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.

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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

Drawing and Art Library: Part Three: Watercolour Books and Artist’s Journals

Two weeks ago, I started with a discussion of general sketching and painting books in my art library, while last week, I featured some of my favourite art books for children. Because I am enamoured with Watercolour Painting, I own a number of books about the subject and this post will be covering them, as well as a few books about creating Artist’s Journals, another favourite subject area!

Watercolour Books

An Introduction to Watercolour by Ray Smith 1993

A good beginner’s guide, this Art School publication was produced in association with the Royal Academy of Arts and published by Dorking Kindersley, the series thus often being referred to as the DK Art School Series. It provides an ‘all-visual art course’, based on painting projects and exercises and using fully annotated, photographically sequenced instructions for a range of different techniques.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.10

It starts with a Brief History of Watercolour and includes Gallery Pages of works throughout the book by watercolour masters and contemporary artists, which serve to inspire the reader with examples and possibilities. They include: a Gallery of Colour; Brushstrokes; Paper; Washes; and Techniques.

Projects include:  Choosing Paints, Brushes and Papers; Mixing Colours; Colour Harmony; Light and Colour; Using Gouache; Sketching and Composition, Stretching and Toning; Laying a Wash; Tone and Colour; Brushmarks and Marks by Other Tools; Building Up Layers; Sponging Out; and Scratching Out and Resist Techniques. There is a Glossary of watercolour terms in the back, as well as Qualifying Notes on colours, pigments and toxicity, and brushes and papers.

I really enjoyed this introductory book on the subject and learnt so much about watercolours, including how the paints are made; the different types of brushes and their correct care;  the different types of paper and their qualities (absorbency/ surface and weight/acidity and manufacture); as well as the different types of washes.

There are two other watercolour titles in the Art School Series, neither of which I own: Watercolour Colour; and Watercolour Landscape; as well as books about other forms of painting, including  the titles:  DK Art School : An Introduction to Art Techniques; An Introduction to Oil Painting; An Introduction to Acrylics; An Introduction to Drawing; An Introduction to Mixed Media; An Introduction to Pastels; An Introduction to Perspective; Drawing Figures;  and Oil Painting Portraits, all written by Ray Smith. See: https://www.librarything.com/author/smithray-1.

The Complete Watercolour Artist: Materials, Techniques, Colour Theory, Composition, Style and Subject  Edited by Sally Harper 1997

An excellent comprehensive guide, similar in its size and coverage to The Complete Book of Drawing and How To Paint and Draw: A Complete Course on Practical and Creative Techniques, both featured in my first post on drawing and art books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/02/20/drawing-and-art-library-part-one-sketching-and-painting-books/.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.27

Like the previous book, it starts with a History of Watercolour Painting, then progresses to a discussion of Materials: Paints and Colours; Tubes and Paintboxes; Gouache; Brushes; Papers (including step by step instructions for stretching paper); Drawing Boards and Easels; Palettes and Recessed Wells; Other Sundries (eg sponges; blotting paper; cotton wool, tooth brushes, scalpel, and masking tape and fluid) and Indoor Lighting.

The section on Techniques is very detailed and comprehensive, each technique description being supplemented with artworks and useful artists’ tips. They are grouped in their order of application when creating a painting, moving from washes and foundation techniques through brush techniques and colour effects and finally,  to making changes and corrections. Here is a brief summary of each group:

Laying Washes and Foundations: Flat Washes; Wash on Dry/ Damp Paper; Gradated and Variegated Washes; Textures; Granulation; Backruns; Wet-In-Wet; Hard and Soft Edges; Building Up Watercolour Overpainting and Underpainting; Glazing; Using Gouache; Drawing; and Squaring Up.

Brush Techniques, Colour Effects and Alternative Techniques, and Media: Brush Drawing; Brush Marks; Dry Brush; Scumbling (another wonderful word, referring to the technique of scrubbing very dry paint unevenly over another layer of dry colour, so that the first one shows through, thereby creating texture, broken colour effects and a glowing richness to colours, especially in opaque media); Stippling; Spattering; Body Colour and Toned Ground; Blending; Broken Colour; Highlighting; Masking; Lifting Out (removing paint from paper); Surface and Imitative Textures; Sponge Painting and Blotting; Line and Wash; Scraping Back; Wash-Off; Wax Resist; Using Gum Arabic; and Mixed Media.

Making Changes: Corrections and Colour Changes.

The section on Colour and Composition examines a number of principles, common to all forms of painting, which should be learned and understood before breaking them in the pursuit of creativity. They include:

Composition: Size and Shape; Dynamics of the Rectangle; Dividing the Rectangle; Thumbnail Sketches; Similarity and Contrast; Making and Using a Viewfinder; Edges of Paintings; Viewpoints; Composing a Figure Painting/ Townscape or Landscape/ and Still-Life; Balance and Counterbalance; Centre of Interest; Directing the Eye; Tonal Values; Illusion of Depth; Making Value Sketches; Value Scales; Keying Your Values; High-Key/ Middle-Key and Low-Key Paintings; Aerial Perspective; Creating Mood in Landscapes/ Interiors/ Portraits; and Using Limited Tones and Shadows Creatively.

Colours: Choosing Colours (Blues/ Yellows and Browns/ Reds/ Greens/ Black and Greys/ Whites); Paint Qualities (Transparency; Permanence; Mixing Qualities); Colour Relationships; Flower Colours; Mixing Colours; Mixing without Muddying; and White Space.

Again, the text is supported by examples of artist’s works and projects and exercises.

The chapter on Style examines the work of other watercolourists throughout history. In the past, many artists developed their skills by copying the styles of the masters, right up until the Impressionist era, however today, modern artists  tend to make visual references in their work to other paintings, including the use of similar compositional elements or reinterpreting a particular theme. A study of the works of past masters and painting styles aids an understanding of and development of your own stylistic preferences. Art Movements, including practising artists, photographs of art works, key features and projects, include:

Impressionism: Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Morisot, Cassatt and Bonnard: Working directly outdoors; Relationship of Light and Colour; and Responding to Movement, using light and colour, rather than painting subjects. Projects: Capturing Immediate Impressions and Series Paintings.

Expressionism: Ensor, Munch, Nolde, Kirchner, Bacon, Schiele, Marc and Van Gogh : Composition, Distortion and Stylization; Colours as Expressions; Key Tones; Expressive Mark Making; Projects: Expressing Character and a Sense of Place.

Abstractioning from Nature and Pure Abstraction: De Stael, De Kooning, Sutherland, Davis, Avery, Sparks, Wols, O’Keefe ,Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, Tothko, Pollock, Louis and Stella: Sources of Absract Imagery; Compositional Elements; Abstractional Styles; Projects: Collage from a Landscape/ Still-Life; a Painted Abstraction and Colour Drawing of the Same Collage; and Geometric and Gestural Abstraction.

The final chapter covers Subject Matter, using a similar format (artists/ photographs of artwork/ key features, artists’ hints and projects) and different techniques and approaches to portray:

Still-Life: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Chardin, Rembrandt, the Dutch Still-Life Painters of the 17th Century: ‘Found Groups’; Themes (Culinary/ Literary/ Pictorial Biography); Backgrounds; Setting up a Still-Life; Plants and Flowers: Composition; Indoor Arrangements; Single Specimens; and Natural Habitat. Projects: Approaches to Still-Life: Objects with personal appeal/ everyday objects/ and objects in the landscape; and Flower Arrangements (Cyclamen/ Persimmon and Plums/ and Narcissi in Sunlight).

Landscape:  English Watercolour tradition: Gainsborough, Girtin, Constable and Turner and the Norwich School: Cotman and Crome: Practical Hints for Painting Outdoors; Trees and Foliage; Fields and Hills; Rocks and Mountains; Clouds and Skies; Light and Shade; Painting Shadows; Weather: Mist and Fog/ Snow Scenes; Water: Light on Water/Moving and Still Water/Reflections; Buildings: Linear and Simple/ Complex Perspective; Inside Looking Out; and  Framing a View. Projects: Distant Hills/  Old Harry and His Wife/ Hot Sun / Moon River/ Trees and Water; and Lifting Out.

Animals: Wade, Jesty, Boys, Dawson and Willis: Sketching from Life; Birds; Domestic and Farm Animals; Wild Animals; Movement; and Textures. Projects: Horse’s Head/Squirrel/ Mackerel.

Portrait and Figure Work: Kunz, Lew, Cassels: Proportions of the Figure and Head; Head from an Angle; Flesh Tones; Shadows and Highlights; Hair and Fabrics (folds, pattern, texture, shadows,  drapery and reflected light); Capturing a Likeness; and Moving Figures; Projects: Young Skin/Hair/ Ribbed Sweater.

It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive book on the subject and I would highly recommend this book!

Now for a few specific books on using watercolours to paint one of my favourite subjects:  My Garden and its Flowers !!!

The Watercolourist’s Garden by Jill Bays 1993/ 1997

As you all know, I love my garden and this lovely book gives me the tools and techniques to portray its beautiful contents!BlogArtBooks2518-01-05 18.02.00

It begins with Basic Art Theory, common to the other art books, with notes on Materials, Colour (including a basic palette) and Complementary Colours; Drawing, Composition, Perspective and Handling Paint (watercolour techniques in a nutshell); Using Photographs and Reference and Sketch-Books; Working Outside on Location and Lighting; and Style and Inspiration.

The following chapters are divided by season and include suggestions for painting seasonal flowers and plants, as well as enlarging on specific techniques and providing step-by-step demonstrations to follow. Here are the subject headings:

Spring: Tonal Values; Wet into Wet; Painting Leaves & Vegetables; Tulips, Bearded Iris & Anemones.

Summer: Experimentation; Still-Life; Flowers in the Landscape; Wild Gardens; Summer Vegetables and Fruits; Wild Flowers, Poppies, Roses and Other Summer Flowers.

Autumn: Garden Painting; Interiors; Mood; Using Containers; Seeds and Berries, Fungi, Autumn Fruit & Vegetables; Autumn Leaves and Berries; Dahlias.

Winter: Still-Life and Landscapes; Dried Flowers; Winter Bulbs; Winter Vegetables, Early Primroses; Cyclamen and Reflections.At the end of the book are notes on Problems with Watercolour ; Exhibiting Your Work; and a Glossary of Terms.

This book was published in Britain, so the seasons are very defined, while we here in Australia have a much milder climate, though we still have seasons in the south, so we have lots of opportunities to use this book!

Learn to Paint Flowers in Watercolour by Marjorie Blamey 1984

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Even though this book covers similar subject matter, with an element of seasonality as well, I have still included it as different approaches suit different people with different learning styles and it is always useful to have advice from a variety of sources. While I personally prefer Jill’s looser style and the more informal romantic feel of her book, Marjorie’s guide probably has a more simple, straightforward presentation. She describes her background and watercolour journey, as well as her reasons for painting flowers, before getting down to the nitty-gritty with chapters on :

Materials and Equipment: Watercolour Tubes and Paintbox; Gouache; Pencils; Brushes; Papers; Mixed Media.

Drawing Techniques: Leaves; Flower Anatomy; Flowers in Perspective; Sketching Outdoors.

Colour: Greens; Flower Colour; Problem Pinks; Poppies and Cornfield Flowers; Surfaces, Shadows and Highlights; Shapes, Spots and Stripes; White Flowers; Tinted Papers; and Summer Flowers.

Painting Through the Seasons: Flowers of Spring, Summer, Autumn Tints and Winter Shades.

Further chapters include: The Broader View: Flowers in the Landscape; Keeping It Simple; and Photography and the Flower Painter.

The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette Volume Two : Practical Visual Advice on How to Create Flower Portraits Using Watercolours by Adelene Fletcher 2000

A lovely little pocket guide and another favourite! While I do not own the first volume, The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette, this companion book still provides an instant and comprehensive guide to painting over 70 different types of flowers, fruit and foliage.BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 11.39.02It starts with a guide to using the book; a useful colour chart and paint permanence ratings (see photo from Pages 4-5 above), progressing to various techniques including: Washes; Amending Colours; Creating Soft Edges; Avoiding Colour Runs; Two-Tone Brushwork; Negative Shapes; Sgraffito; and Impressing.

Flowers are categorised into their different shapes : Bells and Trumpets; Lipped and Bearded; Cup and Bowl; Rays and Pompoms; Simple Stars; Multi-Headed; and Spikes, and then grouped by colour: Yellow; Orange and Red; Pink; Purple and Blue; and White, Cream and Green, each section containing step-by-step demonstrations and concluded by an example artwork. A variety of berries and leaves are covered in the final pages.

Other titles in this series include: The Watercolour Painter’s Pocket Palette; The Watercolour Landscape Painter’s Pocket Palette and The Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Pocket Palette, all written by Adelene Fletcher.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.44And finally, to another favourite category of Art Books:

Artist’s Journals

I love looking at other people’s art and illustrated travel journals. They are always so interesting, highly personal, creative and inspiring and make you want to follow their example. The following three books show you how to achieve your aim and again, all three, while covering similar subject material, all have different approaches and presentations, so one of them should appeal!

Create Your Own Artist’s Journal by Erin O’Toole 2002

BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.53I love this hardback book with its thick matt paper pages, its chatty personal text and its logical simple approach. I also like the fact that visual journals can be produced anywhere and can include sketches and paintings of familiar home surroundings and objects, not necessarily images of exotic travels, though I do love those as well!!!  I love her use of quaint illustrations, rather than photographs, to depict her suggestions.

There is a brief history of Erin’s journey, as well as a useful metric conversion chart in the front, followed by chapters on:

Starting a Journal: First Marks; Creating a Routine; Observation Skills; Page Design and Construction.

Materials: Store-Bought and Home-Made Books; Painting and Drawing Media and Equipment; and General Kit: Shoulder Bag; Art Tackle Box; Field Guides and Maps; Camera and Binoculars; Viewfinder; Fixative; Water Bottle; and a Folding Chair. There are also instructions for Making a Book with One Sheet of Paper.

In the Garden: Flowers; Insects and Cocoons, and Birds and Creatures; as well as notes on Dark and Light; Light Angle; Colour; and Garden Plans.

About the Neighbourhood: Architecture; Public Parks; Market and the Zoo; People; Pets and Family and notes on Drawing While Waiting and Sketching in Public.

On the Road: Braving the Elements; Taking the Slow Road; Maps; Historic Places; Farm Animals; Weather; Landscapes in Watercolour; On the Water; and Drawing from Photos.

Drawing Wildlife: Subject Matter and Venues (Wildlife Sanctuaries and Natural History Museums); Line Drawing; Using Binoculars; Unexpected Animals; Wild Flowers; Natural Habitats; and Observation Skills.

Refining and Sharing Your Journals: Hand Writing ; Making Changes and Corrections; Research; Taking Notes; Story-telling; Sharing with Family (Colour Photocopies; Scanning on Computer; Use on Postcards, Cards and Letters; Websites and Blogs); and Submitting Drawings to community organizations, and natural history  groups and historical societies.

