced on glossy paper, for cutting out and step-by-step instructions for 10 projects, including: Letter racks and pencil holders and pencils; Photograph album and photo frame; Dressing table set (hand mirror, comb, hair clip and powder compact); Decorative fan; Lampshade; Name plates for bedroom doors; Jewellery box; Biscuit tin and tray; and a wall clock.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.45

There are also a number of books of papers, specifically designed for use in découpage:  BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.08.41Next week, I will be describing origami and paper folding; paper toys, models and decorations; and papier-mâché and papermaking.