Friday, 18 August 2017

Matisse in the Studio

Matisse in the Studio is the follow-up exhibition to Matisse and his Textiles - it was worth the 12 year wait. Yay. It is on at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, until November. These exhibitions are ususally globe-trotters, so who knows where you can catch it next.

Matisse loved his objects, and they informed his work. Here, you can see them side-by-side. Some, like a favourite chocolate pot, surface again and again, over decades. A Venetian shell-like chair, African masks - it is an intriguing reveal to see the actual object and how Matisse interpreted it in his work.

Of course, in his later years, Matisse did his paper cut-outs. It is fascinating to see the system he used to plan them. A string horizon line, then shuffle the pinned painted paper shapes, until the perfect arrangement was achieved. 

Can't complain about "exit through the gift shop", either - good choice of cards and fridge magnets. (Often you go to an exhibition, and the postcard you were hoping for is absent.)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Paper Parties, by Erin Hung. Review.

Over 50 paper projects for the perfect party

By Erin Hung

Pavilion Books, May 2017

Hardback, £16.99

ISBN 978 1911216254

Star rating: ***1/2

This very appealing papercraft party book, by designer/entrepreneur Erin Hung, is filled with simple, inventive makes. Most of the projects are smile-inducing ideas that are not difficult to execute, ideal for the fledgling paper crafter or the time-challenged party-giver. (The projects are given difficulty star ratings, but there are none that require consummate skill or even much previous papercrafting experience.)  There is plenty of variety – pleated paper, paper flowers, fringed projects, modular origami, and a few template-dependent creations.

The format of the book is LookBook upfront, step-by-step how-tos in back. There’s a reduced-size template section, too. This format is user-friendly – perfect for having a browse over a cup of tea. The how-tos are clear and conversational, with friendly project intros. 

In the first spread, there are ginormous sweet wraps  - bigging up or miniaturizing often works a treat when it comes to papercrafting party makes! The Ice Cream Cone Messages, with fluffy scoop of tissue paper ice cream on top would be ideal for a kids’ party, as would the oh-so-simple Ice Lolly Party Invitations. There are sweet and simple ideas like the You’re a Star Card – a shooting star depicted with fringed tissue paper (good timing with current Perseid star showers). Some of the ideas are ideal kids’ crafts – like the Cupcake Anemones (fashioned  from pleated cupcake cases), and the Astronaut Messages (spaceships with a message payload). The projects show an appreciation of colour and texture, and yes, plenty of glitz. A good mix of papers are utilized : tissue, giftwrap, crepe paper, print, plain, metallic.

There was an instance where I hoping a photo prop would be an project. The cake stands for the mini-doughnuts  (Doughnuts about You project), made up in card,  would have been a super template-based papercraft. 

There’s an excellent Floral Basics tutorial, to get you up to speed on paper flower-making. This is accompanied by several fun follow-up projects: A Floral Letter (new take on the jumbo initial trend), Flower Power Party Poppers (supercute fun floral  fancy dress for regulation-issue bottle-shaped poppers), Frida Kahlo Flower Crown,  Floral Bomb Pinata, and Giant Flower Decor.

The hardcover format of this title makes it a very giftable.
Note: I was given a review copy of this title.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Art of Folding, Vol. 2, by Trebbi, Genevaux, & Bounovre. Review.

Design without Boundaries
New trends, techniques and materials
By Jean-Charles Trebbi, Chloé Genevaux, Guillaume Bounovre
Promopress, April 2017
Hardcover, £27.99

Star rating: *****

Welcome to the folds! This title, written by and for design pros, has awesome design clout and appeal for all. It is a (folded) box of delights. Folding innovation is very cutting-edge in the design industry :) – only recently there was a NASA callout for clever ways to fold a satellite! The power of origami has been given its due and is a massive current design influence. The scope of this wonderful, highly–illustrated book is pan-craft and global. It is a follow-up to a previous volume (The Art of Folding, Vol. 1), but stands alone on the strength of its content. 

The Chapters are Art, Decor and Scenery, Fashion, Furniture and Lighting, Architecture, and Innovation. Each section showcases the work of innovative designers, who discuss their influences and impart know-how. At the back of the book, there are several models for you to fold, including an origami-folded letter and a snail-like self-closing box.

