A DIY book to review

We have a good selection of craft books in the library, and every year there are many more craft books published. Our customers love these books. I like browsing through handmade “eye candy”, looking at the projects, wondering if I could create something that is far close to the example shown. Sometimes I try one of the projects in the book. Rarely do I go back to a given craft book more than a few times. I return the book and let someone else read it.

However, there are a few craft books that are keepers, books that I own because they are so useful and because they are beautiful on their own. Beryl Taylor’s first book, “Mixed Media Explorations” is that type of book.

First of all, the book is packed with information. Sometimes authors come up with lukewarm projects and ideas just to sell another book. That’s not the case here. His first book is full of content.

Second, she demonstrates a variety of techniques. These techniques include binding and incorporating simple stitches into your work. I learned how to make tissue paper – using fabric, fabric, and paint – which resulted in a really cool material. I also learned to incorporate blown paints with taste – not something that looked ridiculously youthful.

Third, the projects are achievable. Often times, you’ll see a new project to try out or a new technique to make early versions worthy of the old Regretsy (a site that displayed crafting and baking failures). It offers concrete projects. While I don’t like projects that leave no room for creativity, his projects leave a lot of room for experimentation and interpretation.

Finally, the projects and illustrations displayed in the color pages are beautiful. His style has been described as a mix of Victoriana and Steampunk. Its colors tend towards romantic pastels that deepen into more intense shades of magenta, plum and merlot – the Victoriana. His compositions begin with simple motifs added together to form a complex whole. All in all, it’s a fun book to check out at least once.

Kira Michaelieu runs some of the adult craft programs at the Missouri River Regional Library.

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