Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last little bit

The final three craft books I want to highlight are lumped together only because they didn't really go with anything else.
The Artist's Guide: how to make a living doing what you love by Jackie Battenfield. "Starving artist" is such a cliche, although there is a certain romantic aura to struggling and under-appreciated artists such as Van Gogh (until you get to the whole ear thing). But if you're an artist who likes the idea of being able to eat, keep a roof over your head, and afford an occasional vacation, try Battenfield's book. She explains grants, awards, residencies and legal matters. She offers advice on peer networking, self-promotion and establishing professional relationships with galleries. She also talks about the organizational skills required to deal with deadlines and bookkeeping, and how to stay socially connected.
Compendium of Celtic Crafts is by Judy Balchin, Courtney Davis, Vivien Lunniss and Suzen Millodot. They cover jewellery, glass painting, paper crafts, calligraphy and illumination. Not only do the authors provide you with numerous patterns, there is also a nice section about designing your own Celtic motifs. The instructions on braiding for jewellery are nice, since some of the knot patterns are quite complex. Although all the sections in this book offer start-to-finish instructions, if you're new to the technique (if you've never done glass painting, for example), you might want to start off with guides aimed more towards beginners, and save this compendium for pattern ideas for later projects.
Penny Haren's Pieced Appliqué: more blocks & projects provides quilters with the technique for creating beautiful quilt squares from simple foundation blocks, all by using appliqué. Haren shows you how to eliminate puckers, create beautiful curves and nice sharp points, achieve perfect placement and produce complicated blocks very quickly. (I'll be honest, I'm not a quilter, so even making the foundation blocks looks like a lot of effort. But I'm assured that this is a much faster, simpler technique than trying to cut and piece together the entire block in the traditional way).

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