Thursday 3 July 2014

Craft Books I Love: Material World by Perri Lewis

Material World by Perri Lewis

When it comes to crafting, I consider myself a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. I know a lot of people have one true craft that they will always go back to, which is great, but just isn't for me. I like the challenge of learning new things, and love how each craft is unique and offers different possibilities. So for me, Material World by Perri Lewis is a joy to behold. I have been eyeing this book up in Waterstones for the past few months, so when my local library finally stocked a copy, I had the chance to read it in the comfort of my own home. Although, in all seriousness, if I spend any more time in a Waterstones cafe, it might well become my second home.

Material World (The Modern Craft Bible) is an introduction to a wide range of crafts, some of them more mainstream, others a bit more obscure. The categories covered are: appliqué, cross stitching, decoupage, embellishing, embroidering, encrusting, jewellery making, leather work, macramé, millinery, paper cutting, patchwork, printing, quilling, and tailoring. Very extensive, non? And let's abandon any images of twee aprons or tissue box covers. This is modern crafting.

Each section of the book includes a round up of the main materials needed, simple tutorials for the basic techniques, one main project for each craft, as well as some further ideas for projects. It's written in a very friendly tone, and all instructions are very clear, so even complete beginners won't be puzzled or put off. For each category, there are also interviews and contributions from some of the leading crafters in each field. Seriously, the list of contributors is ludicrously high profile - Philip Treacy shares his millinery tips, Tatty Devine talk all things jewellery, The Cambridge Satchel Company reveal the process behind their satchels, and Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin discuss the line between craft and art.

The great thing about this book, is that if you are completely unsure about which craft you would like to take up, it gives you the low down on each craft, so that you can quickly tell if you would enjoy it or not. Whilst one craft might not be the one for you, the range in Material World is so diverse, that there is bound to be one to suit you. Although, the projects included are so gorgeous, that you'll want to try and make all of them. My particular favourites are the leather notebook cover, the printed scarf and the bow fascinator.

I also love the craft related articles/interviews scattered throughout the book, each one dealing with an issue in modern craft. From the feel good factor craft can deliver, to whether craft is a step forwards (or back) or feminism, I really enjoyed reading these. They give the book a thoroughly modern edge, and offer insight into the past, present and future of crafting.

Perhaps my only gripe with Material World, is that there could be more photographs of the lovely, lovely projects. There is only one photograph of the main project for each section, and none for the smaller projects. As I feel this book is geared towards crafting beginners, I think more pictures and photographs would only be a good thing. That being said though, I would happily recommend this to any complete beginner, especially those who are not sure which craft they are looking to take up.

Unexpected Side Effect: Finding myself humming Madonna's Material Girl whenever I look at the cover of Material World. Every. Single. Time. Which can get pretty annoying when you only know the words to two lines of the chorus.

Material Girl by Madonna on Grooveshark

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