Blog, book review, Book Reviews

GLOBAL BOHEMIAN How to Satisfy your Wanderlust at Home

Bohemianism has long been associated with artists, musicians, writers, and designers. Affectionately referred to as boho, this layered, vibrant, and organic aesthetic is clearly thriving. This may be because we are much more environmentally aware than we were even two decades ago. Buying second hand is very much in vogue and if you can’t do the travelling yourself many of the items found in a Bohemian home can be acquired from in charity shops, brocantes and the like. If you revel in freedom from conventions and rules, love a home that reflects individuality, spontaneity, a fondness for a fusion of global goods and a distinctive convergence of cultures, bohemian style is the book for you.

From minimal boho touches to relaxed, natural, eclectic, and romantic design elements make the global bohemian home a thing of beauty. With their blend of styles, the homes featured in this book boast a uniquely enchanting atmosphere, often reflected in the variety of treasures they showcase––from personal collections to inspired use of color and pattern, these wildly differing living spaces show signs of humanity and the patina of life.

Whether you want to transform an understated room by adding whimsical elements or create an exotic oasis in your bedroom, unconventional boho artistry is easy to achieve by incorporating a few basics such as jewel-toned items, metallic touches, alluring prints, and layers of textures, to name but a few. Mismatched pieces from various origins and eras, delicious colours, exquisite textiles, and imaginative displays give spaces an undeniable energy. This book celebrates the decorating tenets of freethinking, world traveling, and nomadic ideals, and the beauty of self-expression. The book is divided into different chapters including Colour. The author points out  

‘whether your taste leans to cheerful hues or softer ones. While there is no prescribed color palette for this iconic style, it is often hallmarked by warm hues like deep blue, hot pink, and sunny yellow, which, when combined, bring visual intensity. And for those who like it hot, jewel tones and metallic accents rule.’

Next comes Furnishings, an inspiring mix of old and new, and serious and fanciful, all topped with a big dose of personality. Eclectic is an accurate adjective to define a décor that comprises the heterogeneous elements particular to the global bohemian. There is a fine line, however, between a beautifully diverse design and one that is merely chaotic.

Furniture collected over time and secondhand and vintage items are right at home here. For an exotic mood, you can feed your wanderlust for exquisite objects from around the world ––from Africa to India, Uzbekistan to Latin America and more with just a click. It has never been easier or more exciting to pack personality and global style into every space in your home. Conformity and uniformity aren’t in the boho vocabulary, but individuality is!

_The chapter on Accessories draws inspiration from many sources. The aesthetic is rooted not only in cultural artifacts but also in pieces that reflect one’s personal journey. Weaving together items from a variety of locations for a worldly look is as vital as focusing on gathering unique pieces. It’s all about mystery, charm, and the appeal of the unexpected.

Display colourful candle lanterns and include items with metallic gold or silver finishes for a crowning touch to the eclectic décor. Don’t forget nature! Vines, succulents, and other houseplants are indispensable for conjuring up the free-spirited, wanderlust feeling of bohemian design.

Fabrics, Patterns and Textures come next. Textiles from various parts of the world, like Africa, Asia, and South America reflect a well-traveled vibe and produce distinctive, culturally influenced aesthetics. Much like a good piece of artwork, fabrics can make a room. This book is filled with Inspiring homes from all over the world that show the reader how to create their own Boho vibe. A book as beautiful as this, should grace your coffee table and, will make a wonderful Christmas present for a dear friend.

Global Bohemian by Fifi O’Neill, published by CICO Books (£19.99)

Photography by Mark Lohman © CICO Books

Blog, Meet the Maker

Meet the Maker Craft author and Illustrator Clare Youngs

I went to meet Clare Youngs with my photographer Antonia Attwood to interview and photograph her in her Thanet home. Clare writes craft books for the publishers Cico, and whatever the subject, they are always of the highest standard, beautifully styled and informative. I was curious how Clare had got into the business of being a craft author. She works from a studio at the bottom of her garden.

J.B. Tell me about your design background.

C.Y. I did an art foundation course in London and then I went to Canterbury to do a degree in graphics and packaging design. It was a great course very creative we covered lots of skills as well as graphic design, including styling and art direction.

After art school I worked mainly for small design groups designing packaging.

J.B. How did you get into writing books?

C.Y. My husband, Ian bought me a book on vintage style and I was flicking through it when I had a light bulb moment. I have always made things including curtains cushions and blinds. I had an idea for a book on making things for the house out of paper. I went to Hamlyn and my first book was published by them. Then Cindy Richards the M.D. of Cico books got hold of me and asked if I would like to write a book for them. The first book I did was on making bags out of recycled materials.

