Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Want to Master the Art of Punch Needle And make accessories for you and your home?

Look no further than the book Punch Needle

by Arounna Khounnoraj

Published by Hardie Grant £14.99

Photographs by Catherine Frawley

Punch needle is the very modern take on rag rugging, it uses  a tool to punch yarn or strips of fabric into a stretched base fabric to create a series of stitches. In the same way that you embroider or cross stitch over a printed or drawn design, so you can create your own needle punched pieces of work.

         Having just been to the Autumn Winter 2019  home ware collections, this craft is so on trend and this book  will enable you to make some of those fabulous textural, soft products yourself.

         The author, Arounna Khounnoraj is a great pair of hands to help us master the art of needle punching. She has a masters degree in fine art and in 2002 set up, with her husband John Booth,  her multi-disciplinary  studio Bookhou in Toronto.

         Together they explore a variety of printing and embroidery techniques through making utilitarian objects such as bags, home goods  and textiles.

         Inspired by the seemingly never-ending ways you can combine different stitches to create contemporary homeware, Arounna has been instrumental in the current modern punch needle renaissance.

         The book opens with an overview of the fundamentals as Arounna teaches in her studio workshops. As a result the ‘how to’ sections are as simple and clear as possible. Most projects only have two components – the punching and the making. Each project has a design drawing, and step by step instructions, for both the punching or hooking element of the work, as well as the means to turn the punched pieces into a wide variety of different items. There are charts featured throughout to help recreate the designs given in the book.

There is also a web site at bookhou.com/pages/patterns so that you can download patterns if you are nervous about drawing them freehand. The tools and materials sections are small, as so little is required of this craft. You are shown how to stretch a frame and how to transfer and image. You are guided on how to create the stitches and how to fid inspiration and design your own patterns. The finished projects are lovely and once you pick up this book, you will want to be making.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

A tree in the House

Flowers for your home, special occasions and every day byhttps://www.annabellehickson.com/ Annabelle Hickson published by Hardie Grant

It was the name and the cover shot that made me want to review this book. Both capture the imagination.

The author is a writer, photographer, former-city-slicker who now lives with her husband on a pecan farm in the Dumaresq Valley on the New South Wales Queensland border. She has three children and combines all that entails with being a gardener cook reader and celebrator in the beauty of life.

The book is interspersed with gorgeous snapshots of Annabelle’s picturesque rural life. Above is a lovely shot of her tall willowy figure walking with her beautiful children and followed by a trusty family dog.        

I would not describe this as a practical manual of flower arranging it is far to beautiful to be just that, and you will want to display its beauty on your coffee table. It is a useful book too, with practical hints and tips including images of what to do and not do when it comes to flower to vase proportions. Preparing both vessels and flowers are covered, as is making flower friendly water.

The chapter ‘around the table’ has beautiful images especially of outside dining. The book is shot in Australia so obviously the seasons are different to the Northern Hemisphere. All kinds of celebrations are covered including weddings and funerals. It is so lovely to see something  intimate and less formal than usual, to decorate a coffin. 

I think when you have read this and taken in all the lovely shots you will want to be Annabelle and to own her life.  Her husband is rather yummy too. He features holding a bunch of freshly picked cotton he has grown just before the big harvest begins.

A lovely and inspiring book that truly celebrate the joy that flowers bring into our lives. Published by Hardie Grant. £25

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Weave This

Over 30 fun projects for the modern weaver By Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis

Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis are the partnership who started and run The London Loom, a weaving studio in Hackney,  East London

         London Loom hosts both community workshops and smaller classes where adults and children work alongside each other inspiring creativity. As well as beginners weaving Francesca and Brooke also teach other crafts. This book is not your conventional weaving book, there are many styles and methods of weaving that are covered in the book.

Not all the projects are done on a loom, however the basic different steps are covered, as are tools and materials. These include interlocking, curves, soumak, rya knots and loop stitch.

         There are exciting and inventive ideas such as making a giant loom from a clothing rail or creating your own yarn from scraps of fabric. Tassel making is covered. One is shown how to weave a letter or even how to use a spade to create a wall hanging. Learn how to ice dye and to make a woven fringed back for a jacket.

If you want to create interior accessories there is a really cool shade, an upcycled chair with a new woven seat  a puja mat and some great geometric cushions and a rug. This book is full of exciting projects that takes what can be quite a worthy po faced activity and turns it into something that is fun.

If you want to start a new craft this is a bargain at £14.99.

Published by Hardie Grant Books

Blog, book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Every Room Tells a Story

By Kit Kemp and photographed by Simon Brown Published by Hardie Grant

When you’re in need of boutique hotel inspiration look no further than Kit Kemps book Every Room Tells a Story. Packed full of stunning photographs of eclectic properties we learn the secrets of the boutique hotel designer and how telling a story is essential to draw you into an interior. The bold, colourful and exuberant designs, inspired by travels and pieces collected from all round the world can’t fail to delight and start you on your own personal journey developing your very own style.

Kit brings life and interest to the rooms she styles and avoids taking design too seriously, playing with scale, colour and pattern to create personal, handcrafted spaces.

Featuring the inspiration behind her effortlessly stylish rooms and buildings, this book provides real insight into the way Kit approaches a room and the success she achieves with each space.

Also exploring her collaborations with artists, this is an intriguing look at Kit’s way of styling an intoxicating mix of contemporary and antique elements, a playful approach to fabrics and colour, and an individual eye for art. Every room that Kit breathes life into has a story to tell.