There is something for every folding fan :D - do you like the lighting in Scandi noir thrillers?, Fortuny –style fabric pleats, sculptural origami, clever flat-pack furniture, trendy pleated-paper Christmas ornaments? Angular pleats or graceful curves? It is all here. And there are genius innovations – like the Christope Guberan’s Hydro-Fold Wet Folding machine, a printer-like machine that moistens folds to enable easy pleating.

 If you are fascinated by folding, this wow-factor title is for you. 

Note: I was provided with a .pdf file of this title.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Hand-Stitched Surface, by Lynn Krawczyk. Review.

Slow Stitching and Mixed-Media Techniques for Fabric and Paper

By Lynn Krawczyk

Creative Publishing International 2017

Paperback  £16.99 UK/ $24.99 US / $32.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1-58923-942-5

Star rating: ****

Lynn Krawczyk is a mixed media artist whose embroidered boho creations radiate folk art warmth. The particular good news for us is that she has honed her techniques for embroidering on paper – and is sharing her secrets with us, in this delightful new book (which covers both paper and fabric embroidery).

The “Up Front” section of this book is top notch. There’s an invaluable chapter on “Tools and Tips for Stitching on Paper”, where you will be introduced to the screw punch (a handmade-book-maker’s hand tool for drilling holes in card), awl, and hand-held hole punch (probably already your bestie, if you are a papercrafter). There’s a capsule stitch directory and a plethora of tips. You will learn how to transfer the design on to the surface to be embroidered (be it paper or fabric).

The author’s style has a spontaneous, ad hoc appearance, but of course, if you are stitching on paper the stitching holes must first be pierced – so every design is actually carefully considered.  

The projects are grouped into fabric projects and paper projects.The paper embroidery projects are Stitched Botanical Note Card, Stamped and Stitched Book Ribbon, Embellished Photos, Paper Succulent Garden, Mended-Paper Painting, Origami  Candy Catcher, and Moon Phase Calendar. These projects incorporate techniques that, as a paper crafter, you already love – such as making home made rubber stamps and collage. The Mended Paper Painting elevates sock darning technique to new heights (get weaving!). 

If you have never embroidered before, have no fear. The projects are user-friendly   never over-whelmingly complicated. They are about an appreciation of materials and technique. Clock the beauty of a frayed edge,  the juxtaposition of colours (the author is a a fab colourist).

The fabric projects include Stitched Buttons (yay!), Boho Collage Coasters (mandala-look!), and a Doodle Love Lap Quilt.

Same-size pattern templates are provided back-of-book, but the strength of this book is providing  foundation skills for your own creative adventures.

This book jumps on the slow-crafting/meditative bandwagon, which I am always a little skeptical about because any absorbing craft releases those beneficial alpha waves, so why state the obvious ?... but  hey, mellow OK. :D

The book emphasizes the portability of hand-stitched projects. So if you are going on a peaceful, bucolic holiday sometime soon – that could be the ideal time to get stitching. Or, just set aside your own craft oasis during the wonderfully slow days of August.

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

Monday, 7 August 2017

Lidded Bucket Storage Bunting

I adore storage buntings - they magic storage space from unused wall space in a pleasingly decorative manner! :) The storage bunting features lidded buckets. The buckets are flat-backed, so they sit flush against the wall. The loafer-type tassel weights the lid down.

Here are your freebie design files:


To Make Up

1 Print the design on to photocopier card, 160gsm.

2 Score the folds with an embossing tool held against a metal ruler. Crease the folds, setting with a bone folder. Note: the hanging loop folds are a soft fold, not to be creased.

3 Cut out.

4 Glue the reinforcement under the lid.

5 Fold the hanging loop band down and glue it onto the wrong side of the printed bucket, matching bottom edges (PVA tacky glue).

6 Prime the bucket front, curving the paper. Glue the flap on to the bucket side back. Fold up the base and glue the tabs inside. Place the base on a table top as you glue the tabs.

