It's rare these days for me to acquire a new craft book.
Even I know that I don't have enough hours in the day to start up something new, so although I might be tempted and make noises about getting a kiln or learning to spin, the reality is I usually try and talk myself out of it. I was seriously going to get into spinning and wool dyeing until Bookhound sensibly said why not buy it ready done and I couldn't really come up with a reason to proceed.Then there was the weaving and then paper-making and marbelling then....
So really the last thing I needed was The Crafter Culture Handbook by Amy Spencer (published by Marion Boyars) but I'd heard a whisper or two about it and was then offered a copy pre-publication and so I bought one.
Amy Spencer looks at the politics of crafting and why people take them up, whether taking a stance against sweatshop production, for self sufficiency reasons, recycling ethics or just for the sheer pleasure of creativity.Personally I feel as if I'm on the crest of a wave when I'm creating.
This is the book for the person who is perhaps new to craft and hasn't yet embraced the thrift side of the whole thing. Approach any craft in the 21st century and you'll spend a fortune buying specially made, pre-packaged new things to cut up and make into more new things.
I'm the worst I know, I know, I love some new wool and some fabric to add to my stash but I have also done my share of making do and mend and I still do.Currently an unquilted Amish quilt top is about to become a door curtain.
This book is a lovely combination of digging around charity shops for jumpers to unravel, unusual electrical crafts, lights made from colanders, pick-ups for guitars, rag rugs, fleece rugs, bags crocheted out of plastic carriers, you name it, it's in here and plenty more that would never have occurred to me.
There are two sections that I love and I will be using very soon, homemade lotions and potions is the first.
I now HAVE to make my own soap which apparently can be done in the microwave and there was me thinking I'd be up in the shed with old saucepans on the camping stove. Then there's the lip balm, hair conditioner, face masks, toner, it's all in here and no amount of suggesting I go and buy it ready-made will do this time.
The other must-make section is called Paper and Ink and here, well first find your octopus...no I'm joking, no animals get hurt in this book so no octopus ink recipes, but there are instructions to make a beautiful Coptic Bound notebook.
Somewhere I still have the book on how to make your own paper so perhaps I could?
Oh alright then, but some beautiful paper out there to buy now and good instructions here about paper grain about which I knew nothing, take it from me, the rip test tells you all you need to know.