Friday, 7 December 2018

The Art of the Fold, by Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol. Review.

How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures
By Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol
Laurence King Publishing
Hardback, £24.99
ISBN 9781786272935

Star rating: *****

This spellbinding papercraft book is a labour of love by renowned book artist Hedi Kyle. In The Art of the Fold, the magician reveals a careers-worth of secrets – all her very best innovative paper-folding moves.  Although this book deals with bookcraft – a very specialized field – the author’s folding tricks can be applied to general papercrafting – including cardmaking and box-making. The designs all possess wow-factor architectural beauty – and yet are achievable via clear step-by-step illustrations and accompanying instructional text. The co-author, incidentally, is the author's daughter - so this book is very much a family affair.

The book is divided into five sections: The Accordion (yay! Pleats), Blizzards (these are books that have pocket- or boxlike enclosures), One-Sheet Books (Booklet Fold Star Pop-up – a gift for cardmakers), Albums, and Enclosures.

Many of the designs incorporate the surprise factor – such as flag books, “which may be described as a portable, expandable file that can display an array of materials in an animated way.” Clock the Wheel of Fortune – a starlike marvel.  In the Enclosures section, you will find the Sling Fold – a book that’s a bendy card, and also the Telescoping Ziggurat, similar in effect to a quilled shape. All in all, it is origami meets pattern-making in an irresistible mix.

This book would make a delightful gift for a papercrafter. It would be great to dip into on a wintry evening or crafty weekend. Lots of ideas to mine for cards and keepsakes.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this book.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Cutting Machine Crafts, by Lia Griffith. Review.

Cutting Machine Crafts
Cricut®,  Sizzix®, or Silhouette®
Projects to Make with 60 SVG Files
By Lia Griffith
Clarkson Potter 2018
Paperback £14.99 UK/$16.99 US/ $22.99

ISBN 978-1-9848-2235-2

Star rating: ****

Books on digital crafts are few and far between, so this new title by Lia Griffith is cause for celebration. It includes 50 projects for home-makes, party decorations, and giftables. Not all the projects are papercrafts – many are for vinyl  – but there’s plenty to keep papercrafters very happy. Lia Griffith is a prolific name designer with a team that helps to make the magic happen.

If you have an electronic cutting machine, you know that SVG design files (scalable vector graphics) provide the instructions for your machine to cut out the design outlines. SVG files can be accepted by many brands of cutting machine, which makes this book possible. The SVG files are accessed by going to a link on Lia Griffith’s design studio website, where the design downloads can be accessed by a code. The physical book is a “look book” which displays the designs (lovely photography) and also provides step-by-step how-tos for project assembly.

The projects are exquisite – they are stylish, modern, and totally professional-looking in appearance. My one big gripe about the book is that instructions for accessing the design files should appear prominently – and repeatedly – throughout the book. How-to access the templates is mentioned inconspicuously in the upfront matter of the book. Detective work should not be required!

Projects are divided into three categories: For the Home, For the Kids, and For Celebrations. Papercraft projects include Tropical Leaves (fabulous cheese plants and ferns), Southwest Cacti  (fun 3D plants), Mushroom Meadow layered picture, Boxwood Greenery (fun topiary plants on a Styrofoam base), Meadow Cloche (lovely bell  jar-enclosed scene),  Fall Leaves (a wreath project), and Paper Lanterns.  Lia Griffith is particularly strong on paper flowers – elegant shapes, 3D effects, but not too fussy. Papercrafts for the kids include paper boats, and bunny goodie boxes. A fun party idea is an “Ice Cream Stand”:  themed projects which include a bunting and ice-cream cone holders.

Cutting machines have revolutionized papercrafting. Let’s hope that there are more titles like this one in the pipeline.

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Paper Crafts, A Maker's Guide. Review.

Paper Crafts
A Maker’s Guide
Foreword by Rob Ryan
Thames & Hudson in association with the V & A, 2018
Paperback £14.95

ISBN 9780500294185

Star rating: ****

This delightful (and highly giftable) book has a winning concept – dip into the wondrous archives of the V & A museum to find inspiration for 15 paper craft projects which survey the varied possibilities of working with the versatile material. Highly illustrated and with an intro by paper cutter extraordinaire Rob Ryan, the mix is irresistible!

The book is divided into four sections – Folding, Cutting, Sticking, and Forming, with useful “upfront” info, capsule bios of the gifted project contributors, and an index.

I have given the book four – instead of five – stars because the projects vary a little in “I want to make that” quality – but the winners far outnumber the middlings. Projects include fun “Moneygami” Outfits (an origami wardrobe folded from notes); a Pleated Origami Vase Cover, which provides a crash course in the popular technique of paper pleating; Wycinanki-Inspired Cards (a colourful intro to Polish paper-cutting techniques); and a Framed Quilled Motif (a quilled mandala – with templates provided for three different styles). The how-tos are provided on-page, with most templates full-size.

All of the featured paper craft techniques are put into historical perspective, fascinating text illustrated with exquisite examples from the V & A archives. The book makes for a fascinating journey through the long history of paper crafts – with added makes.

In short: a project book  plus.

Paper Crafts is the newest addition to a series of mould-breaking books from the V & A/Thames and Hudson. Previous titles are Patchwork & Quilting, and Embroidery.

Note: I was given a review copy of this title.