J.B. Do the ideas for your books originate from you or from the publisher?

C.Y. It is half and half, sometimes I come up with proposals and sometimes they do.

J.B. How long does it take to produce a book.

C.Y From start to finish probably 4-5 months, but that is working full time on it. From the concept to publication is usually a year.

J.B. Who does the photography and styling?

C.Y.  I do the styling and Jo Henderson does the photography and my husband Ian does the illustrations.

J.B. What are your favorite and your least favorite parts of creating a book.

C.Y. I love making things, so the designing and making is what I enjoy doing best.

When I started, I found writing step -by -step instructions challenging. The secret is to write them as you go along.

J.B. What and who inspires you?

C.Y. Vintage Children’s books,particularly those published in the 60’s and 70’s. I like the work of Brian Wildsmith, and Eric Carle, Alice and Martin Provensen an American couple who illustrated more than 40 children’s books together. Mostly between the late 1940’s and the 1960’s.

J.B. Are there any modern illustrators you like?

C.Y. I enjoy the work of Joohee Yoon

J.B. What other things or people inspire you?

C.Y. I like old bannisters. I love humour in design. I like the textile designer Marimeko. Scandanavian design and Japanese crafts both interest me. I like the work of the following painters and designers. Howard Hodgkin, Ben Nicholson, Robert Tavener, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravillious and Charlie Harper.

J.B. Are you a collector ?

C.Y. Yes I am a collector I have 23,000 czechoslovakian matchbox lables that I bought on line. I will probably sell some as many are duplicates.

J.B. What are the benefits and drawbacks of working from home?

C.Y. It is great to have a purpose built space that is just at the bottom of my garden. So I don’t waste time travelling. My husband who is also a designer works in the house so we often meet up for lunch. However the down side of working from home is it is sometimes isolating as you don’t have feed back from other designers. As a result of this, last year I took an on line course called ‘Make Art that Sells’ . I wanted to study illustration as my craft projects have become more illustrative, for example I produce designs to embroider or collage. The boot camps that the web site runs are excellent and give you prompts rather than teaching as such. They have a face book group so that you can get feed back from like minded designers.

J.B. Apart from the boot camp do you use other social media?

C.Y. I do instagram and find that is a very useful way of making contacts in the design world. Last year I participated in the 100 day project.

J.B Do you teach workshops ?

C.Y. When we first moved out of London, our kids were young and we thought it would be nice to move to the Kent coast. At this time I ran a few family craft workshops at the Turner Gallery.

J.B. If you hadn’t been a graphic designer what would you have studied or done as a career?

C.Y. I think I would have done a craft, been a print maker or a potter.

J.B. What are you doing next?

C.Y My latest book by Cico came out in October it is called The Mindful Maker

J.B. Clare thank you very much for letting us have a glimpse into your working life.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces

35 Contemporary Projects for Garden Furniture & Accessories

By Hester van Overbeek

Photography by James Gardiner

Stuck for something to make? Little or no money then this is the book for you. Follow the instructions within and you can make a huge variety of items for the garden. These include benches, tables, a covered store for wood, a planter and much more. There are clear instructions throughout and a useful guide to using pallet wood, which includes taking a pallet apart and cleaning it before you start.

There are guidelines on the tools you need and how to use them. As well as larger items such as a pallet sofa and planter bench, there are smaller accessories such as a garden trug, tea light and candle-holders and a very nice white washed lantern. I love the birdhouses too.

I have repurposed a couple of Pallets in my time, adding the odd shelf, wheels and coat of paint or upended to make a vertical flower wall. This book has an element of this too but goes far beyond it as it uses and recycles this free valuable resource and that is wood.

         Hester van Overbeek is a keen multi-crafter who works for many different craft magazines and has written four craft books already. She has a very successful web site that feature her books and video’s and how to projects.

A perfect book to buy now, for making all those outside projects, that will enhance your garden or yard and prove invaluable this summer.

Published by Cico books £12.99

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Want a fun sewing book with a difference? CHLOE TELLS YOU HOW TO SEW

I have been reviewing practical books for over 25 years and used to review for the magazine Inspirations back in the day. I think it is a pity that books are now sold in the same way as other items, such as clothes and groceries, with a short shelf life. With the Great British Sewing Bee being very much on our minds I think this book deserves a second look, it is fun, practical and original.

