Monday, 26 October 2015

Wall Art, by Clare Youngs. Review.

35 Fresh and Striking Projects to Decorate your Walls

By Clare Youngs

Cico Books 2015

Paperback £12.95

ISBN 978 1 782492474

Star rating: ****

To a crafter, a bare wall is a blank canvas. Prolific author and craft all-rounder Clare Youngs is here to take up the challenge. Her new title is a fun collection of mixed-media home dec ... Wall Art. (Yes, papercrafts are featured.) Clare Youngs is not averse to a bit of D-I-Y lite – cue hammer and nails. In fact, this imaginative low-cost collection of projects put me in mind of vintage TV show Changing Rooms (in a good way).

The subject of the book being wall art, super-sized pics feature large. Front-of-book, there are how-tos for enlarging templates from small sketch to ginormous.

The Threads and Stitches section contains many appealing projects. There are patchwork pics probably inspired by Albers squares and an Aztec-style wall hanging (stencilled onto a textured jute rug). I wasn’t so sold on the Wonderful Weavings (cue pompom trim)- they do remind me of a Brownies project (sorry – there is enough truly wonderful stuff in the book to make up for them).  Example: the Retro Chair Embroidery.  Pic of chair, chair outline stitched in black, with a colourful bullion stitch (highly-textured loopy knot) cushion. Thumbs up to the Cute Kitty appliqué – patches zigzagged in place with a sewing machine.

The co-oridinating group of stencilled and stamped Cactus Pot Print is charming. 

The papercraft section is called Cuts and Folds. “Star project” is the papercut shadow box, illuminated with LED fairy lights. This layered papercut night scene is notihing short of spectacular and is very do-able. 

There’s lots of good stuff in the Big and Bold section. The Floral Dress is a jumbo paint + collage piece. Very effective, and cost – next to nothing. I saw something vaguely similar at an art exhibition with an astronomical price tag. In the Shapes and Colors section, the Magnetic Puzzle Board is a genius idea. Concept: bigged-up Tangram shapes on a magnetic paint ground. (Tangrams are geometric shapes which can be rearranged to make images.)

On my blog, I have been championing the popular Scandi-craft of Himmeli, and Clare Youngs has cottoned on to its attraction, too. Here you will find a drinking straw himmeli wreath and a washi-tape Leaping Hare (the cover pic), which is a Himmeli-inspired design.

The Living Wall is a winning idea – a mini-sized vertical garden- on trend. The plants protrude through a mesh grid. The Silver Spot Bike – a bike silhouette in adhesive dots would work a treat in an entry hall.

The illustrated step-by-steps are very clear and to the point. There are reduced-size templates back-of-book.

The projects in the book are budget-friendly and most don’t make huge demands on your time - so this title would make a fun gift for students or those moving into first homes.