In the back is a useful list of Suggested Reading for Art Journals, as well as Books on drawing, watercolour, writing, and bookbinding. I love Erin’s informal, romantic and blowsy style.

Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures by Cathy Johnson 2011

Another book with a more modern feel and a bold, common sense approach, which encourages experimentation.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.01  It has five chapters:

Getting Started:

Exploring What You Want (Reasons and Desires; Subject Matter; and When and How);

Drawing a Journal Map and Overcoming First-Page Jitters (something of which  I am commonly guilty!); Journal Name; Sharing; Errors; and Jump Right In;

Physical Journals and Other Materials and Supplies, including Different Media.

Test Drive:

Experiment with Different Media and Test Drive Graphite Pencil/ Coloured Pencil/ Pen/ Watercolour/ Gouache/Watercolour Pencils/ Collage;

Page Design and Composition: Positioning Text; Text for Balance; Eye Path; Borders and Grids; and Double Page Spreads.

Exploring Journals:

Different Types of Journal (with hints for producing each type): The Daily Journal; Travel Journal (Physical and Virtual); Memory Journal; Reportage Journal and Nature Journal.

Journals can also be used to document Dreams and Imagination; Dealing with Challenges; Spiritual Journey; Life’s Journey (Integrated Journal), as well as to plan and practice techniques.

Journaling Lifestyle:

Attitudes and Habits: Allowing Time; Developing a Habit; Important Moments and Honoring Milestones; Work Anywhere and Work Fast; Gesture Sketches and Grids; Composite Pages; Weather; Classes and Sketch Crawls; and Using a Journal as a Learning Tool.

Pulling It All Together: Favourite Media/ Style/ Subjects and Journals; Patch as a Design/ Decorative Element; Things That Don’t Work; Rules Don’t Apply; Continue to Explore; Go Online; Follow Your Inclinations; Travel Light; and Daily Practice.

The book finishes with a Section on Resources, complete with websites for further exploration: Contributors; Illustrated Journals and Diaries;  Books on Journaling and Sketching and Drawing; and Instructional CDs and DVDs and Classes.

The Decorated Journal: Creating Beautifully Expressive Journal Pages by Gwen Diehn 2005

A final beautiful hardback guide to creating artist’s journals, the subtitle says it all! It covers many areas and subjects, not covered by the previous books, and has a totally different approach and style.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.11The book being divided into four sections:

Materials and How To Use Them: Determined and Neutral Materials; Paper and Blank Books; Binding Styles; Pigments and Paints: Watercolour, Gouache and Acrylic; Brushes; Pen and Ink; Adhesives; Pencils and Crayons; Grounds; and Other Useful Tools: Stencils; Matt Knives and Straight Edges.

How Does Your Journal See the World: Different World Views and their Translation into Journals:

Layered World : Resulting in a Layered Journal, naturally!;

Creative World : Used as a resource of ideas and information for future creative projects;

Wabi-Sabi World: Key tenets are simplicity, humility and modesty; Nature; unconventional beauty; impermanence; and imperfections, hence these journals are simple and rough; made of natural materials, employ warm, earthy, dark colours with low intensity, and use minimal medium;

Naturalist’s World: Functional precise nature observations with maps, diagrams and sketches;

Spiritual World: Journal dimensions form golden rectangles and page elements display golden proportion and rectangles, as well as other proportions and geometric forms from sacred geometry. Journals are covered in sensuous materials and decorated with rich colours and textures, the text is laden with imagery and journals can even include a few drops of essential oils, inviting contemplation, reflection and meditation;

Symbolic World: Dreams and Symbols, Patterns and Motifs; Abstract Colours and Forms; and Collage Elements;

Inner World: Surrealism and Subconscious Imagery; Automatic Writing and Morning Pages; Doodles and Random Marks; Lists of Words; Collections of Ephemera; Patches of Texture; Fragmented Images; Thoughts and Feelings; and Memory Prompts.

Pages in Stages: Ways of Working:

Ways to Get Started: Paper; Poured Colours; Printed Forms; Maps and Diagrams; Copier Transfer; Collage; Stitching; Challenges; Altered Books and Pages; and Patterns Lost and Found.

Middles: Writing; Subtracting Text; Extending Collage; Drawing; Mapping; Painting; Relief Prints , Rubbings and Stamping.

Toppings: Writing; Watercolour Washes; Eliminating Work; Separating Layers; Journaling with Children; Collage as a Link; Collaborations and Group Journaling; and Pauses.

The Reluctant Bookbinder :

How to Make Books: Basics; Three-Minute and Six-Minute Pamplets; 30 minute Multiple Pamphlet Journal; Making a Travel Journal; Two-Hour Journal; Sewing Frames; and

Customizing a Blank Book: Removing Pages; Adding and Changing Elements ( eg Envelopes/Smaller  Piggyback Journals/ Sheets of Watercolour Paper/ Grid Paper/ Coloured Paper/ Tracing Paper/ Specialty Papers); Laminating Pages; Modifying Covers (eg. Encrustation; Collage and Lettering); Altering a Book; and Using an Old Book Cover.

Overall, I would have to say that I’ve saved the best till last, though really all the books are beautiful and have their own individual strengths and advantages. However, I did find that this last book was such an interesting read and I learned so much about a wide variety of subjects: Making ochre pigments; egg tempera, casein paints, and inks from oak galls and charcoal; Historical Inventor’s Journals; The Japanese Aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi; Making a Golden Journal; the Practices of Surrealism; Book Binding Methods and History; and Making the Physical Journal.

Next week, I will be discussing some of my favourite printing books. In the meantime, Happy Journalling and Art Making!

Craft Books: Colour, Design and Inspiration: Part Two

Today, we are continuing with my post on Books about Colour, Design and Inspiration, with a review of some favourite children’s art and fantasy books; excellent books on using library resources and fun exercises to motivate and inspire; and stories about other craftspeople and their studios, finishing with some valuable practical books on running a craft business and art teaching.

Children’s Books

The Usborne Book of Art Ideas by Fiona Watt 1999/2009;

I love these little books. Aimed at young children, they are packed with lots of wonderful ideas, which can be used to inspire adults as well!BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (788) - Copy - Copy The Usborne Book of Art Ideas describes a wide variety of art materials (paper, paint, ink, pastels, wax crayons, pens, brushes and palettes) and techniques with pages on: mixing colours, density of paint application, colour theory, perspective, printing patterns, masking out, patterns and dots, glue pictures, elastic band prints, hand and cardboard prints, blow paintings, brush and ink work, watercolour painting, chalk and pastel techniques, wax resist rubbings and making cards and frames.

The Usborne Book of Art Projects by Fiona Watt 2003/2008;

This small sequel covers a variety of art projects from tissue paper windows; texturing paper; paper mosaic tins; paper weaving ; frames; and collaged cards and book covers to dangling bead shapes, foil fish; 3-D cityscapes; scratching paint; doodling; embossed circles and printing techniques.

Creative Art Crafts by Pedro de Lemos

: Book 2: Cardboard, Wood, Cloth and Metal  1945    and

Book 3: Weaving, Raffia Basketry, Textile Arts, Plastics, Jewelry Designs, Pottery Crafts, Cement Art Crafts, Sculpture, Puppetry, Masks, Stagecraft, Marionettes, Costuming, Pageantry, and Sandtable Projects 1948;

I rescued these two delightful old-fashioned volumes from the bin and wished I’d found the first volume as well (Book 1: Paper Craft, Toy Craft, Relief Craft)!

I loved the quote by John Erskine in the forewood on Page 2 of  Volume 2:

‘The joy of creation is always greater than the undoubted pleasure of looking on. The sad fact is that the vast majority of mankind are onlookers, only the rare few are doers, but those who have the most fun will be those who do rather than merely look on’.

After a brief introduction to Cardboard and Wood Craft, Pedro suggest many projects using these mediums, including: Paper Sculpture; Corrugated Paper Craft; Cardboard Houses, Boxes, Nativity Scenes and Letter Portfolios (which really defines the age of this book!); Papier Mâché; Stained Glass Designs; Action Animals, Toys and Figurines; Nesting Boxes; Whittling; Wooden Boxes; Chip Carving; Gesso Craft; Marquetry; and Wood Batik.

The section on Cloth and Textiles has a similar approach- an introduction to various techniques, followed by more detailed instruction and projects, including: Wax Crayon Decoration; Cloth Stencilling; Silk Screen; Designing Monograms; Printing Cloth with Textile Blocks; Potato Prints; Batik; Shibori; Solar Printing; and Hand Embroidery.

Metal crafts include: Repoussé; Stamping and Working Metal; Tin Can Craft; Sheet Metal Sculpture; Copper Craft; Metal Etching; Plant Holders; Wirework; and Iron Craft.

There are more wonderful sentiments about the integration of arts and crafts in the forewood to the third volume (Page 2- see photo below). This book covers even more crafts: Weaving using Cardboard, Box and Hand Looms; Raffia Work and Rug Hooking; Basketry and Rush Work; Jewellery Making; Pottery; Glass and Plastic Sculpture; Colour Cement Tile Work; Puppetry; Shadow Play; and Mask Making; Costumery and Set Design.

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While written for art educators and therapists, these volumes with their clear presentation, using simple black-and-white photographs (with the odd colour plate) rather than complex text, mean that they can be used by anyone, regardless of age, language and technical ability and serve to provide plenty of inspiration rather than in-depth instruction!

An Alphabet of Animals by Isabelle Brent 1993;

A beautiful book with 26 stunning animal portraits from A to Z.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (793)

Isabelle’s paintings are full of brilliant colour; patterned and colourful borders and backgrounds; and gold leaf, reminiscent of medieval illuminated manuscripts. The text highlights the special unique properties of each animal. It is a truly beautiful publication, whose subject matter and presentation cannot but inspire future artistic endeavours.

I love the imagination and illustrations of the following books! They are all fantastic spurs to creativity and artistic inspiration!

Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black 2005;BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (798)

In this comprehensive field guide, ‘Arthur Spiderwick’ describes the creatures of the invisible world (complete with scientific nomenclature), only accessible to those gifted with ‘the Sight’, and categorises them according to their home environment:

Around the House and Yard: the helpful Brownies and troublesome Boggarts, mysterious Changelings and light-fingered Pixies; and the fiery Salamanders and Stray Sods;

In Fields and Forests: the fatal Cockatrices; capricious elves, diligent leprechauns; man-eating Manticores; nebulous Sprites; magical Treefolk and curative Unicorns;

In Lakes, Streams and the Sea: Wailing Kelpies, curious Merfolk, musical Nixies, massive Sea Serpents and constantly hungry Trolls of the waterways;

In the Hills and Mountains: From diminutive Dwarves to Giants and Ogres, Goblins and Hobgoblins and even Deep Cavern Knockers;

In the Sky: The fearsome dragons, regal griffins, glorious regenerative phoenix; and

Outside at Night: The nocturnal Banshees, frozen Gargoyles, roguish Phookas and luminous Will-o’-the-Wisps.

I love the notated illustrations of the mythical creatures and watercolour paintings of their environment  throughout this book, as well as the ‘scientific’ approach to their study, reminiscent of natural history books of the early 1900s.

The Goblins of Labyrinth by Brian Froud and Terry Jones 1986/ 2006;BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (799)

This is a similarly fanciful and imaginative tome, based on the ‘archaeological discovery’ by Brian Froud, in an unspecified remote corner of Olduvai Gorge, Northern Tanzania, of a 60 Million year old earthenware pot with runic inscriptions on the underside edge of the rim, which in turn led him to a further discovery of 43 notebooks about ancient goblins. Their huge diversity; descriptions and images; and peculiarities and habits are documented in this amazingly creative book! I love the imagination and great sense of fun in this book!

Dr Ernest Drake’s Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons edited by Dugald A Steer 2003;

I also plan to make a dragon one day! Similar in style to the last two books, this book is based on the scientific study of ‘dragonologist’, Dr Ernest Drake.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (800)

His authenticity and credibility is backed up with supporting evidence in the front of the book like his library card and a letter in an envelope addressed to the reader, as well as spells to catch a dragon. This comprehensive description of everything to do with dragons (Locations; Species; Natural History; Life Cycle; Behaviour; Finding, Tracking and Working with Dragons; Scientific study; Dragon script; Useful spells and charms; and history) includes: World maps; Samples of skin, wing membrane and dragon dust; Pop-out diagrams; Personal record books; Secret envelopes; and Riddles and puzzles. Another highly imaginative and creative book!

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson 2013

Based on medieval bestiaries, this paperback focuses on amazing unique creatures, which actually exist and still survive in our modern world, two thirds of which are marine.

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Alphabetically ordered, they range from critically endangered Axolotls (a type of salamander) to Zebra Fish, the populous darlings of scientific study due to the speed of the development of their embryos. This book highlights the wonder and miracle of our natural world, despite the devastating impacts of humans! It was also highly informative! While I learned so much more about the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish and the Nautilus, I knew nothing about Sea Butterflies or Goblin Sharks or even Xenoglaux, the Long-Whiskered Owlet!

Cerebral Inspiration

The Watkins Dictionary of Symbols by Jack Tresidder 1997;

Traditional symbols have served as a visual shorthand for artists and craftspeople to express their beliefs and ideas about human life for thousands of years, predating writing and representing universal fundamental concepts in many primitive societies and cultures.

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This book contains 1000 symbols from myth, literature and art, from a range of cultures throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas and are arranged in alphabetical order. It is a valuable starting point for artistic inspiration, as well as a fascinating element of mankind’s history!

The Crafter’s Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call 2009;

This book is jam-packed with inspirational ideas to break the crafter’s block!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (816)

This scanned page (page 9) shows the way it is organized:BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (817)There are just so many ideas, that really you have to read the book yourself. Some of the ideas, which resonated with me, included: Wordless Journalling (Day 15); Miniature Collaging (Day 17); Women’s 7 Senses (Day 50); Going Back in Time (Day 67); the Scamper concept (Day 167-168; Page 144 – see photo below); and Gratitude Journal (Day 359).

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I would love to try making air-drying clay rubber stamps (Day 6 and 7); House journals (Day 29); Altered Books (p 51); Sisterly Creations (Day 62-63); Finding Your Animal Totem (p82) and Write For  100 Years from Now (p113); Happy Birthday (Day 221; Page 187; Sun Printing (Day 234; Waxed Paper Batik;  Tiny Tin Treasure Troves (Day 310) and Paper-Aging Techniques (Day 346). There are also a number of artist interviews throughout the book.

Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects;

I love this book, which I bought (ironically!) when I was working for the Digital Repository of the Deakin University Library. It was right during the time period, when the library was converting from a storehouse of books with lots of bookshelves, which were discarded, to a digitally dominated learning space with comfortable lounges and discussion areas!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (820)Books have always been a constant source of inspiration for me, but the advent of the internet means increased accessibility to a wide range of libraries and library collections:

State and neighbourhood branch libraries for borrowing out hard copies, as well as magazines and videos;

University libraries for students, though often borrowing access by the public can be organized for an annual fee;

Research libraries: For example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has 12 different libraries and study centres in New York City alone; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, is the largest library in the world, while The British Library contains many early printed books and a Historic Bindings Database. All are becoming increasingly digitized, which is a wonderful boon to artists further afield.

Special collections: Historic maps; ornamental penmanship; and early printed books and illuminated manuscripts; and now

Digital libraries: For example, the World Digital Library www.wdl.org/en; Flickr Commons www.flickr.com/commons and Europeana www.europeana.eu.

There is a chapter on using library catalogues, Library of Congress headings and keyword searching; copyright laws and legalities; and finally, a list of some recommended library collections for specific needs: General Visual Resources; Home Economics; Craft History and Culture; Printed Ephemera; Book Arts and Bookbinding; Costume and Fashion; Arts and Design; Children’s Books; Medieval Manuscripts; Science and Technology; Maps and Cartography; Quilts; Knitting; Lettering, Penmanship and Typography; and Performing Arts and Film. I cannot recommend this book highly enough as a source of inspiration!

Also included in the book are projects inspired by the library with instructions, including: a Marbled Fabric Pouch; Decorated Papers and Watermark Pillows; Ornamental Penmanship and Cartouche Embroidery; Calligraphy and Penmanship; a Secret Message Snowflakes and Patterned Stationery Set and an Arts and Crafts Ex Libris Set; a Quilled Willow Pendant and a Paper Town Garland; a Kittens Pockets Dress with Kittens and a Cyanotype Bed Throw; Antiquarian Animal Votive Holders and Japanese Heraldry Coasters; and a Wool Rose Fascinator and Felt Dogwood Blossoms for Millinery. The appendices include a stitch guide and sources for supplies.

And finally, books on other craft people and sage advice about craft businesses!

The Crafter’s Companion: Tips, Tales and Patterns from a Community of Creative Minds edited by Anna Torborg 2006;

A very inspiring book, featuring interviews with 17 different craftswomen, who discuss their endeavours under the headings: Why I Create; Inspiration; and Workspace; with a representative project of each artist’s original designs, with photographs, patterns and detailed instructions (at the back of the book).BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (827) Their crafts include: Patchwork and Quilting; Toy and Bag making; Embroidery ; Felting and Knitting; and Paper Crafts.

I particularly liked the work of toymakers: Anna Torborg, Fiona Dalton, Tania Ho and Myra Masuda and would love to try making the latter’s Elephant Pouch. Again, there is a list of sources in the back of the book.

Inside the Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space by Cate Coulacos Prato 2011;

I love reading about other artists’ and craftspeoples’ studios and gleaning useful ideas from them for my own sewing room!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (833) This book is organized into six chapters, with 6 studios in each, titled:

Chapter 1: A Room of One’s Own;

Chapter 2:  Organization and Storage;

Chapter 3: Flea Market Flair;

Chapter 4: Small Space, Big Style;

Chapter 5: The Power of Light and Colour; and

Chappter 6: Make It Your Own.

There are floor plans, photographs, tips and hints; colour symbolism; discussions on lighting or open studios; and checklists for needs and storage! There were some great ideas from rods to hold ribbon spools and underseat bookcases; wire baskets to organize fabric stashes: wooden card filing cabinets and muffin tins to hold stamps or beads respectively; and clear plastic drawers for easy access.

While not all necessarily applicable, the huge diversity of studios has appeal for a wide variety of situations. I could easily set up shop in Gina Lee Kim’s studio. Merely reading this book and viewing all the wonderful art spaces is stimulation and inspiration enough for renewed vigour!

Mollie Makes: Making It: The Hard facts You Need to Start Your Own Craft Business 2014;

The title says it all! While inspiration and artistic practice are fundamentals, so too are business skills, which enable your ability to continue to follow your passion and pursue your art/ craft! Chapters, complete with expert advice from key players and fellow artists, cover:

Chapter 1: First Steps: Customer profiling; Building Your Brand and Developing a Logo; Setting up a Website; and Online Marketing;

Chapter 2: Taking the Plunge: Company Structure; Working from Home or Away; Financing Your Business; and Writing a Business Plan;

Chapter 3: Creative Conundrums: Costs and Pricing; Sourcing Raw Materials; Staying Inspired; Making Connections (Networking and Mentoring); and Protecting Your Intellectual Property;

Chapter 4: Spreading the Word: Using Social Media; PR Material; Writing a Press Release; Feature Articles; Getting Professional PR Help and Photographing Your Product;

Chapter 5: Sell, Sell, Sell: Craft fairs; Online Market Places eg Etsy; Selling from your own website, selling to shops and Opening your own shop; Running Workshops; and The Customer is King

Chapter 6: The Nitty Gritty: Hiring a bookkeeper or accountant; tax; card and online payments; Managing Cash Flow; Insurance; Consumer Law in brief; and Employing Staff. There is a list of useful websites for each chapter in the back of the book.BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (825) I cannot stress how important and valuable this small book is, not just for artists and craftsmen, but for the establishment of any business. It is however particularly beneficial for creative people who, by the sheer nature of their creativity and right-brain thinking,  find the business aspects and self-promotion quite daunting and challenging! I’m talking from personal experience here!!! And finally,

How to Teach Art and Craft by Trisha Goodfield 2010.

Teaching art and craft and sharing your experiences and special skills with children and adult beginners is often much more lucrative than selling the hand-crafted product, whose huge number of production hours is often not reflected in the consumer price! People will pay however for tuition and given the price per person per hour is financially affordable for an individual and a class is often made up of a number of individuals, all paying that lesson price, then it is often possible to make good money from giving lessons and workshops.

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The author presents this book by posing a series of questions, along with sub-questions within the text :

What to Teach: Demonstrations and Classes; retreats and conventions; Classes based on Technique or Specific Projects;

Where to Teach: Teaching from Home; Community Groups; Craft stores; Libraries and Meeting Rooms; Adult Education; Craft Shows; Retreats and Conventions;Schools; Online; Magazines; and Outdoor Venues;  as well as Council and Government Regulations; Insurance, Tax and Permits; Pricing Classes (including the cost of materials, preclass preparation; travel; and Insurance and taxes); and Promotion and Marketing (including preparing a portfolio or resume; Flyers, Brochures and Business cards; Networking and Social Media; Interviews and Follow ups; and Boundaries concerning what you are prepared to do or not do!)

Who are you teaching: Teaching Children and Adult Learners; Adult Learning Styles and Teaching Strategies; Personalities and how to manage them like the latecomers (White Rabbit), the Professor, who knows it all (!), the Diva and the Chatterbox; and Dealing with different cultural and generational attitudes, values and beliefs; and finally,

How to Teach: Learning Objectives; Planning your Introduction; Learning Strategies; Nerves; Demonstration Skills; Handouts; Reinforcement/ Feedback; Listening skills; Questions and Answers; Lesson Closure and Evaluation; Lesson Plans and Formats and Further Teacher training.

While many of these ideas are common sense and instinctive, this book is a very worthwhile and valuable summary and reminder of all aspects of teaching art and craft.

I hope this small selection has whet your appetites. Next month, I will be looking at some of my favourite Drawing and Art Books! Next week, we return to my monthly Feature Plants with a post on Lovely Lavender!

Craft Books: Colour, Design and Inspiration: Part One

As you all know, I am a keen craftswoman with quite an eclectic range of interests from drawing, printing, paper craft and photography to a wide variety of textile crafts including knitting and crochet; felting and dyeing; embroidery; appliqué and patchwork; dressmaking; soft toy making and textile history and culture; so this year, I am concentrating on the wonderful books in my craft library, starting this month with those concerning: Colour, Design and Inspiration!

Unfortunately, because this is quite a large post, I have had to divide it into two parts. While many of my embroidery books contain chapters on colour theory, design and inspiration, the books featured in this post have been chosen for their detailed coverage of this topic.

Colour

Collins Artist’s Little Book of Colour by Simon Jennings 2007

This is a very practical guide for artists to the huge subject of colour, covering not only its history and origins, but also providing a Colour Index, a visual reference source of all the most popular artists’ colours for oils, watercolour, acrylics and gouache.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (739) The authors reviewed more than 1500 colours from 11 of the world’s leading paint manufacturers and selected 400 colours for the index, categorizing them by name, medium, pigment, hue and variety.

As can be seen in these colour charts from pages 82-82 (photos below), the same-named colour may vary in hue according to the medium and even within one medium, between different manufacturers. BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (740)BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (741)In the back is a guide to the main suppliers, as well as notes on pigment standards and colour terminology.

Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay 2002

A far more romantic approach and treatment of colour, this paperback is ‘packed with stories, anecdotes and adventures. A full rainbow…as vivid as the colours themselves’ according to the Express. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is precisely why I have quoted them!!!BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (744)

Victoria writes so well and shares her fascination and passion for the world of colour so easily with the reader. She scours the world for little-known facts about colour from the Neolithic ochre mines of the Luberon in France or Sienna in Tuscany, Italy to the aboriginal ochre traders from Arnhemland and the Tiwi Islands in the Top End; Alice Springs in Central Australia; the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and the Campbell Ranges in Western Australia.

For example, the colours, Black and Brown, are steeped in prehistory and stories in this particular chapter range from prehistoric cave art, charcoal willow and early mascara to the history of lead pencils, including Derwent Pencils and the Pencil Museum in Keswick, Conté’s crayons and Chinese pencils; the manufacture of Egyptian and Chinese inks (the latter, also known confusingly as Indian ink) from soot, mixed with gum or resin respectively, and medieval inks from wasps nests, producing galls in oak trees; and natural dyes (again, the fading oak galls and alum; and the darker, more permanent logwood) and the dubious use of mommia brown, made from dead Egyptians!

There are so many more fascinating stories, illustrated with line drawings and a few colour plates, about the other colours: White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet, that this book is essential reading for anyone interested in history, art and colour!

The same author has also turned her attention to the semi-precious  and precious gemstones and jewels, including Amber, Jet, Pearl, Opal, Peridot, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond (the last four being precious gemstones), with equally fascinating histories and anecdotes. Buried Treasure: Travels Through The Jewel Box by Victoria Finlay 2006 (photo above)  is another terrific read!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (744) - Copy

The Natural Paint Book: A Complete Guide to Natural Paints, Recipes and Finishes by Lynn Edwards and Julia Lawless 2002

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This book deals exclusively with natural paints and finishes with chapters on the story of paint; the environmental and health consequences of our choices concerning paint products; and a swag of natural paint recipes using quark (milk curd, the basis of casein paints), lime, borax, cellulose glue, linseed oil, plant dyes and tannins, beeswax, egg yolk and egg white, gum arabic, gesso, and even lager beer!

The book then details a large number of creative decorative techniques and effects, including roller fidgeting; shading; colour washing; layering; sponging; creating texture with a roller ; stippling; dragging and combing; rag rolling, frottage and bagging;  stencilling; wax resist; freehand painting; glazework; oil finishes; liming with wax; distressed casein; clay, Venetian  and coloured natural gypsum plasters; and frescoes.

There is a section on the art of Feng Sui; the principles of decoration (space, style and features, light and lighting, colour, materials and harmony and contrast), as well as design suggestions for interior decoration of each room of the home. This is a very useful book for artists wanting to make their own paints, as well as people wishing to use natural paints in their homes.

I have already covered Colour in Nature by Penelope Farrant 1999 in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/08/01/our-beautiful-earth-part-four-natural-history-books-reference-guides/.

Design

While many of my books on embroidery, knitting and appliqué have separate chapters on the principles and elements of design, I have always loved the following book:

The Textile Design Book: Understanding and Creating Patterns Using Texture, Shape and Colour by Karin Jerstorp and Eva Köhlmark 1988;

I have always loved this practical and inspiring book!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (751) While specifically written for textile designers, its exercises with sketching unconventional and natural materials; colour; texture; patterns (including stripes, squares, borders and stylised decorations) and design simplification are pertinent to any design medium from painting to collage; fabric and clothing design and dyeing; knitting and weaving; embroidery, patchwork and applique; pottery and jewellery, glass and paper craft; and even interior design and architecture.

Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting by Alice Starmore 1992/ 2011

While specifically written for knitters, I found all the charts in this book very applicable for cross-stitch (and weaving) as well.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (752)

There are traditional (Norway, Sweden and Finland; Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania; Russia; and South America) and adapted patterns from textiles and other arts like Japanese porcelain and Celtic Metalwork (Celtic; Greece; the Caucasus; Middle East and Far East) and Alice’s original, topical geometric and nature-inspired patterns covering:  Birds and Flowers; Sea and Shoreline; and The Inner Landscape.

Allover patterns; single motifs; and vertical panels and horizontal borders are included for each section and there are practical instructions for incorporating all these into unique designs. The book starts with a section on Designing Patterned Sweaters and finishes with a A Word on Colour. This is an excellent source book for all craftspeople interested in design.

Inspiration

Sources for inspiration are infinite and only limited by your imagination! Where you find your inspiration is really determined by your art practice, as well as your interests. For example, I really enjoy hand embroidery, so some of my sources listed below include books involving line and repetition of pattern, as embroidery is really drawing with thread. For example, books on Mehndi (Henna Art), Celtic Artwork, Pen Illustrations, Zentangles and Mandalas. I also find tattoo art and the abstract patterning of linoprinting inspirational. My interest in toymaking is inspired and informed by books about fantastical creatures, medieval bestiaries, symbolism and children’s novels. My interest in gardening, nature, birds, archaeology and history; and reading, many books of which I have already described in previous book posts, also inspires my work and let’s not forget that modern-day marvel, the internet, including Pinterest, which encompasses information and inspiring ideas from all over the world and over many different time periods. Here is a brief selection of some of the books in my library, which I have found useful, but first, a final word:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (763)As with the previous book, cross-fertilisation of ideas from a number of different art and craft practices is very beneficial. For example, I have two tiny Paper Salon Catalogues, (photo above and below) which illustrate the various patterns of rubber stamps, available for purchase and used to decorate stationery, greeting cards, envelopes and invitations.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (762) While excellent for advertising, I also have found them to be a wonderful source of ideas for embroidery patterns, and while the patterns are obviously trademarks of paper salon, the designs can be tweaked for originality and will often be thus anyway with the different type of medium and techniques. Here is a sample page, page 7 of the pink book:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (761) which I used for my French cushion design, a gift for my neighbour’s 60th French-themed birthday!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.19.29Nature

Another useful pattern book, complete with a downloadable CD, is: 5000 Flower and Plant Motifs by Graham Leslie McCallum 2011, which includes designs from different geographical areas, historical time periods and artistic styles (Mesopotamian; Egyptian; Greek; Romanesque Byzantine; Medieval; Islamic; Chinese; Japanese; Folk; Art Nouveau and Art Deco) and subject areas: Flowers and Leaves; Fruit and Vegetables; Nuts, Seeds and Cereals; and Trees.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (764) The designs can be copied, enlarged, traced or developed further for creative use in any field from embroidery to ceramics, woodwork and metal work. There are also a number of border patterns and an index in the back.

