Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Crafter's Guide to Patterns, by Jessica Swift. Review.

The Crafter’s Guide to Patterns
Create your own hand-printed designs
By Jessica Swift
Search Press  2015
Paperback £12.99
ISBN 978 1 78221 219-5

Star rating: *****

This crafter-focussed book is a superb intro to the magical world of surface pattern design. Creating decorative prints is a burgeoning area for the hobbyist and pro alike, due to technological advances – the internet for sourcing design inspiration, computers for a technical assist, and the possibility of affordable small-quantity print-runs from print bureaus. Jessica Swift’s book is an easy-access lightning guide for the uninitiated or technically timid. It teaches the fundamentals of pattern design, then spotlights crafty applications – such as stamping, screen printing, stencilling, and cyanotyping (a photographic printing process). There is a handy look-in on digitizing designs, but this is not the main emphasis of the book.

Jessica Swift aims to train the reader to see the world through the eyes of a pattern designer. In the book’s intro, she says -  of the important concept of the pattern tile -, “Once you learn and understand how patterns are constructed, I’m willing to bet you ‘ll try to deconstruct every pattern you see in the world from now on.” I can vouch for this!  Being a pattern repeat detective can provide puzzles to solve while queuing or in waiting rooms. 

The book is in lavish full-colour photography. A delightful feature is interviews with “name” designers from around the world, such as Heather Moore (Skinny LaMinx). Discover what makes them tick!
The book is divided into three sections – Planning Patterns (pattern design bootcamp), Using Patterns (various applications – with tips), and Resources (20 copyright-free motifs with QR codes, printing and image resources, useful websites, plus an index). There is surface- and technique - specific advice aplenty.

Think of Jessica Swift’s book as a portal to the wonderful world of pattern design. It is ideal for gifting.