Textile artist Chloe Owens http://chloeowens.com/is inspired by all things vintage, and much of her work is made from 1960’s fabrics. She is also a lover of annuals, that she read as a child. Their brightly coloured illustrations, and instructions mixed in with activities, puzzles and games has been a major influence in the design of this book.

Make a headdress – great for a summer festival

Instead of a run of the mill craft book, Chloe has ingeniously made an annual complete with games: follow the thread, strings and needles, lotto.

Cat basket with a difference

 Included are translations of rhyming slang, for example: Bangers- “bangers and mash” (sausages and mashed potato)=cash. As with the best of annuals it has many illustrators, so that each project is almost like a mini book in its own right. Each project starts with a witty heading or a pun, so a reclaimed chair is called ‘The best seat in the house’.

‘She’s a pin board wizard’ pin board is taken from the song of the same name from The Who’s ‘Tommy’ album. Many of the projects are written as if a friend or animal has made them and so they take the comic book form in both layout and story line. The result of all this is a very busy looking, book of fun.

How to re-upholster a sewing box to make a cat bed

I like the way Chloe writes, her instructions are clear and she encourages you to have a go! This is a hip book, full of diverse projects, and lovely photographs by the late Claire Richardson. Projects range from felt biscuits to soft toy animals, a very cute baby dress and some furniture projects and home accessories. Amongst my favourite projects is “A must have for the modern man”, the deluxe felt beard, now with optional moustache. I am not sure if I will be sporting it just yet but when the chilly autumn winds blow you never know.

Make your own winter warmer -a beard

by Chloe Owens  http://chloeowens.com/Published by Cico Books http://www.rylandpeters.com/ourshop/craft at £14.99

book review, Uncategorized

CREATIVE COLLAGE by Clare Youngs

30 projects to transform your collages into wall art, personalized stationery, home accessories

9781782494898

In Creative Collage, author Clare Youngs reveals the secrets of collaging, one of her favourite crafts.

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As she says in her introduction

“Great artists who made collage part of their lifetime’s work have always inspired me. Although the techniques have been used since the invention of paper in China around 200 B.C.E., the word “collage” was first used in connection with art by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century, when the technique became an important part of the Modern Art movement.”

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In this book Clare teaches you about the kinds of paper you can use, such as maps, tickets, photographs, typography and magazine pages, and how to add texture, use layering and make use of geometric designs. Some of Clare’s amazing collages are included for inspiration, and she explains how she chose the materials and composition for each one.

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“We can stand back in awe at the work of great artists, but in fact collage is something that anyone can enjoy. It is inexpensive, you don’t need a lot of equipment, it frees your mind, and allows you to release creativity within you that you didn’t even know was there. Great things happen when you let go a bit—what’s not to love?

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Clare then presents a collection of projects that offer unique ways of displaying and using collages even making 3-D collages, such as a découpaged chest of drawers and a family photo wooden block house. She explains how to use collage on fabrics and ceramics as well as a lamp shade and place mats.Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 15.22.22

Along with helpful prompts to give you ideas for collages, this book provides all you need to get started with this personal, expressive craft.

Her other books include Folded Book Art, A Year in Crafts, Colour Yourself to Happiness, Book Art, Mobile Art, Wall Art, Make Your Own Woodland Creatures, Letter Art and Folk Art Needlecraft

Published by Cico BooksCREATIVE COLLAGE November 14th 2017 £12.99

I highly recommend this book and suggest you buy at least two copies, one to keep and one to give away as a present.

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Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Hester van Overbeek is a very creative designer who is always aware of the Zeitgeist and so it is with her inspiring book Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, and Platters.

This is the perfect book for summer as its attractively styled images show. If you are going to be mucking about with concrete it is best to be in a warmish climate and have an outdoor space in which to work. The fire bowl would create a perfect atmosphere on a summer evening, and if you are entertaining there’s a cheese board that can double up as a sharing platter.

The book has clear step-by-step instructions for all the projects. The most difficult aspect of using concrete is the weight of it and carrying it home from the builders yard. Take a quick look around your house, or a trip to a thrift store to come up with solutions for moulds or you can cast in sand.

The project top of our list is the garden planter, currently succulents are on everyone’s agenda and the texture of the grey concrete against the fleshy leaves would be perfect.

With 35 projects to choose from this informative book is for anyone wanting to make highly desirable, simple, contemporary makes for the home and garden.

Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, & Platters by Hester van Overbeek,

Published by CICO Books (£12.99)

Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books