This book is an excellent source for inspiration, especially if you are a keen gardener as well!  From this book, it’s a short hop to combining those patterns with the following book:

2000 pattern Combinations: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Pattern: For Graphic, Textile and Craft Designers by Jane Callender 2011

BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (768)Slightly more complex, this book discusses a huge variety of technical aspects: Tiles, Tessellations and Grids; Basic Geometric Shapes and their Positioning; Bold Geometric Designs; Colour Theory; Symmetry;  Varying Scale, Tonal Contrasts and Building up Colour; Borders and Corners; The Use of Diagonals and Checks; Abstraction; Disguising the Repeat and Hiding the Motif; Backgrounds; Emphasing Line; Overlaying Colour and Playing with Tone; Shadowing; Shibori; Dots and Splodges; Links; and Damask Patterns.

Art Forms in Nature by Ernest Haekel 1904/ 2014;

Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919 )is a favourite of mine for his meticulous and other-worldly illustrations of life’s miracles.BlogColorDesignReszd2517-11-30 11.40.12While the book begins with chapters on his professional life and his devotion to art and science, as well as instructions for viewing his pictures, and finishes with biographical notes and a list of plates, the majority of the book is devoted to Haeckel’s amazing artworks, reproduced on 100 black-and-white and colour plates, which inspire a sense of wonder and an appreciation of the beauty of nature and all its inhabitants.

Artistic Designs

The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe by Lori Bailey Cunningham 2010

This is a fascinating book, which explores universal patterns and geometric forms in nature: circles and radials; dyads; triangles and squares; pentagoms and hexagons; and patterns including branching, cycles, waves and fractals.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (774) Its explanations are based on the concept of the mandala, which is defined as ‘an integrated structure around a unifying centre’( page 6), a symbol of unity and wholeness in many religions, and an expression of life itself.

There are some wonderful photographs and images in this book, which really get you thinking and inspire a myriad of possibilities for the next artwork! The book finishes with a selection of mandalas to colour in.

The Celtic Art Source Book by Courtney Davis 1988

The Celts were masters of symbolism and decorative stone and metal carving and knotwork.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (777) Like the Islamic faith today, copying or portrayal of the works of the creator (plant, animal, fish, reptile, bird, mammal and man) was forbidden, so the artistic representation of natural creatures is highly stylised and abstracted, with body parts intertwined in intricate patterns.

I love the abstract patterns, the spirals and clever interlacings and the symbolism and mythology behind their artwork.  This book describes key patterns and knotwork designs, like the Thread of Life, the Sacred Dance and the Celtic Cross, as well as spirals, the cosmic symbol; zoomorphic ornamentation and Celtic myths and legends.

Throughout the book are wonderful black-and-white and colour illustrations of their artwork, including borders and calligraphy.

The Art of Mehndi by Sumatra Batra 1999

There are some wonderful symbolic designs and patterns employed in the art of mehndi or henna body painting, which has been practised for over 5000 years in India, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (782) Spanning many different countries and religions, it encompasses a wide variety of styles from the fine floral and paisley Indian patterns, the larger floral Arabic motifs drawn on hands and feet, and the bold geometric shapes of African designs. This book describes the history, use and customs and symbolic meanings in each area, including its use in the contemporary Western world, as well as giving practical advice about its manufacture, application and techniques.

However, the best part of this book are the patterns themselves: the individual motifs; spirals and vines and designs for fingers; wrist cuffs, armbands and anklets; hands and feet; necklaces and chokers; and even designs for the back! It includes a list of resources in the back. Not only is it a much more acceptable (in my mind anyway!) and less permanent and damaging  alternative to tattoo art, but like the latter provides much inspiration for other art forms involving line work like hand embroidery and graphic art.

I loved the images in this book and could easily wear them in an appropriate situation, especially if I was younger! Maybe, I am a closet tattoo wearer after all, but I still prefer the monochromatic nature of henna art- to my mind, it is far more elegant, understated and visually appealing then the multi-coloured mishmash of contemporary tattoos!

One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration and Fun by Beckah Krahula 2012

Another way to get the creative juices flowing is Zentangle Art. BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (785)A more sophisticated and contemporary form of doodling, this meditational art form is also often monochromatic in nature, but can also involve colour. Zentangles are defined as ‘miniature abstract works of art, created from a collection of nonrepresentational patterns on a 8.9 cm square piece of paper called a tile’ (Page 13).

The Zentangle process is described on page 25:BlogColorDesignReszd50%Image (786)

It is unplanned, limitless and judgement-free, as there are never mistakes, only a constant unfolding of surprises. Below is my free-form zentangle:BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (787)

Materials can include thick art paper zentangle tiles (Tiepolo) and sketch pads, drawing pencils (2H and 2B) and white pastel pencils; black pigma micron pens (sizes 005, 01 and 05), Sakura gel pens, watercolours, gelatos (opaque paint sticks), Inktense colored pencils and water-soluble oil pastels, copic sketch markers, Pentel colour brush sets, an ampersand clayboard, plexiglass, gum Arabic and a protractor, although zentangles can really be drawn with anything on anything! Here is my Zentangle Tortoise:BlogColorDesignReszd75%Image (793) - CopyThis book progresses over a six week period with daily practice with chapters on the basics; tangles and value patterns;and  geometric and organic patterns; to understanding and using colour; defining and using style; paper batik and zendalas; and techniques for monoprinting, creating ensembles, painting fabric and using resin, and the use of calligraphy and folk patterns, as well as providing an inspiration gallery in the back. My daughter Jenny is a very accomplished Zentangler, as can be seen on the cover of her CD of original songs.BlogCreativity140%ReszdImage copyChildren’s books, art books, in fact any books, are wonderful sources of inspiration and are the subject of my next post next week. Until then… Happy Dreaming!

 

 

My Love Affair With Birds: Part Two: Reasons

So, what do I love about birds? Here are a few reasons:

Their ancient lineage and evolution: I still marvel that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Archaeopteryx) and that there is so much colour and variation in the bird world! Below are photos of a mural and a model of the Miocene Thunder Bird, also known as the Demon-Duck of Doom, Bullockornis planei, a member of the Dromornithids.

Their huge diversity:

Colour: We are so lucky in Australia to have so many brightly coloured birds with amazing colour combinations : For example, the multicoloured Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Pittas and Eastern Rosellas (first photo); Crimson Rosellas (royal blue and deep red) (second photo); King Parrots (emerald green and bright red) (third photo);  and Galahs (pink) (fourth photo); Satin Bowerbirds (the male is a metallic blue, while the female has a combination of greens) (fifth photo); Regent Bowerbirds (the males are gold and black with a red dot on their forehead); the Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler and Blue Wren, all named for obvious reasons; the metallic green head of the male Chestnut Teal (sixth photo); the deep blue and red of the Purple Swamphen (seventh photo); and the iridescent blue-green flash of a Black Duck’s wing (eighth photo).

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (842) - Copyblognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5860BlogLoveBirds2013-07-10 16.48.36BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-01 15.27.41BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4184BlogLoveBirds50%aug 2010 304BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_1588I also love the pink of flamingos (first photo), the blue of Azure Kingfishers (second photo), Pheasant Peacocks and Blue and Gold Macaws (third photo) and the fantastically coloured plumage of Birds of Paradise and Mandarin Ducks.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10BlogLoveBirds50%Image (881) - CopyPattern: There is also so much diversity in pattern from the dots of Pardalotes (first photo), the chevrons on the tails of King Parrots (second photo), the herringbone pattern of the chest plumage of Wood Ducks (third photo) and the stripes of Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Hawks and Pink Eared Ducks (fourth photo). I also love the contrasts in the Red-Breasted Goose (fifth photo);BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.31BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5939BlogLoveBirds2014-09-22 17.47.34BlogLoveBirds2013-07-15 16.42.53BlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopySize: Ranging from the large emus, ostriches, cassowaries, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles; Scrub Turkeys; Bustards; Palm Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos to tiny little SBBs (short for ‘small brown birds‘, which are notoriously difficult to identify, hence the group label!) Below are photos of a thornbill, wren and emu.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogLoveBirds2013-06-29 13.49.30BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4093Form: Again, there is so much variety from long and streamlined (darter) to large and chunky (eagle);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3507BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2444Beak Shape: A keystone in Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection theory with his studies on the variation of beak shape in finches (photos below in order are the Red-Browed Firetail Finch, the Crimson Finch and the Double-Barred Finch) and a natural correlationblogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-55-02BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9029BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0268 and leadup to:

Diet and Feeding Habits:  Bill shape is directly related to diet, superbly shown by the photo below, the long curved bill of the Eastern Spinebill, perfect for accessing the nectar of the agapanthus flowers.

BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58 Compare the short strong beaks of seed eating finches (photos above) to the rounded bills of dabbling ducks and mine-sweeping spoonbills (first photo), searching for fish, small crustaceans and water life; the long probing beaks of Bar-Tailed Godwits (second photo); the short hooked beaks of meat-tearing eagles and vultures and long hooked beaks of Sacred Ibis (third photo); the boat-shaped bills of Kookaburras (fourth photo); the sharp points of diving petrels and gannets; the curved slim beaks of Rainbow Bee Eaters (fifth photo); and the strong nutcracking vices of King Parrots (6th photo) and cockatoos (7th photo), which strip fruit orchards, demolish bark in search of insects and crack open sheoaks and wheat grains;

BlogLoveBirds2014-11-06 13.34.55BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0097BlogLoveBirds50%midmay 019BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF9393BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9654

blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-06-12BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Habitats: Every niche and environment has its own particular birds from the polar penguins to the tropical birds of the equator and from mountains and forests to grasslands and farmlands, the river and the sea. BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3925BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF0363BlogLoveBirds25%Lost City 2013 264BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2697Birds have also adapted very successfully to urban  environments, coexisting with mankind for thousands of years. Some examples of the human-bird relationship include:

Poultry for eggs, meat, fat and feather products– they include chickens, ducks, geese, quails and turkeys;

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847)Bird Aviaries and Companion Pets: Cockatoos, cockatiels, budgerigars and finches;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (850) - CopyOrganic Insect Control and Pollination;BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45Falconry: Eagles and hawks for hunting;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2374BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5638Pigeon Post;BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4852Cormorants for catching fish;BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 240 and even….

Warning Bells: For example, the canary down the mine shaft to detect dangerously high carbon dioxide levels; and the dietary adaptations, changing migration patterns and extinction of bird species with climate change and habitat destruction.

Their habits:

Communication:

Where would the world be without bird song? Here in Candelo, I love waking up to the melodic trill of the resident blackbirds (first photo); the ‘Duke-Duke-Wellington’ of the Grey Thrush (second photo); the clear peal of the Crimson Rosella; the friendly warble of the magpie (third photo); and the beautiful song of the Pied Butcherbird (fourth photo).blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-54-36BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.49.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.06BlogLoveBirds25%bris2013 148Spring is heralded by the sweet call of the Striated Pardalote (first photo), Summer: the manic ascending cry of the visiting Stormbirds, the descending trill of the Fan-Tailed Cuckoo and the deafening clamour of massing Little Corellas prior to their January departure (second photo); and Winter is definitely on the way, when you hear the cold clear call of the currawongs (third photo).BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.39.01BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4394I also love the calls of the bush birds:

The Eastern Yellow Robin is the first bird to wake up, giving it its scientific name: Eopsaltria australis, the Ancient Greek for ‘Dawn-Harper’;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08The Bowerbirds have such a distinctive whirr and the male and female Eastern Whipbirds have a combined song – the males calling first, followed by the whip of the females;BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38The Lyrebirds are the consumate masters of mimicry. It is a joy to sit and listen to their full repertoire from Black Cockatoos to Grey Thrush, Eastern Whipbirds, Grey Thrushes, Currawongs, Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins and a variety of parrots. See: https://wildambience.com/wildlife-sounds/superb-lyrebird/. I also love watching their courtship displays! Their tail feathers really do look like a lyre!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.06.01Some bird calls are not quite so melodic! For example, the raucous squawks of our Summer party cockatoos and corellas for a start! When I was younger, our resident peacocks would often instigate police visits late at night after telephone reports of women being murdered when the poor disturbed birds would fly out of their roosting trees, straight at our peaked roof and slide inelegantly down the corrugated iron, shrieking the whole way!

BlogCockatoo80%1st June 021

On our trip to North Queensland, the loud chatter of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos of Old Laura and the mournful cry of the Stone Curlews, forebearers of imminent death according to local aboriginal legend, were very distinctive and prominent.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5250BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0062Courtship

Birds have an amazing repertoire of ways to attract a mate from vivid bright colours (usually the male plumage!) to their mating calls and incredible courtship displays eg Peacocks (photo below) and Birds-of-Paradise.BlogLoveBirds2015-01-27 11.58.55 Bowerbirds are also fascinating, building bowers in a north-south alignment, decorated with coloured objects, to attract females to watch his courting dance. blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-50-40The Satin Bowerbird ( above) collects blue objects from blue Tobacco flowers and cornflowers to blue plastic pegs, milk bottle tops and biro lids, while the Great Bowerbird decorates its bower (below) with white bones and black river stones. They will even destroy other males’ bowers or steal their decorative objects to win ‘their bird’! Ross once timed the construction of a new bower from its demolished state- 40 minutes all up!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4409 Monogamy:

While Satin Bowerbirds are notoriously flashy, fickle and womanising, their cousin, the Catbirds (photo) mate for life, as do swans, geese, whooping cranes, black vultures, eagles and ospreys, some owls, ravens, scarlet macaws and Atlantic Puffins.BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7246

Nests and Eggs:

Again, so much diversity in nests from the huge platforms of eagles and messy loose and dodgy-looking conglomerations of twigs by magpies and herons, to the neat traditional bowls and intricate hanging palaces of scrub wrens. Some birds don’t even have nests!BlogCockatoo20c 2013 104 Parrots use tree hollows (photo above) and peregrines lay their eggs on rocky cliff ledges, while cuckoos (photo below) steal other bird species’ nests, the interloper cuckoo baby turfing its host siblings out of the nest as they hatch and keeping their poor smaller and frazzled host parents constantly busy, satisfying their boundless appetites!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - Copy Below in order are the nests of Nankeen Kestrels; a Grey Fantail; a honeyeater and Zebra Finches.

BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1839blognovgarden20reszdimg_0435BlogLoveBirds50%Image (849) - CopyBlogLoveBirds2014-10-26 13.19.17I love all the different sizes, shapes, patterns and colours of bird eggs. Fortunately, egg collecting is a hobby of the past, but chemicals like DDT, as well as habitat destruction, not to mention feral animals, pose an enormous threat to birds like Peregrine Falcons.

