The Art of Living with Nature

50 beautiful projects to bring the outside in.

This week is British flower week so I make no excuse for reviewing a second book by the talented Willow Crossley9781782494539.jpg.   She is currently in the news with her new venture a Cotswold inn. The inn shows off her imaginative and playful approach to interiors. Swan inn

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Her approach to home decorating using natural artifacts has the same playful and original quality about it as her eclectic interiors. Don’t expect a book of formal floral arrangements. Expect the unexpected, combinations of pebbles, shells, drift wood. The use of decorative tin cans, test tubes, wine boxes and vegetables instead of traditional vases.

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Combining her passions for the great outdoors and natural beauty, Willow shows you how to make the most of your flower-shop purchases, beach-combing, bounty, home grown harvests and hedgerow finds.

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The book contains innovative ways to decorate your home, ranging from Hellebores displayed in test tubes to wreaths made from Hydrangeas. Filled with tips and useful techniques to make the most out of your blooms this is a fun filled informative book.

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The Art of Living with Nature by Willow Crossley, published by CICO Books (£14.99)

Photography by Emma Mitchell © CICO Books

https://makeetc.com/

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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

 

 

‘Folded Book Art’ by Clare Youngs, Book Review

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35 beautiful projects to transform yourbooks-create cards, display scenes, decorations, gifts and more.

I have been fascinated by book art since it first appeared on the scene about fifteen years ago. In those days it was more a technique used by artists but in the last few years it has become very popular in the craft world. It looks very difficult to do, particularly the folded books where an image appears as if by magic.

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What Clare Youngs has managed to do is to show her readers how to make some inspired book art pieces. For those of you who love books and think it is a travesty to cut them up, it is worth considering what Clare says in her introduction.

‘ Four years ago I wrote Book Art. In the introduction I talked about my love of books and how the decision to cut or fold doesn’t come easy. I still find this hard, but I have made a few rules for myself: I never cut up a rare book and I only use tatty and damaged books or samples that would end up being recycled.’

The book covers three main techniques:

Folded books includes many ideas, here are a few of my favorites: an ampersand, a butterfly a bird a knot and a star.

The making scenes section , has a little mermaid, a fairy tale castle, honey comb and bees and mushrooms and ferns, there is even knitted paper.

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The chapter on refashioning pages includes brilliant origami slip covers that look very like, much of the ceramics currently in the shops. I love the little sailing boats and the baby elephant on wheels. There is a lovely selection of tags to make and hydrangers.

There are templates, tools and techniques.

Clare has such a strong graphic style and having read the book I came away wanting to make everything! So I can see what I will be doing in the autumn and winter.

Folded book art by Clare Youngs published by Cico Books £14.99 www.rylandspetersandsmall

Photography by Jo Henderson © CICO Books

Why not also check out CICO’s new craft website – https://makeetc.com

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‘Flourish’ by Willow Crossley Book Review

Flourish. front cover

Stunning arrangements with flowers and foliage

by Willow Crossley published by Kyle Books £19.99

www.kylebooks.co.uk

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Willow Crossley is an inspired floral Stylist whose arranging style is wild and natural. As she says in the introduction to this book

‘ Foliage is the key; the more the better. I often have big containers at home filled with foliage, no flowers. In early spring, bringing in embryonic branches is magical.

In this book, I want to show you how bringing flowers into your home can be so life enhancing. I’m not saying that they have to be masterly, beautifully designed creations. Just a couple of branches or a few wispy stems in a vase makes all the difference. I want to inspire you to think differently when it comes to choosing flowers and colours’

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Willow is very generous in sharing her knowledge with her readers. She starts by giving her ‘hero’ flowers, the ones she always falls back on, those that will make the arrangement work. She divides these into seasons and adds the foliage fillers as well.

The arrangements within the book are divided into seasons and flowers types. There is a section on how to ‘condition’ flowers and keep them lasting for as long as possible. There are steps on how to create a garland. The basic tool kit and materials are given including types of twine, string raffia. Containers that will work are mentioned too. A lovely and inspired book, now where are the secateurs?

Flourish by Willow Crossley is out now. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Emma Mitchell.

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‘Pure Colour’ by Jane Cumberbatch Book Review

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Picking up this book with its Marjorelle blue cover, fuschia pink endpapers and acid green graphics you know you are in for a visual treat. Stylist Jane Cumberbatch has created an inspirational source of colour inspiration.

‘Decorating a room is like painting a picture.’

As Jane says ‘There is nothing more pleasurable that starting with a blank canvas and filling your home with the colours and textures that you find most pleasing.’

The book is divided into five colour palettes: blues, greens, yellows, pinks and whites.

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‘The garden, the sea and the landscape are our colour charts and provide a veritable paint box of inspiration. From the bean greens of the vegetable patch, to the eau de nil wash of a calm evening tide, images are stored as snapshots. The first pink rosebud on a May morning is as perfect a shade for a wallpaper border as it is a cue for a lipstick colour or fabric for a long swirly summer skirt.’

So whether you are looking to transform your whole house, or simply for a few quick and easy ideas to brighten up a neglected corner, you are sure to find inspiration within these pages. Jane’s own notes and musings read like a diary and you feel as though you have been allowed into someone’s secrets thought processes. The book is packed full of stunning, evocative photographs.

I particularly like her rhubarb and custard, yellow and pink, combination. This is not a pairing that I would have thought of, but it works. There are practical examples throughout, whether you prefer to experiment with adding small splashes of contrasting colour to bring life to a room, or try a softer, more harmonious scheme. The book is packed full of everyday ideas to enable you to furnish your home with freshness and simplicity.

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