Thursday 21 April 2011

Book Review: The Crafter's Companion

A couple of years ago, one of the women I used to work with (before I quit my "day job") gave me a copy of The Crafters Companion as a present. It came out in 2006 so it's probably old news to a lot of you, but it's so different from the other craft books on my bookshelves that I thought it was worth a mention in book week!

The Crafter's Companion (edited by Anna Torborg, and published by Snowbooks) is subtitled "tips, tales and patterns from a community of creative minds", and that sentence is a pretty good guide to the balance of the content in the book.

If you just want a craft book to teach you how to make stuff I think you'd find this book quite disappointing. There are some simple sewing patterns in the back of the book but most of the designs featured in the photos throughout the book (including the two on the front cover) are not included in the patterns section.

Even the ones which are included are a bit frustrating - e.g. I love the little elephant pouch (which is one of the more complex projects) but it's photographed in the book with matching lion and monkey pouches, for which no patterns are included.

The main focus of the book is instead on the crafty lives of the 17 bloggers featured, with photos of their crafts, inspiration boards and workspaces, and interviews discussing why they create, what inspires them and where they work.

The workspace photos are great - the photo quality varies but I think this actually gives the book a "realness" to it that you can never get in books with exquisitely styled professional photography - but the real goodness is in the interviews which are so interesting and inspiring, especially the sections on "why I create".

Some of the bloggers featured are still blogging regularly, and others have moved on to other things but this book is still an enjoyable snapshot of our crafty community - a craft book to read and re-read.

If you're interested in this book there's a great interview with the editor Anna over on Craftypod
about the crafty blogging community and how the book came to be written. If you've got a copy yourself, I'd love to know what you think of it! And if you've bought/read any crafty books with a similar interview-focus please do mention them in the comments :)

The Crafter's Companion is available from Amazon UK and Amazon USA. [Disclaimer: these are affiliate links]


dropstitch said...

This was actually the book that got me into reading craft blogs, which in turn led to me starting my own. I haven't looked at it for a while now, but do keep meaning to go back to it. Heidi Kenney's house-shaped tissue box cover (featured in this book, if I remember rightly) has been on my to-make list for a long time! One day...

Sarah said...

I have it and love it - a little bit behind the scenes - a lot inspiring

Lucykate Crafts... said...

really wish they'd do another one. i have that book and every time i see it on my shelf i think of starting a 'where is molly chicken' campaign, she seems to have stopped blogging : (

Stephie said...

I have named you in an award on my blog post for the 21st April 2011. You can see it here...

I love this blog so keep up the good work

Stephie :-)

ClaireP said...

I ♥ LOVE ♥ this book! It was one of the first crafty sort of books I bought when I was venturing into the world of sewing.
Like dropstitch it got me reading craft blogs and made me want to start my own (four years ago now!).

Bugs and Fishes said...

Awesome to hear this book introduced you the wonderful world of craft blogs - I expect it did the same for quite a lot of people! I remember first discovering the online crafty community at the end of 2006, so exciting!

LucykateCrafts, it is sad to see some of the bloggers featured have since abandoned their blogs... it would be really interesting to see a follow-up article about what they're all crafting now! A second book with a new line up of bloggers would be amazing... lots of great blogs to choose from though :)

Stephie - thanks for the award x