Childrearing Practices:

While many birds support each other by feeding the incubating bird or sharing the feeding and guarding of the young fledglings, I love the role reversals within the bird world, where males often take on the important role of child rearing. The male scrub turkey and mallee fowl (first photo) build huge mounds, in which the female lays her eggs, then he carefully monitors and maintains the incubation temperature until the babies hatch and make their own way. They operate on the breeding strategy of ‘strength in numbers’, while male lyrebirds focus their energies on rearing one chick at a time, instructing their young in opera singing and dance performances. Male emus and cassowaries are also formidable primary carers of their young. In some bird species, rearing the next generation is a family responsibility with input from siblings form previous broods eg Superb Fairy Wrens.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6025BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 359BlogLoveBirds50%late sept 131BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3468Flight and Motion:

Is it any wonder that many people aspire to a reincarnated life as a bird?! Not only can they walk and run, but also swim, dive and fly,  completely at home in all environments! The sight of a majestic eagle soaring the thermals high in the sky; the speed of a diving peregrine off a cliff or a tern or gannet into deep water; the flash of blurred green of a flock of musk lorikeets in full flight; the amazing aeronautical displays of huge flocks of budgerigars in the desert or starlings on dusk (see: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/flight-of-the-starlings-watch-this-eerie-but-beautiful-phenomenon); the incessant beat of wings of hummingbirds as they sip the nectar of flowers; the crazy chase of disturbed emus, the cute slow gangly waddle of penguins or puffins; the jaunty busy hop of bowerbirds… all these amaze me and fill me with awe! Even, and especially, that huge leap of faith, when a baby bird first learns to fly!BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpg Below in order: a Frigatebird; three pelicans; a Black-Necked Stork (Jabiru) and a White-Bellied Sea Eagle.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3989BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5695BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4549BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5758As do their migratory habits and patterns. The notion of a world without borders or passports is also very attractive to many humans, as exemplified in the films: Fly Away Home (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116329/). The distances travelled are mind-blowing! The Bird Airport at Shoalhaven Heads is very illuminating on the subject and is well worth a visit. I love this flying bird sculpture overlooking Corio Bay at Geelong, Victoria.BlogLoveBirds50%IMG_4277 BlogLoveBirds2514-03-12 16.36.07The Spine-Tailed Swifts, which speckled the Summer skies at Dorrigo, flew all the way from Eastern Siberia and Northern Asia, up to10 000 km away, and we would often see long, long, black clouds on the horizon, just above seawater level, of migratory Short-Tailed Shearwaters, some of whom would not make it, their exhausted carcasses washed up on the seashore.

The highly-endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot flies from Tasmania to Geelong across the wild Bass Strait every year to feed on the samphire wetlands in Winter. The effect on bird life and migratory birds in particular, is my only reservation about wind turbines, especially on our coastline.

When we lived in Geelong, we loved visiting the Cheetham Wetlands and the Point Cook Coastal Park, a 500 hectare site on the western outskirts of Melbourne, including a 300 hectare marine sanctuary, which has been designated an Area of Importance by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. There have been over 200 species of birds recorded, including 34 migratory species. Every year, with peak numbers between September and March. thousands of migratory birds, from as far away as Siberia, Alaska and Japan, to feed upon the saltmarsh and wetlands here. I loved the photo below of The Tower, Bill Kelly’s Monument to Migration and Aspirations, with Melbourne, a city representing the ultimate expression of that dream with over 200 nationalities, in the background. BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 288BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 291Migration patterns are definitely changing with climate change, with many birds now over-Wintering in previously cooler areas or not travelling as far.

However, despite the fact that some birds will be driven to extinction, birds are the ultimate survivors. They are brilliant at camouflage and adapt readily to new environments, climates and different food sources. They have incorporated feral weeds like privet and duranta into their diet and have incredibly finely-tuned senses when it comes to water eg their sudden appearance when the salt Lake Eyre fills with water. Here is a final photo of The Tower, described above:

BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 290

I hope this post has given you an excellent idea of the reasons I love birds so much, as well as being a good introduction to the 2018 monthly posts on some of my favourite birds. Here is a general guide to the monthly roundup this year :

January: Cockatoos and Parrots: Sulphur-Crested, Blacks, Gang Gang, Corella, Galah, King, Crimson, Eastern, Rainbow, Musk, Cockatiels and Budgerigars;

February: Sea Birds: Gulls, Terns, Gannets, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Dotterels, Turnstones, Stilts, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Osprey and Sea Eagles;

March: Water Birds: Swans, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Swamp Hens, Coots, Jacanas, Rails, Kookaburras, Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Dollar birds, Spoonbills, Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Brolgas and Cranes;

April: Birds of Prey: Eagles, Hawks, Goshawks, Falcons, Kites, and Kestrels;

May: Large Birds: Emus, Cassowaries, Scrub Turkeys, Coucals, Bustards and Stone Curlews

June: Medium-Sized Neutral-Coloured Birds: Magpies, Peewees, Crows, Ravens, Currawongs, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Butcherbirds, Drongoes, Choughs and Apostle Birds;

July: Rainforest Birds: Bowerbirds and Cat Birds, Rifle Birds, Fig Birds, Pittas and Chowchillas;

August: Clever Birds: Owls, Frogmouths and Cuckoos;

September: Small Birds: Robins, Wrens, Finches, Silvereyes, Thornbills and other SBBs, Pardalotes, Flycatchers and Fantails, Treecreepers, Chats, Mistletoe Birds, Swallows and Swifts;

October: Nectar Eaters: Honeyeaters, Spinebills, Wattlebirds and Friar Birds;

November: Song Birds: Lyrebirds, Whip Birds, Bell Birds and Whistlers;

December: Doves and Pigeons: Wonga, Brown, White, Topknot and Crested Pigeons; Fruit Doves; Peaceful Doves and Quails.BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 305I have set the scene to one of my favourite Christmas songs, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, starting with the refrain ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a Cockatoo in a Gum Tree!’

Posts will concentrate more on my personal experiences with these birds, with a few interesting or random facts thrown in, rather than detailed descriptions of appearance, call, behaviour, nesting, distribution etc, which can be gleaned from any good bird book. I hope you enjoy these bird posts!

Please Note: A Change of Plans!          23rd January 2018 

Unfortunately, due to the appropriation of both my bird posts by a larger collective site without my prior consent or crediting me (in fact claiming authorship as their own!), there will be no more bird posts for the time being, although I will still be continuing on with my normal posts.

Our Beautiful Earth: Part Four: Natural History Books: Reference Guides

In this post, I will be discussing some fabulous general reference guides to life on earth, including the elements which underpin its very existence: the geology and soils, the weather and climate and lastly, the amazing night sky!

Natural History by Smithsonian Institute 2010

A fabulous door-stopper of a book for anyone interested in natural history and our amazing and unique planet with its huge diversity and extraordinary wealth of plant and animal life – in fact over 1.9 million living species described to date, with more than 20 000 new species discovered and described each year.

It starts with a note on how to use the book, including pointers on size measurements; and plant icons and abbreviations, followed by a general introduction to life on Earth: its geological foundations; evolution of life forms and the classification of organisms. Active geological processes, changing climates, different habitats, human impacts, origins of life, evolution and diversity, natural and artificial selection, animal genealogy and a Tree of Life are all included in this chapter.

The majority of the book is devoted to an amazing in-depth catalogue of 5000 full colour entries, including Minerals, Rocks and Fossils; Microscopic Life Forms; and the Plant, Fungi and Animal Kingdoms.

Each entry has

: a Section Introduction, highlighting the characteristics and behaviours that define the group and discussing their evolution over time, with classification boxes displaying current taxonomic hierarchy and highlighting the level of the group under discussion and a box showing the different groups of species;

: a Group Introduction with key features : distribution, habitat, physical characteristics, life cycle, behaviour and reproductive habits;

: a Species Catalogue with common and scientific names; family; height; essential notes and annotated colour photos, showing relative sizes;    and

: a Feature Profile, which examines single specimens with close-up photographs and side profiles and data sets of size, habitat, distribution and diet.

Almost an essential reference for every library, it is a wonderful guide to the huge diversity of life on earth with all its variety of form, colour, texture, size and function.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (517)Another useful site, particularly for Australian flora and fauna is the Atlas of Living Australia: http://www.ala.org.au/.

Biology: An Australian Focus by Pauline Ladiges, Barbara Evans, Robert Saint and Bruce Knox 2008

Every natural history library should have an academic book devoted to biology, especially if it is a major interest,  and this is a good one, because it has an Australian focus, as well as a student interactive CD-ROM in the back.

It starts from the basics of life with cell biology and energetics and genetics and molecular biology, progressing through to plant form and function; animal form and function; evolution and biodiversity; and ecology, including Australian biota, population ecology, ecosystems and communities, and human impacts.

Plant Form and Function includes reproduction, growth and development of flowering plants; plant structure and nutrition; and plant hormones and growth responses, while Animal Form and Function covers animal reproduction and development; animal and human nutrition;, gas exchange in animals; circulation; water, solutes and excretion; innate defences and the immune system; hormonal control; nervous systems; animal behaviour; and their responses to environmental stress.

Evolution and Biodiversity is a huge chapter, which examines phylogeny and classification systems; the evolving earth (fossils; plate tectonics and continental drift; geological eras and biogeographic regions); and mechanisms of evolution, followed by a detailed look at all the different life forms: bacteria; viruses; protists; plants; fungi; and animals (sponges; jellyfish, sea anemones and corals; flukes and worms; molluscs; insects;  starfish; fish; amphibians; reptiles; birds; mammals; primates and humans).

I really enjoyed the chapter on Australian biota and its evolution from the time when Australia was part of Gondwanaland through the various geological eras and the influence of changing climate and aridity; changing landforms and weathering of soils; increasing frequency of fire; the glacial periods; and the arrival of humans on the continent and their impact. Terrestial and marine environments; the El Nino-Southern Oscillation influence; marine diversity; Australian flora and some of its main families and adaptive characteristics; and our unique fauna, including ancient megafauna, are also discussed in some detail.

The final chapter on human impacts is also very pertinent to Australia and looks at a host of environmental problems and concepts from decreasing biodiversity; biodiversity hotspots; land clearing and fragmentation;  the introduction of new species and the impact of feral animals and weeds; integrated pest management; land and water degradation; soil acidification;  increasing salinity; pollution; the greenhouse effect; climate change; coral bleaching; the illegal trade in endangered species; sustainability; and conservation and restoration ecology.

Being an academic textbook, each chapter concludes with a summary; key terms; self-assessment, review and extension questions and suggestions for further reading. An excellent book for basic biological concepts!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (553)Smithsonian Earth  edited by James F Luhr 2005

Another terrific Smithsonian publication, this time focusing on the Earth !

Its history : geological time; fossils; its building blocks; birth of the solar system; the development of life forms through the various geological eras; the ice ages; and the development of humans, all supported by a tabulated time line at the top of the page.

Its place in space : the universe; the solar system; the relationship between the earth and the sun and moon.

Its anatomy: the earth’s structure, shape, form and layers; the Earth’s magnetic field;  the core, mantle and crust; mineral formation, crystal structure and shape, mineral classification and identification tests; rock types and examples; fossil fuels; and soils: their formation and types.

The changing Earth : plate tectonics, boundaries and movement; weathering and erosion; deposition; mass movement; the impact of meteorites (with examples from all over the world); water (water properties and different forms; the global and local water cycles; and water resources); and life (diversity; evolution; extinctions; biomes and ecosystems; biogeography; nutrient cycles; and threats to biodiversity).

Land features: mountains and volcanoes, fault-lines and hot springs and geysers; rivers and lakes; glaciers and deserts; grasslands and  tundra;  forests and wetlands; and agricultural and urban areas.

Oceans : currents; reefs; polar oceans; oceans of the world; tides and waves; coasts and sea level; and erosional and depositional coastlines.

: Atmosphere : atmospheric structure; energy; circulation; climate regions; climate change; air masses and weather systems; precipitation and clouds; and wind.

: Tectonic Earth : focusing on all the specific earth plates, with details like area, highest and lowest points, major features, major city, and population and boundaries with lots of illustrative examples.

A wealth of information , presented in a very simple and clear format with lots of interesting examples and great photos. This is another essential book for your library!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (531)Australian Volcanoes by Russell Ferrett 2005

Large areas of Eastern Australia have experienced intense volcanic activity over the past 40 Million years, resulting in the creation of many landforms, which have since been eroded to varying degrees. I was fascinated to learn that 16 of Australia’s volcanoes have been formed by the crustal Australian plate moving northward over hotspots in the Bass Strait, with the oldest volcano at 35 Million years old at Hillsborough, Qld and the youngest at less than 10 million years old at Mt Macedon. Also, more disconcertingly, that the Victorian volcanic region is not actually extinct, but has been resting the last 4000 years and could actually become active again!

This book examines the earth’s structure; the different types of volcanic activity in Australia; the types of eruptions; volcanic material (tephra, lava and volcanic rocks and their formation); and types of volcanic landforms (volcanic cones; domes; plains; lava tubes; tumuli; plugs; dykes and sills), before concentrating on specific volcanic features in Australia, many of which we have visited. These include the Atherton Tableland with its crater lakes and Undara Lave Tubes in North Queensland; the Glasshouse Mountains, just north of Brisbane, Queensland, and Mt Warning in Northern New South Wales; the Warrumbungles and Ebor Volcano, New South Wales; Mt Canoblas near Orange, New South Wales; Lord Howe Island and Heard Island; the Organ Pipes National Park; Mt Macedon; the Camperdown district; Tower Hill and Mt Eccles in Victoria; Mt Gambier, South Australia;  Circular Head and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania; and the diamond deposits in Western Australia’s Kimberleys.

It is a fascinating book and explains the formation of all these landforms clearly and simply.

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Rocks and Minerals by Chris Pellant 1992

This is a Collins Eye Witness Visual Guide to over 500 rocks and minerals from around the world. It is a perfect book for rock and gemstone collectors, with introductory chapters on rock collecting; geological maps and field equipment; the home kit and organizing your collection. It then has a section on mineral definition, formation, composition, characteristics (crystal systems, habit, cleavage, fracture, hardness, specific gravity, colour, streak, transparency and lustre) and identification.

The section on rocks covers their formation; types of metamorphism; the characteristics of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and a rock identification key.

The world of geology is an enormous and complex subject, but this little book explains the basics so well, that it is interesting to even the lay person like myself and it is so important for the natural history lover to have a basic knowledge of rocks and minerals, as they underpin the rest of life itself: the soils, the plants and the animals, which live in each habitat.

Each entry is categorized into its group and there is a short note about each group at the beginning, followed by specifics about each rock and mineral. Coloured tabs at the top and bottom of each mineral entry denote the group to which it belongs, its chemical composition, its hardness, specific gravity and its cleavage and fracture properties.

