Friday, 30 October 2015

The Spoonflower Handbook, by Stephen Fraser. Review.

A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper & Gift Wrap

By Stephen Fraser, with Judi Ketteler & Becka Rahn

Stewart Tabori & Chang 2015

Paperback £16.99 UK/ $27.99 US/ $33.50 CAN

Star rating: *****

“This book is about the joy of making something mingled with the challenge of learning new things.”

-     Stephen Fraser

Spoonflower is the online service that has brought pattern to the people since 2007. If you have a computer, an internet connection, and appropriate software then Spoonflower can digitally print your original designs on to fabric, wallpaper, or gift wrap.  Everyone’s a maker, anywhere in the world, 24/7. 

Makers do need a little know-how and encouragement before taking the DIY printable plunge. This enthusiastic and empowering book, by the website’s  founder, Stephen Fraser, and key Spoonflower contributors is both a Spoonflower-specific user manual and a project book. The 30 projects build your design skills while simultaneously showcasing the creative possibilities of Spoonflower-printed makes. 

The book covers info about Spoonflower’s choice of printable surfaces and their project suitability, as well as giving pointers on how to get the utmost from the Spoonflower website. For example, in addition to supplying aids to colour selection,  and pattern creation, the Spoonflower website is also a vibrant online community whose members share their creations and participate in weekly competitions.

Need -to -know basics covered include essential info about colour specification and how to scan an image so that it is reproduced to the correct size. There’s essential  knowledge about working with photo-editing and vector design software. You will learn how to create repeats by both methods, and also to craft engineered non-repeating surface designs.

The selection of projects highlights a myriad of design possibilities – surely some will appeal to your particular method of working. Drawing skills are not required   photographic  images or collaged and scanned shapes can be used to create pattern. One fabulous less-is-more project is the Recipe Tea Towel from Emma Jeffery. Scanned-in, bigged up, and printed on fabric, it makes the perfect kitchen wall decoration.  Another timely, genius idea is the colouring wallpapers – channelling the ubiquitous colouring trend and giving kids a sanctioned opportunity to draw on the walls J!  Designer Ellen Giggenback has designed a baby quilt from a scanned  paper collage – a very appealing technique.  Another idea for the drawing-averse is the use of copyright-free clip art.

The can-do attitude of this book is irresistible. I for one will be putting “design a Spoonflower print” on my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

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