7 Tassel: fold the top tab in half and glue it. Fold the tab in half again, shaping a hanging loop. Glue the coloured margin at the base. Wind the fringe tightly around the loop, gluing the end of the spiral. Tassel is now complete.

8 Glue the bucket lid band in place, at base of hanging loops. Tie a tassel on to each bucket lid, with baker's twine.

9 String the buckets on to a piece of ribbon, alternating colours.

Have fun making this papercraft storage idea.



Friday, 4 August 2017

"Flip-It" Calendar Bunting 2018 on Craftsy

Just posted this calendar bunting, for sale $2 US, in the Craftsy Paper Craft Pattern Section. I'm selling .pdf files, but if you want .svg cutting files, just get in touch after purchase. :) Makes a great stocking filler.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Snowflakes '17

Whew! - Just made it for Christmas in July! :) The weather's meh - so perhaps you are crafting. I have a mix of paper-y snowflake options for you - you can make cut-out snowflakes, or snowflakes with a printed design. You can also choose between solo snowflakes (hole at top) or cascade style (stringing holes at top and bottom).

So, there you have it - this year's snowflakes, digi- or hand-cut. Make them your way.

Happy crafting. :)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Flip-Wing Butterfly Embellishment

Here's a fun print-and-cut embellishment that's ideal for double-sided paper. It's a digi-craft project because the cutting is fine - let a machine do the job!  Just cut out the butterfly, then flip the wings down. A nice touch for a giftwrap treatment.

Here's your free butterfly design:
I scanned the butterflies in, so they are flattened in the pic - but when you make your own, you can 3-D them up as desired. Also - the wings can be innsies or outsies - as desired. 

The paper I used is from the Creative Duo Paper Pack from Craft Creations.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Wall Pocket

Here's a cute little print-and-cut project that will provide a cheery bit of extra storage space. The back's flat - hang it on the wall from a picture hook, or loop it around a doorknob.

Here's your free wall pocket:

To make up, print on to photocopier card, cut out. Score and crease the folds. Glue the liner inside the pocket. Glue the side seam and base. Glue on the reinforcements. Add a hanging loop if required.

You can also glue two pockets back-to-back, for some desktop storage:
Print a paper pocket! :)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cut & Create Paper Mosaics. Review.

Craft Mosaic-by-Number Artworks with Paper Tiles, Scissors, and  Glue

By Chiharu Rosenberg

Race Point Publishing, an imprint of the Quarto Group 2017

Paperback kit, £12.99 UK/$19.99 US/$25.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1-63106-284-1

Star rating: ****

This is an appealing and thoughtfully-designed new spin on the colouring book trend. It is much more hands-on – and has more of an immediate appeal for papercrafters.  It puts me in mind of the Colorforms toys  I so loved as a child. What you get is the components required  to assemble nine lush, nature-themed paper mosaics, designed by Chiharu Rosenberg, a mosaic artist born in Japan and a graduate of the Nihon University of Art. There are 9 pre-printed project templates on thick card, 35 sheets of solid-coloured and patterned paper, plus a detailed how-to book.

The project cards have a few key design elements printed full-colour, plus numbered outlines for the mosaic tiles. The accompanying paper sheets have custom-designed solid and plain designs with numbered mosaic tile shape outlines printed on the flip side. You cut out the tiles and glue-stick them onto the project card. The assembly process is meant to be methodical and calming. Complexity level is labelled – beginner, intermediate, advanced. All you need to supply are scissors (or craft knife), a glue stick, tweezers, envelopes for sorting the pieces – and some design time (ideally accompanied by restful music).

The upfront info – how to go about the process – is accessible and well thought out. The intro chat for each project is friendly and conversational.

The projects are Frog in Summer Rain, White Lilies, Flying Home (lovely birds-eye-view landscape),  Night Jungle (with hummingbird amidst foliage), Mermaid, Fox in the Forest (Klimt-like patterning), Little Egret, and Cherry Blossoms.

Cut & Create Paper Mosaics would make a super summer hol activity for an older child (just don’t undertake the projects in a breeze or fan-cooled room! :D). This is a fun idea which I have not seen elsewhere. It would be great to see further themed titles in a series.

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