The main text includes notes on its characteristics, formation, and chemical tests for identification. There are clear photographs, annotated with identification features, and drawings of the visual outline of its crystal system. The igneous rock entries have coloured tabs of its classification group, its origin, grain size, crystal shape, chemical classification, occurrence and colour; the metamorphic rock tabs also include pressure, temperature and structure, while those of the  sedimentary group includes fossils. The main text in the rock entries discusses their chemical composition and content, as well as texture and origin.

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I would really like to have a copy of this book, now that we are living on the South Coast:

A Geological Guide to Canberra Region and Namadgi National Park by Geological Society of Australia (ACT Division) 2009.* See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/a-geological-guide-to-canberra-region-and-namadgi-national-park/gs9780646487342.aspx.

Colour in Nature by Penelope A Farrant 1999

A  fascinating book about the world of colour and its manifestation in nature. It combines information from across the board of scientific study: astronomy, geology, zoology, botany and physics.

It starts with a chapter on the nature of colour: its production; perception; visible light; spectroscopy; refraction, reflection, diffraction, interference and absorption; and iridescence and polarisation.

Further chapters explore :

Colour in the universe;

Atmospheric colour : including noctilucent clouds; coloured coronas, double rainbows and auroras;

Colours of the earth’s surface : oceans; rivers; glacial lakes; reflections; precious gems and opals; and different types of rocks and soils;

Colourful habitats :  tropical and subtropical rainforests; deciduous and coniferous forests; polar and mountainous areas; grasslands and deserts; oceans and lakes; and the darkness of caves and the deepest depths;

Leaves : photosynthesis and chlorophyll; other pigments; variegated leaves; Autumn colour of deciduous trees; new Spring growth; and low light habitats;

Flowers and Fruits : evolution of flower colour; inflorescences; variable and changing colour; pigments; environment and colour; pollinator preferences; fruit colours to attract birds; ripening fruits and seed colour;

Seeing in colour: light receptors; simple and compound eyes; adapting to light and dark; seeing underwater; animal eyes; human colour vision and colour blindness;

Animal pigments : skin colour and melanins; colour abnormalities and albinism; and all the different animal pigments with examples in the animal world;

Structural colour in animals : interference; iridescence; background colour; transparency; coloured lights; light regulation; luminescent lures; bioluminescence; nacreous pearls; and blue eyes.

Changing and variable colours : chromatophores; colour change with mood, day and night and camouflage; cuttlefish and chameleons; environmental factors and  visual stimuli; seasonal colour change; sexual colours; changes with age; colour and natural selection;

Survival strategies : camouflage and communication: false colours; warning colours; toxic insects; mimesis and mimicry; and  colour mimics in plants; and finally,

Colour, nature and humans: colour wheels; primary, secondary and tertiary colours; colour harmony and clash; colour in the garden; foliage colour; photography; and natural pigments and dyes.

The world of colour, particularly in nature, is such an enormous and endlessly fascinating field. This book offers a wonderful insight into everything to do with colour and, even though it can be quite complex with so much to know, the text and beautiful photographs help expand that knowledge and understanding of some of the basic concepts, like the colour changes with age and the seasons.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (539)

The Australian Weather Book by Keith Colls and Richard Whitaker 2001

A very important book, given the enormous contemporary challenges of the changing climate! Climate change is upon us, whether we like it or not, and we are only just seeing the tip of the ramifications to come, and yet so many people still stick their heads in the sand and try to deny it, despite the wealth of scientific evidence:  the melting ice caps and sea level rises; the extinction of plant and animal species, changes in migration patterns and the dying of the coral reefs; the higher temperatures; and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like floods, droughts and fire. I find the denial really hard to understand, given that these people have children and grandchildren, who will not be able to be insulated from the effects of the climate and will have to deal with the problems our generation has created. If one excludes sheer greed or fatalism, the only other excuse is ignorance about the weather and the fact that so many people have been separated from nature and live in controlled urban environments for most of their day. Hence, the importance of this book!!!

It starts with the history of meteorology, followed by notes, accompanied by weather maps, on our diverse Australian climate: its rainfall; temperature; snow and frost; thunderstorms and hail; hours of sunshine and cloud cover; evaporation; drought and flood; tropical cyclones and wind (cyclones and floods being particularly topical and pertinent, given recent weather events!); humidity; and climatic discomfort.

The third chapter discusses the general circulation of the atmosphere: its chemical composition; vertical structure; and global wind circulation, while the following chapters focus on macro-scale circulations (air masses and the forces acting upon them in the atmosphere; weather fronts and low pressure systems; and what those isobars on the nightly TV weather maps mean!); meso-scale circulations (sea breezes, the southerly buster, topographic and downslope winds, eddies and cloudlines) and clouds (their formation and type).

Meteorological instruments (barometers, thermometers, rain gauges, anemometers and weather stations) are discussed, as well as the effects of weather on society and finally, climate change, including its history and theories, greenhouse gases and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere.

Further reading and websites and a glossary are provided in the back. A very factual and informative book from the Australian  Bureau of Meteorology.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (530)

The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney 2006

For those of you, who wanted more than just one chapter on clouds, here is a whole book, written by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2004! I love his manifesto, especially his description of clouds as nature’s poetry and an expression of the atmosphere’s mood, as well as his inclusion of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s beautiful poem ‘The Cloud’, which starts :

‘ I am the daughter of Earth and Water and the nursling of the Sky…’!

After photos of the different cloud genera and a cloud classification table, he proceeds to discuss the low clouds: cumulus and cumulonimbus, stratus and stratocumulus; then the middle clouds: altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus; and the high clouds: cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus.

Each chapter has a guide to spotting that particular cloud type, including a description, its altitude, place of formation, precipitation, species and varieties and confusing look-alikes, as well as lots of interesting information about cloud-associated history, literature, mythology and artwork and their formation and effects. There are also accessory clouds, sidekicks to the 10 main cloud types: pileus, pannus and vellum, as well as supplementary features like tuba, the first sign of a waterspout (which we were lucky enough to see one day at Blue Pool, just south of Bermagui (see photo below), incus, mamma, arcus, virga and precipitatio; and the stratospheric and mesospheric  nacreous and noctilucent clouds.BlogEnvtlBooks2015-01-28 12.32.54There is even a chapter on contrails, formed by high altitude aircraft and their contribution to global warming;  the glider pilot’s cloud surfing nirvana, the Morning Glory of the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland; and a cloudspotter’s quiz, in which you should be able to get full marks after reading this entertaining and informative book!

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It really makes you appreciate the beauty of our daytime skies with their ever-changing array of clouds!  For our wondrous star-studded nighttime skies, I have three books:

The Night Sky by Steve Massey 2003/ 2007

A very practical guide to observing the sun, moon and planets.

It starts with a concise history of astronomy, followed by a guide to understanding how and where stars and planets are placed and can be found in the sky.

Part Two examines observing the solar system and everything concerning the sun and the moon, including solar and lunar eclipses, solar flares, sunspots, earthshine, the moon phases and the craters and geography of the moon.

Planets are discussed in order of their respective orbits or distance from the sun, starting with mercury and ending with the furthermost planet, Pluto. Each planetary chapter starts with a table, detailing salient details like its visual diameter, axial tilt, magnitude, number of known moons, distance from the earth and the sun, orbital period and primary atmospheric composition. It’s a mind-boggling field, even more confusing than geology and geological time periods! Information is included on observing each planet, their structure, surface markings and rings or moons and their transits.

There are also chapters on asteroids, comets, meteors and meteor showers, as well as an in-depth section on using the tools of the trade: telescopes, refractors, reflectors, catadioptric designs, focusers, finderscopes, collimation, telescope mounts and axis drives, drive motors, eye pieces, lenses and filters and even binoculars; as well as recording your findings with sketches, conventional film photography, CCD imaging, digital cameras and video recorders.

Throughout the book are beautiful photos, as well as clear explanatory diagrams. A very useful book for the home astronomer.

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The Book of Constellations by Robin Kerrod 2002

The night sky has been a constant wonder to peoples from all cultures and time periods and has inspired a large number of myths and legends, which are explored in this book, as well as a wealth of factual information about each heavenly body and information about locating it in the night sky.

I love all the names of the constellations and all the history and mythology behind them. Apparently, there are 88 constellations (finalised worldwide in 1930), 48 of which were recognized by Ptolemy and the Ancient Greeks in 200 AD. While the Greeks were responsible for the names of the constellations, the Arabs named many of the bright stars like Betelgeuse in Orion and Aldebaran in Taurus.

The book explores the concept of the celestial sphere with maps of the northern and southern constellations; the constellations of the zodiac (12); and the major constellations (33) and planets.

Each double page spread includes the mythology behind each constellation; its astronomical features; its location in the night sky; and a constellation map showing the main stars, linked together by a fanciful image of the name of the constellation group.

It is a fascinating book and introduced me to many new constellations, of which I had never heard, as well as informing me about the more familiar ones!  I was amazed to learn that the Ancient Babylonians and Greeks were far enough south to see the Southern Cross, our most famous Australian constellation, and that the little cluster of coloured stars, which can be seen with the naked eye and through binoculars, at the base of left-hand cross, close to Beta, is called the Jewel Box. BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (550)

Incidentally, the Australian aborigines had their own mythological stories about the night sky and often saw patterns in the negative space between the stars like The Emu in the Sky and the Seven Sisters that make up the star cluster known as the Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/whatis.htm and https://japingkaaboriginalart.com/articles/star-dreaming-seven-sisters/.

There are also two books about aboriginal astronomy:

Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy  by Ray and Cilla Norris 2008. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/book.htm  and

Night Skies of Aboriginal Australia- A Noctuary by Dianne Norris 1998 / 2014. See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/night-skies-of-aboriginal-australia—a-noctuary/sy9781743323878.aspx.

The Box of Stars by Catherine Tennant 1993

A similar publication in content to Robin Kerrod’s book, but with a slight different approach, using a lovely little boxed set of 32 cards called  Urania’s Mirror, originally hand-painted by ‘a lady’ and published in London in 1825.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (528) Each card is pierced with holes, which mark the stars of the constellation and which glitter when held up to the light, acting as a learning guide to each constellation.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - CopyThere is also a small booklet with night sky maps of the northern and southern hemispheres and seasonal descriptions of the stars, including lists of cards to use during that time.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - Copy - Copy Each card is further discussed with information about each constellation, its location and the mythology behind it. It complements the previous book well.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (534) - CopyBlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (535) - CopyThe Australian Sky by WJ Newell 1965

I am including this tiny little Jacaranda Pocket Guide, despite its age and the fact that some of its information is no doubt out-of-date (!), because its explanations are so good and easy to understand. Each constellation is covered in great depth and while it also covers the mythology behind the stars, it seems to have more information about the actual stars, especially in relation to the Australian night sky!BlogEnvtlBooks50%Image (646)

I feel astronomy is such a vast and complicated subject, one can never have enough books or guides and each one has a slightly different slant. Finally, here are some excellent websites on this subject:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/starhunt/

http://www.scitech.org.au/the-sky-tonight

https://maas.museum/observations/category/monthly-sky-guides/

http://asv.org.au/

https://astronomy.org.au/general/sky-guides/.

And lastly, a good atlas is essential in any well-stocked home library! In fact, you probably need at least three or four atlases in a lifetime, as borders are constantly changing, as well as environmental challenges, and cities and populations are always growing!

We were given The Times Atlas of the World as a wedding present back in 1983 and it served us well, particularly for the two overseas trips we made over the following ten years, but since then the European landscape has totally changed. Yugoslavia no longer exists, having been replaced by Slovenia, Croatia, Boznia-Herzgovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia; Czechoslovakia is now two countries: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic; while East Germany and West Germany are now the one Germany; and White Russia is now called Belarus.

So, in 2014, we decided we needed to update our library and update bought a new atlas:

Philip’s Atlas of the World: In Association with The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

While not as large as our original atlas, a distinct advantage, given the Times Atlas was an absolute whopper (!), this new atlas is incredibly comprehensive with a wealth of interesting information about our wonderful world!

The frontispiece features a Key to World Map Pages (including Keys to City Map Symbols and World Map Symbols; and World Maps Elevation and Depth Tints), while inside the back cover is a Key to European Map Pages and a World Country Index.

The atlas starts with a User Guide and Statistics for Countries (Area, in square kilometres or miles; Population; Capital City and Annual Income) and Cities (population figures), followed by large sections on :

The Future of the Oceans and Seas: Temperature; Salinity; Oceans and Carbon Dioxide; Oceanic Conveyor Belts; Ocean Currents; the Coriolis Effect; Oceans and Resources; Overfishing; Aquaculture; Oil; Dead Zones; Red Tides; Waste Material; Plastic; Ocean Acidification; and Rising Sea Levels.

Satellite Images of the Earth

Gazetteer of Nations (alphabetically organized):  Geography; Politics and Economy; and Key Statistics: area, population, capital city, ethnic groups as a percentage, languages, religions, currency; and a small map and flag.

World Geography:

The Universe: Life of a Star; Black Holes; Galactic Structures; the Home Galaxy; the End of the Universe; the Nearest Stars, with distances in light-years; Star Charts for both hemispheres; and a List of Constellations.

The Solar System: Planetary orbits; Planetary Data (Mean distance from the sun; mass; period of orbit; period of rotation; equatorial diameter; average density; surface gravity ;and number of known satellites); and descriptions of each planet.

Seasons, Time and Motion: The Seasons; Day and Night; Earth Data: distance from the sun; angle of tilt; length of year; superficial area; land and water surfaces; equatorial and polar circumference,s diameters and radii; and volume and mass; Sunrise and Sunset; the Moon and Moon data : Distance from the Earth; Size and mass; Visibility; and Temperature; Phases of the Moon; Eclipses; Tides; and a map of Time Zones and the International Date Line.

Geology of the Earth:

Model of the Earth; Continental Drift; Plate Tectonics; Distribution of Volcanoes; Geological Time Periods; a Map of Earthquake Zones; and a List of Major Earthquakes since 1900.

The Atmosphere:

Structure of the Atmosphere; Circulation of the Air; Frontal Systems; Chemical Composition; Air Masses; Classification of Clouds; Maps of Pressure and Surface Winds and Weather Records for barometric pressure (minimum and maximum); fastest wind speed; windiest place; and worst storm and tornado.

Climate: Climate and Weather Terms;  Maps of Climatic Regions, Temperatures and Precipitation; Temperature and Rainfall Figures; Beaufort Wind Scale;  Monsoons; and Climate Records (minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation; longest heatwave; driest and wettest places; and heaviest hailstones and snowfall).

Climate Change and Global Warming: Maps of World Carbon Dioxide Emissions per capita; and Annual Average Surface Air Temperatures and Annual Average Precipitation; Models of Regional Climate Change and Projected Changes in Global Warming; and Diagrams of Recent and Future Sea-Level Changes and Arctic Sea Ice.

