Friday, 9 January 2015

Washi Wonderful, by Jenny Doh. Review.

Washi  Wonderful

Creative projects & ideas for paper tape

By Jenny Doh

Lark Books 2014

Paperback, £14.99

ISBN 978-1-4547-0811-7

Star rating: ***1/2

Today’s smile-inducing title, Washi Wonderful, is certain to brighten up the bleak January days. Washi tape is such a mainstay of the papercrafter’s stash that it is hard to believe that it has only been around since 2006, the brainstorm of a group of talented Japanese designers. (I learned that fact from the capsule washi tape history at the front of the book.)

There are other washi tape craft titles on the market, but Washi Wonderful is a superior offering. The author, Jenny Doh, is a craft book veteran and enabler. She knows how to put a book together, creating a creative environment for a talented team of contributors to run with an idea, and also providing the crafter with the bigger picture about the subject at hand.

Washi Wonderful  includes a short history of washi tape, a very useful section on washi tape technique, a section on creative storage solutions (do you know a papercrafter who doesn’t hoard washi tape?), plus projects in the following categories: Cards, Gift Wrap, Party Décor, and Washi Fun (a catch-all section including 3-D and make-your-own). 

The pages on the Vellum method of working with washi tape are very useful.  Vellum, being translucent  like washi tape, is the ideal carrier medium. With it, 3-D translucent projects can be created. And, vellum can also be used as an aid when cutting or punching washi tape. 

Washi tape is such an appealing craft material, it is just about impossible for a washi project to look boring – but it is possible for washi projects to look same-y if the a “stick a strip on it” trap is fallen into. The great thing about this book is that it pushes the envelope – or roll of washi tape – when it comes to presenting project ideas. Most of the projects introduce dimensionality in some way – whether by including a contrasting texture or manipulating the washi tape. 
Example: the Thank You Card by Avital, in which the washi tape is applied as handwritten script (there’s added stitchery, too).  

Other appealing projects include the Stick Dolls by Ishta Olivera Belart, the Pinwheel Gift Ensemble by Cynthia Shaffer, the opulent Flower-Topped Gifts by Anne Stills (fantasy lotus shapes with rings of concentric patterned petals). Another winner is the D-I-Y washi tape, stencilled in an ikat effect, by Anne Stills. Two inventive projects by author Jenny Doh:  Fringes and Tassels (handy as giftwrap finishing touches) and the Arrow Gift Topper – a fun 3-D project that might come in handy for Valentine’s Day. The Sweet Treats sweet wraps by Carolyn Garris are oh-so-simple, and very appealing. The Origami Star Necklace effectively makes wishing stars out of washi tape to great effect.

All the projects in the book are easy to make.  It would have been nice to see more projects with torn-edge washi, as this is an appealing quality of the tape – but that is a small niggle about an otherwise imaginative and well-thought out title.

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

Need a place to put your washi stash? Try my free printable Washi Tape Storage Box.