A book for art and cat lovers : History of Art in 21 Cats

by Nia Gouldhttps://niaski.co.uk.

This humorous and witty picture book uses the cat as a guide to enlighten us about the different and fascinating art movements throughout history. This is Art history as you’ve never experienced it before- with a large helping of cattitude. From the old masters to the modernists, the moggy as muse.

Feline friends have stalked the studios of many artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keefe, so, it only seems entirely fitting to enlist 21 cultured cats to navigate a journey through art history.

From ancient Egyptian and Byzantine art to the wacky and wildly successful world of the Young British Artists, explore the styles that characterized important art movements and the artists who led them. Each cat is depicted in the style of the art movement that is being shown. For example the Egyptian cat has an ornate eye and the colour palette of the Egyptians is explained.

         To show renaissance art, the Mona Lisa has been represented in cat form.

We have Rococo cats, impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism, Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism. Dada, Destijl, Magic Realism, Art Deco and all the major art movements of the twentieth century are represented. The book ends with a feline timeline. This will make a great gift for any cat lover.  

From Michael O’Mara books £12.99

Crocheted Succulents

Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make

By Emma Varnam

Published by GMC RRP £14.99

When this book arrived through my letterbox it caused me to giggle. It seems such a bizarre and bonkers idea to crochet a Cactus. However if you, like me, are fairly hopeless with house plants then why not.

 As Emma says in her introduction

‘ Succulent plants have grown in popularity in recent years, as our climate gets hotter and hotter and more of us are able to grow these plants outside in pots. I started growing succulents about two years ago and my son loves to collect cacti too. We have attended courses on how to look after our plants and how to propagate them. Then it occurred to me it would be fun to create a crocheted version of our collection.

         The techniques of crotchet are perfectly suited to creating these cute specimens, and these versions are immune to the perils of overwatering or drought.’

         In some of the patterns Emma has embellished her crocheted succulents with flowers and pompoms to create an exotic look.

She even has an imaginative idea for display and that is to mix them with her living cacti and succulents. The technique is simple it is a wonderful hobby to carry around with you  as you travel on the bus or tube on the way to work. A great talking point with strangers perhaps. The book has full colour photography throughout and the contents page is a delight with each plant species captioned with a picture of its crocheted version below the name. With 25 different varieties you could make them all and give a few away as original presents to friends and family.

         Emma Varnam is a crochet and knitwear designer and author. Her books , also published by GMC, included How To Crochet, Granny Squares, Granny Squares Home, Cute Crocheted animals. She has collaborated with knitwear designer Debbie Bliss. Her crochet blog is

www.emmavarnam.co.uk

Making Winter by Emma Mitchell

I recently finished reading Making Winter a creative guide for surviving the winter months by Emma Mitchell. I’m so pleased I did.

Making Winter Cover

What drew me to this book was, that I had attended a drop in workshop on paper flower making at Anthropologie, given by Emma Mitchell. I was very impressed by her organization skills, it is not easy running drop in workshops. How do you know how many to cater for? How do you divide up your time? She made it work and at the same time ensured it was great fun, and her enthusiasm was contagious. Everyone went home with something hand crafted and beautiful.

So when I heard she was writing a book I decided I had to read it.

First of all let me say the book is beautiful to look at and to hold. As well as writing it Emma has done her own photography and illustrations.

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The book is a real necessity for the cold dark winter months. I love the way Emma engages her readers.

From her introduction it is clear that she really knows the effect that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can have on us. She explains how as many as a third of adults in the UK are affected by the decrease in daylight hours and colour during winter. Her book came about from the discovery that crafts and creativity helped to lift the mood. Recently scientific research has supported her findings that yarncraft can lead to relaxation or meditation-like response similar to Yoga.

The book is filled with lots of different projects to engage in from preserving leaves, to crocheting, baking and making silver fossil pendants and even making your own firelighters. There are lots of foraged crafts, nothing is too expensive and the book finishes on a high note looking forward to spring.Silver Fossil Pendant.jpg

“Making things during winter is a cunning strategy to help replace the feel good brain chemicals that may falter during these dingier months.’”

Emma describes her book as a survival guide to winter, a means to embrace the drab days and to fill them with wrist warmers and baked goodness.Woodland Wreath 1.jpg

As she says” Grab your crotchet hooks, yarn and cocoa powder. Onwards into the cold…”

At £14.99 this book is worth every penny spent, buy two copies one for yourself and one for a friend.

Emma Mitchell  on instagram as @silverpebble2

Published by LOM ART an imprint of Michael O’Mara Books

 

 

House of Cards

Beautiful greetings cards to make from expert card designers, by ‘Just a Card’ campaign founder Sarah Hamilton

9781910904572

This excellent book celebrates the very best in contemporary greeting card design. The ten makers featured talk about their work practice, show their studios and also present a project for the reader to make.

Having said that, the book is not prescriptive but instead encourages the reader to use their own imagination to create cards using the techniques  shown.

The book opens with a chapter on the history of the greeting card and how charity cards came into being. The author then discusses where to find inspiration.

There is a chapter on selling cards including very practical tips, such as the most economic size to make them, choosing envelopes to enhance the card and putting your details on the back of the card.

Most informative and very useful is the chapter written by Jehane Boden Spiers, who as well as being an artist in her own write also runs a company representing artists to publishers. Her company is called ‘Yellow House Art Licensing’ and she has some very good artist /designers on her books. By licensing work if it is successful it can generate a very good income stream for the artist.

The techniques covered include letterpress printing, silkscreen printing, decoupage, lino cut printing, paper cutting and textile foiling.HouseofCards_HR_RGB (#31ECC

Sarah’s own work is inspired by colour, nature, and mid century design. She started her own working life designing cards for Paperchase, The Conran Shop, and Habitat.

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This is a book well worth adding to your craft library and is excellent value.

Published by Pavilion £14.99

www.pavillionbooks.com

www.justacard.org

www.yellowhouseartlicensing.com

 

 

‘THE SHOP KEEPERS HOME’ BY CAROLINE ROWLAND

Published by Jacqui Small, £25 hardback.

Caroline Rowland is the stylish woman behind 91 magazine. Her own images are always beautiful and her book ‘The Shop Keeper’s Home’ gives a chance to check out the houses of the some of the most influential independent retailers worldwide. The book is divided into two sections, the first comprehensively covers the basics of interior design and the second, using the chosen interiors, gives an in depth exploration of different types of retail experience.

This book is lavishly illustrated, with some lovely photo’s, from Nick Carter amongst others, Caroline Rowland seeks out retailers with stylish interiors and curates them to show core practical interior design tips like clever storage and lighting whilst at the same time giving us a strong flavour of her own personal aesthetics. We are taken behind the closed doors of diverse lifestyle store locations, there’s a cafe, craft shop, old barn and even a repurposed gas station.

As well as old favourites we are introduced to new retail emporiums to inspire us to go out and seek. A wonderful visual resource, The Shop Keeper’s Home gives us a chance to indulge our curiosity as well as feeding the soul with a wealth of ideas to steal.