Water and Vegetation: The Hydrological Cycle; Water Distribution; Annual Sediment Yield; Longest Rivers; and Maps, showing Water Scarcity and Natural Vegetation throughout the world.

Biodiversity and the Natural World: World Maps of Threatened Animal Species and Environmental Hotspots; a Map of Australia’s Introduced Species (rabbits, foxes and cane toads) and the Value of Nature (provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural services).

Population: World Maps of Population Density and Population Change; Diagrams and Graphs of World and Nation Income; Population by Continent; Japan’s Ageing Population; and World Population Change over Time; and Data Sets of the Largest Nations; Most Crowded Nations; Least Crowded Nations; and Fastest Growing and Declining Populations.

Food Supply: Water; Fertilizers; Demand for Meat; Pests, Diseases and Weeds; Genetic Modification; World Crop Production and Global Land Usage; Land Management; and Future Potential.

Cities: World Maps of Urban Population and Urbanization of the Earth over time; Graphs of World Urbanization, Urban Advantages (mortality/ literacy) and City Growth; the Largest Cities; Slum Cities; Sustainable Cities; and a List of Cities with over 10 Million inhabitants. Apparently, in 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities.

The Human Family: World Maps of World Migration; Refugees; and Predominant Languages and Religions.

Conflict and Cooperation: World Maps of the Global Peace Index and International Organizations; and Bar Graphs showing Refugee Numbers and Military Spending.

Energy:  World Maps of Energy Balance (the difference between energy production and consumption), Energy Production, and Oil Movements; Bar Graphs of World Energy Consumption and Energy Reserves (oil, gas and coal); Data Sets of Nuclear Power, Hydroelectricity and Wind Power; Peak Oil; Fracking; and Alternative Energy Sources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and biomass).

Minerals: World Map of Mineral Distribution; and Figures and Bar Charts for Specific Minerals (diamonds, blood diamonds; uranium; iron ore; rare earth elements and scrap metals).

Employment and Industry: World Maps of Employment, Industry and Trade, Unemployment, and Tourism and Travel; an Employment Pie Chart; the Percentage of Men and Women in Employment in Selected Countries; and a List of the World’s Busiest Airports.

Trade: World Maps of World Trade, Dependence on Trade (exports as a percentage of GDP), Globalization, Trade in Primary Exports and the Balance of Trade; a Bar Chart showing Traded Products, Pie Charts for Major Exports; and the Globalization Index.

Health: Millienium Development Goals; World Maps of Food Consumption and Infant Mortality; Bar Charts focusing on AIDS; Causes of Death, Medical Provision, Access to Safe Water, Sanitation, and Malaria; and Data Lists on Maternal Mortality Rates and Expenditure on Health in Selected Countries.

Wealth: World Maps of Income Levels, Inflation, and Growth in GNI; Bar Charts showing Indicators for Different Income Levels (high, middle and low), and Extreme Poverty; a Pie Chart for Continental Shares of Population and Wealth; State Finance; and Tackling Poverty.

Standards of Living: World Maps of Indexes for  Human Development and Gender Inequality; and Bar Charts showing Education Levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) in Selected Countries; the Distribution of Spending; Fertility and Education; and Gender Equality.

The next major section contains street maps of all the major world cities in alphabetical order, and then finally, we reach the main World Map Section: world maps of the physical and political world, including thicknesses and depths of the continental plates and oceans; followed by maps of each continent and individual countries.

It finishes with a geographical glossary and an index to all the World Maps with latitudes and longitudes, abbreviations and notes on pronunciation. An excellent publication!BlogEnvtlBooks20%Image (645)

Next week, I am discussing rose pruning, a timely topic since we have just finished pruning all our roses, ready for their new growth in Spring! We will then resume our book posts with the final parts of Our Beautiful Earth: Natural History Books, with two posts on the environmental challenges our special planet faces and measures we can take as individuals to help the situation, before finishing the cold season with a post on our Winter Garden.

Garden Guides and Garden Design Books

A comprehensive garden library is essential for planning and designing a garden and a wonderful way to pass a Winter evening, when the Spring seems such a long way away! Here are some of the books in my library, but please note this is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some of my favourites that I tend to read constantly!

1.Garden Reference Guides

First up, the  Garden Plant Series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.

I have already mentioned their book on Roses (1994) in my previous garden book post, but they have also compiled books on Bulbs (over 1000 types) 1981; Shrubs (over 1900 types) 1989; and Perennials (Over 1250 plants in two volumes) : Volume 1: Early Perennials and Volume 2: Late Perennials 1994.

While both authors are British, they do include plants from all over the world, including Australia. Their introduction includes brief notes on plant history and origins in the wild; their use in the garden; propagation, planting, cultivation and pruning notes; and pests and diseases, as well as full colour photographs of all the species of a particular plant type. Each book starts with plants which flower in Winter and then progresses through the seasonal cycle.

Martyn and Roger have also produced a set of mini-guides: The Best Scented Plants (over 200 types); Plants for Shade (over 250 plants); Traditional Old Roses; and Climbers for Walls and Arbours – all published by Pan in 1998 and all a delightful read!

Martyn Rix also wrote the Kew Subtropical and Dry Climate Guide in 2006, a book which will become increasingly important with the rising temperatures and droughts, associated with climate change. It has an excellent plant directory of trees, shrubs and climbers, perennials and annuals, bulbs and cacti and succulents from Mediterranean regions, South Africa, California and Mexico, China and India and Australia and New Zealand, all with low water requirements. Each entry lists different species in the family, their origin and use, height and spread specifications and notes about their cultivation, drought tolerance and hardiness and humidity requirements, as well as having lovely photos. I will be discussing some other excellent books on this subject in my post : Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two next month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-346

The Essential Plant Guide: Every Plant Guide You Need For Your Garden (For Australian and New Zealand Gardens) 2013  is a real door stopper of a book with chapters on Trees; Shrubs; Annuals and Perennials, Grasses, Sedges and Bamboos; Fruit and Nut Trees; Bulbs, Corms and Tubers; Cacti and Succulents! Each chapter is alphabetically organized according to genus name with descriptions, photographs and cultivation notes and top tips and a table of favourite varieties with details of colour, fragrance, height and width, blooming season, hardiness zone and frost tolerance. It includes an illustrated  guide to fruit and leaf types to make description easier.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-337

Australian Gardening Encyclopaedia by Random House 1998 is a similar book with a hardiness zone map and notes on garden design, basic design principles, planting and maintenance techniques and pests and diseases. It covers similar categories of plants, as well as Vegetables and Herbs; Ferns, Palms and Cycads; Lawns and Ground Covers, Climbers and Creepers and even Orchids, again organized by genus name. At the back is an alphabetically – ordered Reference Table, detailing growth, form and use; hardiness zone; type of foliage (deciduous or evergreen); height and width; chief attraction; flowering time and special comments about each plant. The entries are shorter, but there are probably more plants covered.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-338

The Royal Horticultural Society Garden Plants and Flowers in Australia by Ian Spence 2009 is a slightly smaller tome, but equally valuable as a reference guide. Each section starts with notes about the plant type throughout the year, with a series of photos for each season with their page number for easy reference. Chapters include : Trees and Shrubs – the backbone to the garden; Climbing Plants – the vertical element; Flowering Plants – for colour and fragrance; and Bamboos, Grasses and Ferns –  for foliage, background colour, texture and year-round interest. There is also a chapter on Planting and Caring for Plants and very useful lists of suitable plants for particular areas like exposed sites; seaside gardens; dry sun; damp shade; dry shade; deep shade; acid soils; chalky alkaline soils; rock gardens; bog gardens and sloping sites;  or particular needs, like ornamental herbs and fragrant plants.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-339From the Ground Up: A Complete Guide For Victorian Gardeners by Jane Edmanson 2009 : I bought this book, while we were living in Victoria, but found it to be a very useful guide in Southern New South Wales as well. As a long-term Victorian presenter for ABC’s Gardening Australia, Jane really knows her subject and is a mine of information on gardening in Victoria. She discusses the Victorian climate and soils in depth, including ways of improving the soil, different types of compost and fertilizers; watering and mulching; propagation techniques and transplanting seedlings; pruning; and garden design. Then, there are the chapters on Australian natives; exotic species for sun, shade and colour; the productive garden;  potted plants; lawns; pests and diseases; weeds and a gardening calendar of garden tasks for each month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-345Another self-professed Australian botanical bible is The Constant Gardener by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2007. Holly has written a large number of articles about gardening for The Australian, as well as many beautiful books with sumptuous photography. I love her books, some of which I will describe in a later post on dreamy inspirational gardening books, but this one definitely belongs here!

Part One covers the Australian seasons, landscapes and environmental concerns, including global warming, drought, increasing salinity and the threat of feral weeds (as well as possible management strategies and sustainable practices). In Part Two, Holly  discusses some of her favourite plants, which I also adore. She includes a description of her favourite varieties, their use in the garden, planting, requirements and care and the odd anecdote and recipe, as is typical of her style.

Part Three covers grouped garden elements: borders, edgings and ground-covers; lawns and grasses; hedges and climbers; trees, conifers and shrubs; native plants; succulents and tropical plants; and  fruit, herbs and spices; while Part Four gets down to the nitty-gritty of maintaining a healthy garden with chapters on soil and fertilizers; compost and mulch; propagation, pruning and transplanting; and pests, diseases and weeds.

Part Five covers garden design; colour and scent and plants for shady areas.  In Part Six, Holly looks at garden structures; gardening in small spaces; hardscaping: paths and paving, steps; edgings and seats; fences and walls; entrances and gates; supports and structures; lighting; pots; sculptures; water features and flower arranging. And finally, she takes us on a Cook’s Tour of all her favourite types of gardens throughout the world, including Chinese and Japanese gardens; foliage gardens; vegetable gardens; community gardens; mazes, knots and parterres; meadow gardens; rose gardens; native gardens; seaside gardens and water-wise gardens- all with lovely photos and examples. At the back of the book, she includes contact details for many of the gardens cited throughout the book. It’s a lovely book to dip into at random and I highly recommend it!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-361

Garden Shrubs and Trees in Colour by Eigel Kiaer 1959 is a delightful little hardback gem, which I picked up in a second-hand book sale. While there are descriptive notes in the back of the book, I adore its quirky little colour plates with numbered illustrations of each species and tiny black-and-white sketches of the gardener going about his chores and the tree in relation to house height. The gardener always has a pipe in his mouth and is engaged in various activities from lawn mowing to raking, pushing a wheelbarrow, digging and watering and just admiring the view!

bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-344-copybloggardendesignbksreszd30image-376Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon 1990 A basic knowledge of botany is invaluable to the gardener for an understanding of plant requirements and correct maintenance for optimal growth. This excellent little book has very clear explanations and covers :

Plant anatomy, right down to cell structure, and that of seeds, roots, shoots, and  stems;

Adaptation mechanisms for protection and fulfilment of basic needs including: competition between plants; reaching for the sun; climbing structures; epiphytes; supportive roots; water uptake and storage, parasitic plants and insectivorous plants.

Plant functions: including growth and development; environmental control; water uptake; osmosis; photosynthesis; and gas exchange with the atmosphere.  And finally,

Reproduction: including flower pollination, the reproductive process; seed dispersal; fruit types; plant classification; genetics; and the life cycle of mosses and ferns.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-355

Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names For Gardeners by William T Stearn  1996 is a great reference guide to the origin and meaning of the plant’s scientific name, covering both genus and species names. For example, one of the only two scientific names my eldest daughter learnt: Callicoma serratifolia , a rainforest tree, which used to grow down by our creek in Northern New South Wales. ‘Calli-’ comes from the Greek word ‘kalli’, meaning ‘beautiful’; ‘-coma’ from the Greek word  ‘kome’, meaning ‘hair’, thus referring to the soft gold, tufted flowerheads of this tree. ‘Serratifolia’ refers to the serrated or saw-tooth edges of its leaves. It is such an interesting book, as it often includes extra fascinating facts, as well as a chapter on vernacular names.

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  1. Garden Design Books :

2A. Garden Design Principles

Down-to-Earth garden Design by Phil Dudman : How To Design and Build Your Dream Garden 2010. I bought this book when I was studying garden design at Burnley and it backed up my study brilliantly. It covers all the basics, as well as providing ready-made garden designs for different garden configurations, and very practical information about actually achieving your design from building retaining walls, steps, pergolas and ponds to installing drainage, laying concrete and pavers, establishing new lawns and planting, composting, mulching and irrigation. A very useful book to own!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-351

Art and the Gardener : Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design by Gordon Hayward  2008 is a relatively new addition to my library. Because my gardening library is quite extensive, with a  book on most gardening topics, as well as the marvels of the internet, I am now very choosy when it comes to actually purchasing a book, but this one was on sale and looked at garden design in quite a novel way, so how could I resist? On reading it over Christmas, I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s a beautiful book, especially if like me, you love art and gardens. It’s a natural match really, when you think about it. Both art and gardens are governed by similar design elements and principles like line and form, colour and scale, texture, contrast, balance and harmony etc. Gordon relates different art movements to garden style: romanticism, classical axial, impressionism, cubism, minimalism, abstract expressionism and contemporary. He examines the relationship between house and garden in some detail, as well as rules of composition and design principles, including curves and straight lines; focal points; light and shade; contrast in texture and colour; transition spaces; and vertical elements. He has a large chapter on colour harmony or contrast, with suggestions of plants of different colours and seasons and an appendix on colour symbolism in different cultures. Throughout the book are beautiful photographs of artworks and gardens – a real visual treat, as well as really making you think and analyze both art and gardens.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-352

Garden Enchantment: Creative Design with Annuals and Perennials by Cheryl Maddocks 1992 This is a lovely dreamy book, covering colour design (including lists of flowers for different colour themes); fragrance; planting combinations; perennial borders and annuals; different garden types (meadow; natural; flower arrangers; herbs and edible flowers; pots and situations like  shade and night-time); as well as chapters on soil preparation; maintenance and propagation. There are selection lists for annuals and perennials at the back of the book, with descriptions and cultivation notes.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-350

2B. Elements of Design

  1. Colour

The Gardener’s Book of Colour by Andrew Lawson 1996.  I bought this book after hearing a talk by Andrew Lawson in Armidale in 1998, when he was visiting Australia. After discussing colour theory, he focuses on gardening with single colours (with planting suggestions for each season); harmonies and contrasts; and mixed colour combinations. At the back of the book, he includes keyline drawings with full  planting details for the major schemes discussed. I love his beautiful photographs and his brilliant colour combinations from bold and dramatic to harmonious and peaceful. His plant directories provide cultivation details for over 850 plants. I found his section on green colours particularly useful, as the backdrop to the garden throughout all seasons.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-349

Planting For Colour by Susan Chivers 1988 is also an excellent book on colour, with a double page spread devoted to each colour and notes on the association between colour and moods, including planting suggestions for each desired emotional effect eg calming; exciting; dramatic; subtle; and sophisticated. It examines the use of colour in different situations like small town gardens; country gardens; woodland gardens; water gardens; and seaside gardens with planting suggestions throughout. She  also looks at hard landscaping and containers. The final half of the book is devoted to ensuring the maximum use of colour throughout all the seasons from early Spring to late Winter, with double page plant profiles of dominant plants in each season eg magnolias and miniature daffodils in early Spring; and  early-flowering clematis, tulips and rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring.

