Welcome to the first installment in our series of mini "reviews" of textile books from the collections of some of our favourite textile heros. First up are artists Robyn Love and Grant Heaps, who share a passion for quirky retro craft books. Enjoy, and keep on the look out for more posts like this one over the next few weeks leading up to our Pulling Strings Reference Library event in April!
A New Look at Crochet: Using Basic Stitches to Create Modern Designs
Elyse and Mike Sommer
New York: Crown Publishers, 1st Edition
When I think of publications that I reach for when I am looking to be inspired, I want to say that my first impulse is to immerse myself in the writing of Louise Bourgeois or Anni Albers. I want to say that because I do reach for my books about those great artists - and other great artists. I want to say that but it isn't completely true. My first impulse is to reach for A New Look for Crochet by Elyse and Mike Sommers. It is part history of crochet, part pattern book and part showcase of what was happening in the world of crochet c.1975. To me the book is pure inspirational gold. It is the perfect combination of sincerity, absurdity and genuine artistry. There is nothing flashy or even well designed about it, but it is its very earnest tone that makes it so compelling. It never fails me.
Queens, NY/Gilliams, NFLD
Juliano's Hang It All
Pineapples on Parade
I love how-to books on textile crafts. I have been collecting these books since I was a child and fell in love with trying to copy the ideas put in front of me on their pages. I love them because they offer such great hope. With limited supplies and tools you can reproduce the wonderful things they offer up as lessons. As a child, I would try and copy and follow the instructions but I always struggled with my results-- those in the photos on the pages before me were so much better than mine. Today I find constant inspiration in these publications and use their patterns and instructions to create things in ways they were never meant to. Floral Potpourri is filled with graphed flower patterns ready to be made much bigger using scrap textiles. Juliano's Hang It All is filled with macrame directions that I want to manipulate into organza lampshades. And Pineapples On Parade is crochet pattern after crochet pattern ready to be pillaged for a mural of a roller coaster being consumed by a garden.