Thursday, 17 January 2013

Book Review: Material World by Perri Lewis



"Craft, that's very fashionable these days, isn't it?" my Dad said to me at the weekend. Here is a danger sign for the world of craft - my Dad only professes an interest in trends once they've reached, if not dramatically over-reached, saturation point (Onesies beware, he sounded the death knoll for you over Christmas Dinner). He's got a point. But, even in an increasingly full market, I still had great hopes for Material World, firstly because we meet its author Perri Lewis last year for her Ginterview and she was fabulous, secondly because it's named after a classic Madonna song and that's always exciting, and finally because its subtitle, 'The Modern Craft Bible', makes no concession to twee (sorry Sara). Badly stitched twee tea cosies and floral corsages be banished!

Thankfully the book lives up all those things. Like Perri, it's fabulous, and Madonna should be honoured to be a material girl living in a material world. There's nothing granny about this book, other than your granny can probably help you brush up on some of your skills. Perri runs through the basics of fifteen different crafts, from the fashionable like printing and papercutting to the more neglected, such as quilling and - that butt of every crafting joke - macrame. She explains things like she's your mate and she doesn't think you're an idiot. That's pleasantly refreshing, as is the clean and clear design. Lacking inspiration? Simply turn to some of the many tips and ideas she's gathered from some of the best makers and designers out there including Rob Ryan, Lisa Stickley, Tatty Devine and Emma Bridgewater to name only a handful.

I enjoy Perri's style because, like the gorgeous kits from Spinster's Emporium, she shows you the possibilities of what you could be doing rather than getting too bogged down in technique. In fact, I had stop reading half way through because my brain was already about to explode with so many exciting ideas. I loved the cute embroidery key rings but liked Perri's suggestion to try out the stitching on a necklace instead. On the way to that page, I found myself enthusiastically studying a DIY collar and decided I'd try embroidery on that instead. I then couldn't get to sleep because I was over-excited about the candy-coloured embroidery thread I was going to use on my beautiful creation. Honestly, this book does that to you.

So, if you've got even the remotest interest in craft, this book is well worth the investment (my Dad will be getting one for next Christmas, along with a macrame wallet for his services to the craft industry). If not, I'm pretty sure this book will inspire you to give something a try - and, most importantly, to have some fun while trying.

Material World is £18.99. Or you could get it from Amazon for £12.15 and put the difference towards some nice embroidery threads.

10 comments:

  1. I love crafty things (and books) and I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book. Think this review has tipped me over the edge to finally buy this! :)

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    1. Hurrah! You won't regret it I'm sure.

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  2. This has just gone on my birthday wishlist. Sounds fabulous.

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    1. Excellent. There's some good cross-stitch inspiration in there too that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

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  3. It's SUCH a lovely book. And they're really craft projects as well, not like that one I read that had 'decorative sticks' in it. (It turns out that decorative sticks are just sticks with coloured thread wrapped around them.)

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    1. Oh god, that kind of thing makes me want to poke myself in the eye with my knitting needles...

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    2. Or you could use your decorative sticks.

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    3. Oh THAT'S what they're for... twee torture.

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  4. Looks like a lovely book! I had the same realisation when my mum wanted a keep calm poster ... and a coldplay cd xx

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    1. Ha! Quickly buy a copy of this now before your mum hears about it and puts you off it...

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