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The Startling Jungle: Colour and Scent in the Romantic Garden by Stephen Lacey 1986  An immediate best-seller on its publication, this book  leads into my next design element – scent. In this, his first book, Stephen writes about the use of colour and scent in the garden; cottage gardens; and the importance of foliage, then spends the remainder of the book describing the progress of the seasons, with delightful chapter titles like ‘the promise of a warming air’ (Spring) or ‘the brittle violin of frost’ (Winter). While only a small paperback , it makes up for its limited number of colour-plates with its prose and word pictures- a delightful read and worthy of all the acclaim it received.

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2.Scent

Scent in Your Garden by Stephen Lacey. One of my favourite books, as fragrance is an incredibly important facet of the garden for me and I love the luscious photographs by Andrew Lawson, who wrote the book on colour, previously described. Beginning with a chapter on the nature of scent, the book goes on to describe scented trees and shrubs; herbaceous borders and ground-covers; walled gardens and vertical plantings; rock and water gardens; rose gardens (my favourite!); herbs and conservatory and mild climate plants. While there are a large number of books now on scented plants, I still think this is one of the best!

bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-363Fragrant Herbal: Enhancing Your Life with Aromatic Herbs and Essential Oils by Lesley Bremness 1998 . Published by Crabtree and Evelyn, one of my favourite shops for toiletries, soaps and fragrances, this book is sumptuous, with stunning photography and over 75 recipes for delicious meals and herbal teas and fragrant home and bath products! It has extensive chapters on herbs and aromatherapy; plans for 12 fragrant herb gardens and an illustrated ‘A to Z’ index of over more than 120 herbs, with details of their aromatic properties, use and cultivation. If ever you need a pick-me-up, this beautiful coffee-table book is essential reading!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-374Creating a Garden for the Senses by Jenny Hendy 2009 While sight and smell (and to a certain extent, taste) are so dominant and amply catered for in garden design, the other senses of sound and touch are also very important and this small book has many wonderful ideas for creating a garden for all the senses. Again, beautiful photos, which were the initial reason for buying this book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-378

  1. Seasonal Interest

Plants For All Seasons by Andrew Lawson 1992, another lovely small book by Andrew Lawson, it features 250 plants for year-round display, a very important concept, especially in smaller gardens with limited space. Each plants described has been chosen for its versatility, its double value in the garden, through repeated blooming of flowers; long-lasting seedheads or Autumn berries, its colourful foliage and even the colour of its bark. For example, my Golden Hornet Crabapple, which is featured in the book, has beautiful white Spring blossom, golden fruits in Summer, which last well into Winter and colourful Autumn foliage. The glossy photographs are certainly very seductive!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-348

Plants For All Seasons by Ursula Buchan 1999 has an identical title and also details 85 plants with multi-season interest. She starts with a big section on foliage and texture; bark and stems; flowers and seedheads and growth habits; then focuses on each plant group with a full page devoted to each plant and again, lovely photos.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-353

This book was reprinted in paperback form in 2004 under a slightly different title: Planting For All Seasons: Beautiful and Versatile Plants That Change Through The Year , but it is otherwise identical to the 1999 book.

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2C. Garden Type

While there are numerous books on all the different garden styles from formal gardens to cottage gardens, seaside gardens, romantic gardens etc, I have only focused on a few favourites, which were very pertinent to us at the time, as we are very keen on the environment and have lived most of our years in the country, as well as raising a family. Next month, I will be discussing a few more specific garden styles as well.

  1. Natural Gardens

The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne 2004, the winner of the Garden Writers’ Guild Book of the Year Award in 2005, is another excellent read, which follows the garden through the seasonal cycle, with interesting snippets along the way about natural predators and insects like ladybirds and spiders; bumblebees and honeybees; butterflies and moths; ground beetles and vine weevils, hoverflies and lacewings; slugs; frogs and newts; and birds and hedgehogs. There are informative chapters on Winter foliage and fragrance; early Spring blooms; bulb lawns; water gardens;  transition periods between seasons; vegetable gardens; Summer flowers, Autumn blooms and fruit; and seedhead, stem and bark interest for Winter. Even though this book is written from a British perspective, its organic  and environmentally-friendly principles can still be applied to other countries, including Australia on the other side of the world!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-366

Natural Garden Style : Gardening Inspired by Nature by Noël Kingsbury 2009 is another British book with a stunning jacket and illustrations, based on linocuts by Angie Lewin, reason enough to buy this beautiful book or at least that’s my excuse!! Its thick wood-free paper, gorgeous photos and lovely coffee-table presentation is also the reason why books will always survive despite the digital age! In the introduction, Noël discusses the importance of organic gardening methods; sustainability and biodiversity; the concept of ‘right plant, right place’; learning from nature; gardening for wildlife and contemporary natural-style planting. He elaborates on these ideas in his chapters on meadows; prairies and borders; trees and woodlands; and the wider landscape, as well as discussing sculpture and ornament; sun and stone; land and water forms; and plant selection and maintenance. He finishes with a directory of natural-style gardens to visit in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-365

Noël has also written another lovely book titled The New Perennial Garden 1996, in which he discusses the relationship between gardening and nature and the new garden styles, which encourage and support this ethos; plantings for specific conditions like full sun, shade, damp areas and dry areas; and a myriad of garden techniques from planting flowering meadows to seed collection and storage; propagation, maintenance and pest and weed control. The plant tables at the back are particularly useful, listing plants for shade (shade, light shade and moist shade); meadows, rough grass, prairies, steppes and heathlands; moist ground, waterside, and dry environments; and finally short-lived perennials, biennials and annuals, all with great photos and details on height, growth habit, foliage, flower, season, situation, zone and extra remarks.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0298

  1. Country Gardens

The Country Garden: How to Create the Natural Look in Your Garden by John Brookes 1987, one of my gardening bibles in my early gardening days! John Brookes is another very prominent garden designer in Britain. His acclaimed garden, ‘Denmans’ can be visited in West Sussex (along with 20,000 other visitors a year!). See : http://www.denmans-garden.co.uk/ for details. Stephen Lacey has written an article about this doyen of British garden designers at : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenprojects/11619164/John-Brookes-It-is-the-effect-that-plants-make-that-interests-me-more-than-their-individuality.html.

John Brookes was one of the pioneers of natural-style gardening back in the 1980s and in this book, he describes the new informal relaxed approach to gardening; natural gardening and planting; integrating house and garden and the concept of the borrowed landscape (though neither of these are new concepts, being fundamental tenets of the Arts and Crafts style gardens at the turn of last century, though neglected over the intervening years!) ; axes, vistas and glimpsed views; drift and flow effects; entrances and exits; walls, hedges and fences; surfaces and levels; paths and paving; garden structures; distressing techniques to age appearance; sculptures and ornaments; and the importance of a garden plan and how to draw it.  He examines the garden in each season with beautiful labelled photos (like herbarium pages) on a double page spread, featuring plants of seasonal interest eg Winter flowers; Winter stems and Winter Vegetables. Along the way, he describes different types of natural gardens: gravel gardens; woodlands; neglected corners; rugged clifftop gardens by the sea; cottage gardens; enchanted gardens; water gardens; shade gardens; working gardens, herb gardens- so many different types! At the back, he includes case histories and garden plans; natural garden planting lists, with the plants divided into their use (eg food for butterflies/ rabbit resistance/ decorative seed-heads etc) and specific environments (eg different soil types; moist shaded areas; extreme alkalinity etc). While this book can be read from start to finish, its format and presentation encourages a dip-in approach! It’s a very inspirational book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-372

 The Country Garden by Trisha Dixon 1992 My Christmas present in 1993! An equally lovely book about country gardens, this publication has a more traditional approach and a different form of organization. It has a logical ordered approach, starting from planning the garden and understanding the site; setting the style with respect to entrances and driveways, garden buildings, water features, and cottage style and wild gardens; the concepts of symmetry and perspective, including patterns and vistas, garden walks and avenues and hedging; colour; walls and fences and finally produce, an essential element of the country garden! This was a particularly useful book for us, because it is written from an Australian perspective! Stunning photography once again!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-373

  1. Family Gardens

Family Gardens by Bunny Guinness 1996. The perfect book for us at the time, given that we were developing our country gardens, while raising 3 young children, as well as the fact that today’s children are tomorrow’s gardeners! This lovely book positively propels kids out into the garden with its chapters on design and planning for all sizes of garden; playhouses and treehouses; garden games and outdoor living; water gardens; and gardens for pets and wildlife, and finally planting schemes of suitable plants, not to mention a cautionary poisonous plants list! There are wonderful photos of (and occasionally instructions for) Wendy houses and magical tree houses with slides; crocodile willow houses; swings and climbing pergolas; allocated areas for garden games; sandpits and paddling pools; outdoor eating areas, barbecues and terraces; vegetable patches for childhood foraging; unusual garden furniture and garden buildings; ponds and wetlands; wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows; chicken runs and rabbit hutches; adventure mazes and even topiary peacocks! I loved this book for its imagination and creativity and sheer sense of FUN!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-367

2D. Books by Garden Designers

Rosemary Verey (1918-2001)

Rosemary Verey’s Making of a Garden 1995

Rosemary Verey was an internationally renowned plantswoman and garden designer with a very famous garden Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-364

This is a beautiful book about the development of her garden over 35 years and encompassing all her gardening principles and practical techniques. I adored the watercolour designs of each garden area, like that of her potager below.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-375

Penelope Hobhouse (1929-)

Another very British influential gardener, writer and garden designer. I own three of her books: Colour in Your Garden: A Practical Sourcebook 1985; Garden Style 1989 and Penelope Hobhouse On Gardening 1994.

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The first book could have fitted equally well into the category on Design Elements, earlier in this post, but I thought I’d keep all her books together- mind you all of them would also fit into a future post on dreamy inspirational gardens (along with Rosemary Verey and Edna Walling as well!!).

In this book, she starts by discussing design for colour and the nature of colour, before focusing intensively on each individual colour, with seasonal planting suggestions, wonderful photographs and keyline drawings of planting plans. She also has a large section on the foliage framework, both green and Autumn colours, as well as bark colour. She finishes with some information on  the science behind plant colour and notes on climate and growing conditions.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-369

In her book, Garden Style, she discusses a large number of gardens, which have inspired and educated her, including her own Tintinhull and Margery Fish’s cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, both in Somerset;  Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire;and Villa Noailles in South-Eastern France. She discusses the importance of framework in a garden; archways and pergolas; paths and steps; hedges and avenues and water features, using Jenkyn Place, Hampshire and Christopher Lloyd’s garden, Great Dixter, East Sussex, as examples. She discusses pattern in some depth, both in decorative plantings and hard and soft landscapes, including mazes, topiary, water patterns, kitchen gardens, parterres and knot gardens. East Lambrook Manor features again in her chapter on more natural style gardens, along with the Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire. The flower garden and colour border, as well as Gertrude Jekyll’s influence, feature in her discussions of Monet’s Giverny; Hestercombe and her own garden, Tintinhull, both in Somerset. The final chapter describes the concepts of garden rooms, inner gardens and informal garden areas.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-368

In the last book, Penelope reveals all her gardening secrets and ideas, using her own garden, Tintinhull, to illustrate her theories. She describes each garden area, supported by stunning photographs, as well as discussing feature plants like hellebores and euphorbias; anemones and self-seeders; silver foliage plants; flowering salvias and roses; and cyclamen and alliums. Like Rosemary Verey’s book, there are beautiful watercolour plans of all her plantings. She also discusses seed collection and sowing and propagation by cuttings in her final  chapter titled ‘Behind the Scenes’. A truly beautiful and inspiring book!!!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-371

Edna Walling (1896-1973)

No Australian garden library would be complete without a book by our own celebrated garden writer, designer and environmentalist Edna Walling and I actually have four books:

Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947

The Edna Walling Book of Australian Garden Design 1980, edited by Margaret Barrett

A Gardener’s Log 1985

The Garden Magic of Edna Walling 1988

Here is the back cover of the second book, in which Edna expresses her garden philosophy.

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Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947 is an original copy, which we inherited from my husband’s mother. It is one of my favourites! Edna loved old English cottages, particular their scale, charm and use of local materials, and she created her own village in Bickleighvale at Mooroolbark, Victoria, now alas swallowed up by Melbourne suburbia, but nevertheless, with the cottages still intact, though the now-mature gardens are very shady and probably need rejuvenation! I love the old sepia photographs of both interiors and exteriors in this book, which really add to the sense of history and simplicity of her delightful dwellings. She includes plans, specifications and detailed drawings of her cottages and detailed notes about doorways and windows; stonework and timber; chimneys and paved floors and homemade garden pots.

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The Edna Walling Book of Garden Design, (a blend of extracts from Edna’s first three books: Cottage and Garden 1947, already discussed;  Gardens in Australia 1943; and A Gardener’s Log 1948) focuses more on the garden, with chapters titled: On Garden-Making; Trees and Shrubs; Perennials and Ground Covers; the Natural Rock Garden; Paths, Paving and Pergolas; Walls, Steps and Stairways; Cottages and Country Gardens; and Natural Swimming Pools. Edna had her own signature plants and vocabulary, which she employed time and time again in the gardens, which she designed and then planted for her cottages.eg: Birches, Crabapples, Hawthorns, Medlars and  Claret Ash; Kolwitzias, Daphne, Amelanchiers, Spireae, Kalmias and Chimonanthus; Campanulas, Verbascums, Achilleas, Lavender, Erigeron, Ajuga, Chamomile and Thyme. She also had a great love of the Australian bush and included many native flora in her repertoire, including Leptospermums, Lilly-Pilly (Acmena smithii), Grevilleas, Eriostemons, Baeckeas, Ericas and Prostantheras.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-359

A Gardener’s Log 1985 is a reprint of Edna’s original 1948 book, edited by Margaret Barrett. It is presented in the form of a diary or garden notebook, with little gems of wisdom and practical advice appropriate to each season.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-358

The final book, The Garden Magic of Edna Walling, once more edited by Margaret Barrett, contains over 100 black-and-white photos taken by Edna during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as colour photographs of the gardens, taken by John Hay 50 years later. Neil Robertson writes an introduction about Edna’s life and career and while much of the book is written about Edna, it does include extracts from her writings about stonework; natural gardening; Australian native plants; architecture in the garden; the use of water in the garden; gardens for children; more  greenery than colour; climbing roses; places of repose and the art of leaving well alone! bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-356

A good place to finish, I think !!! Next week, I will be returning to our garden for a post on the 2017 Summer Garden!