art book reviews by Aisling D'Art









Making Books And Journals:
20 Great Weekend Projects

book review © 2005 Aisling D'Art
The Weekend Crafter: Making Books And Journals: 20 Great Weekend Projects by Constance E. Richards is a great book for absolute beginners but offers interesting projects that will intrigue more advanced artists as well.

This 80 page book features more than 20 well illustrated projects with step-by-step directions to complete an artist's book or journal in a single weekend.

In the introduction Ms. Richards says, "Not only can the contents of books magically transporte a person to other worlds, but we like to think the structure of the books themselves can, too. " It is that element of magic and delight--regardless of your personal artistic tastes--that is empowered by this simple book.

After describing the supplies and basic techniques that you will use, the first project is a folded books with pockets, created by Beth Weiss. This clever design uses no glue but instead relies on decorative folds to combine decorative papers and cover board to create a simple art book.

Another project, an ornament book design by Doris Arndt, is an ideal choice for holiday decor or gift-giving. For another time of year, Julia Monroe's heart book necklace could be used as an accessory but also in the home as a shade or lamp pull, or for other decorative effects.

For those who want to learn book binding techniques, you can count on additional clever designs by Doris Arndt and a coptic bound book by Gwen Diehn, as well as a Japanese-bound picture frame album and a stab-bound star book both by Nicole Tuggle.

What makes this book shine is a good use of photographs to illustrate exactly how to assemble each book, with additional pictures to suggest delightfully original alternatives. Hats off to Gwen Diehn for this.

If you want to try making your own art books, journals, photo albums, and scrapbooks, this is an excellent book for any beginner who is eager to tackle impressive weekend projects.

PROS: Wide variety of projects, great illustrations, and a mix of classic and unique designs. I liked it enough to buy it.

CONS: These are not necessarily easy projects, and many will take at least a full day to complete. However, even if the precise measuring and "by the numbers" steps put you off, if you are naturally artistically inclined, you'll find many great ideas in this book.

If you're not sure whether you'll enjoy making art books by hand, this is a good book to experiment with. See if you public library has it; they should.

For others' reviews, see Amazon.com, or Amazon.co.uk.

For more of my book and product reviews, see
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