Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Collage Journeys by Jane Davies, A Practical guide to Creating Personal Artwork is wonderful eye candy and packed full of information.
From using found materials and everyday ephemera in your artwork to doodle collage, ATCs, the written journal, project ideas it just goes on and on.
142 pages of small print packed with things even an experienced art journal person might find interesting.
It's a find for my art library.


Book Arts by Mary Kaye Seckler is a book worth having in your collection.
I've been taking a journal construction class and find it fascinating. For those of you unable to take a class with Julie:
You might find this book by Mary Seckler extremely helpful.
I found the soft cover book at Michael's and used one of my 40% off coupons. The original price goes for $16.99 which really isn't bad when you consider how much information she packs into this book.
Learning how to make covers, different kinds of spines are all easy to do because she includes templates and clear directions.
Think about some of those beautiful collage pages you have been doing and then think about using them for covers of journals. What a wonderful gift that would make.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inspired to Quilt by Melanie Testa

If you are a reader of my daily blog,
you have heard me mention the DVD I purchased called, Print,
Collage, Quilt with Melanie Testa.
If you are unable, for what ever reason, to attend classes on subjects you are interested I strongly urge you to look into purchasing videos on those subjects. The DVDs that I have from Quilting Arts Workshop run about an hour.
Depending on how you process information one time through might be all you need to get started. Having the DVD in your possession means that you can watch it as many times as you need to, stop, start, pause it and if you are totally confused you can even google the artist and email them a question. I have no doubt that they would be happy to be of help.

While watching Melanie's DVD she mentioned her new book, Inspired to Quilt, Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery. If you are new to dyes, thickener or print paste, synthrapol and monoprinting this is the book for you. Melanie walks you through the process with clear instructions, photos and samples.

As always, I suggest you take a look at the book at your local bookstore. It's the usual price for most quilt books these days, around $25.00. I think it's worth it for the amount of information that she had included in the book.

I have to say I find her DVD challenging and I'm ready for a challenge and having the book as a reference and information source book, on hand, is great.

To view more DVDs offered: Quiltingartsworkshop.com
For Inspired to Quilt: Interweavestore.com

I receive nothing for these book reviews. They are my gift to you. :)Bea

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Creative License by Danny Gregory

Oh Danny, Danny..........a hand printed book...........sigh. It looks like a wonderful book, full of wonderful ideas but small hand printing is hard, hard, hard on old eyes. What? Did you think that somebody old wasn't going to read your book? I have the same reaction when I pick up a cookbook and it's hand written..........aggggggghhhhhhhh
I will work my way through this book because I love the drawings, the enthusiasm, and the idea of "giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are".
He has chapters on kick starting your creativity and learning to see. Always a good exercise for all of us to do every once in a while.
I recently read a novel where the main character, an artist said that after years of drawing and painting he noticed that his hand got tighter and tighter on the brush or pen. He had a major life threatening illness and after he finally went back to painting his grip was loose and his work flowed.
Sometimes we all need something to jog us out of our routine.
He has a chapter on journaling and making creativity into a habit, something that is hard for us in our busy daily lives.
The chapter on Shock looks interesting....."blasting your butt out of a rut".....hmmmm
Sensitization, Resistance, Judgment, Identity, Expanding and what's next. All great subjects.
I bought my used/NEW book from Amazon. It's worth it even if I need to go out and buy a magnifying glass.

Somerset Apprentice magazine

It's Vol. 1 and it's expensive $15.00 here in the USA. That said, it's a worthwhile buy for someone interested in learning some new techniques. It's a lot cheaper than taking a workshop.
If you are serious about using the book I would suggest taking it to Kinko's and having them bind it with a coil binding. Much easier to open the magazine and have it lay flat while you are doing the techniques.
This issue features Angela Cartwright, Pam Carriker, Michelle Ward, Claudine Hellmuth, Lynne Perella, Traci Bautista, Lori Oles, Lisa Bebi and the list goes on and on.
Detailed how to do it with photographs, beautiful pictures, 144 pages so it's quite thick.
The instructions are easy to understand and like I said they have a lot of close-up photos.
I suggest you check it out at your local bookstore. See if you already know how to do the techniques or if it is something you have been thinking you would like to learn. If so, it's worth buying for your library. When you grow beyond it, pass it on to your local library.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stitch, Cloth, Paper & Paint by Angie Hughes

I'm in love with this book. From the gorgeous pictures to the challenging projects. Her bookwraps, frames for artifacts and sundials are amazing. I suggest you take a look at it while having a cuppa at Barnes & Noble. It's a hefty investment of around $30.00. It is either going to be a little more advanced or something that you have already done. It's worth looking at. Again, I'm treating this as a course of study.

Silk Unraveled by Lorna Moffat

I have never worked with silk. I am in awe of it. I have seen wonderful, beautiful things done with silk. It intrigues me.

This is an eye candy book for people like me. Lorna Moffat does offer experiments in tearing, (oh my god tearing silk!), fusing, layering and stitching.

She has actual projects for each technique. This is very doable. I plan to do the book as if I was taking it as a course.

I need to get beyond my fear of ruining silk. I can do this. I can do this. sigh

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hot Textiles arrived today! What a beautiful book, lots of eye candy! Kim Thittichai certainly covers everything you would need to know if you were just starting to experiment with heat tools. Those of you that have done so probably would enjoy looking at the pictures but wouldn't necessarily learn anything new.
If you haven't experimented with Bondaweb (Wonder-Under), Tyvek, Pellon, Lutradur, plastic bags you will enjoy her information on the subjects.
If you have a heat gun and haven't used it yet, her safety instructions are excellent so pay attention.
I wish the type was bigger for those of us with older eyes.
The second picture is one from the book of a beautiful basket made from shopping bags threaded onto wire and formed into a bowl shape.
There are lots of full page color pictures which is great to look at but I sometimes wish there was more information, you know.

The Big Ass Book of Crafts

I love the cover. I love the title. Thank you Mark Montano for making me smile.
A good friend of his told him, while he was working on this book, to make sure that the crafts were "home worthy".
These aren't projects that involve painting chickens on ceramic pitchers. If you go through the book you will probably find at least one thing that reflects who you are and your personality. And that's what he felt she meant when she said home worthy.
These are wonderful ideas for making gifts for family members and frankly with the times the way they are a home made gift is a nice thing to give.
The directions are clear and very easy to do. I'm looking at a couple of interesting chapters that I might do with my granddaughter when she's here in August.
I am getting some ideas for taking his suggestions and giving them my own twist. It's a fun and big thick book to own.

Acrylic Revolution

By, Nancy Reyner. Most of us who have worked with acrylics know a lot about techniques. I would say from glancing over at my bookshelf that I really don't need another book about it.
That said, I'm glad I own this one. Clear instructions, good photographs, some new information, for me.
She covers painting on anything, painting WITH anything, surface treatments, spatial effects, texture, transfers, collage and mixed media, innovative stenciling and line work, how to customize your paint, simulating other medium (this one was new for me), magical effects and finishing sheen's and then the basic clean up and care of your art supplies.
I have to say the one thing that made me smile and was a great reminder was just a little tip box on page 11 about keeping your acrylic containers from getting stuck and difficult to open by putting a thin coat of petroleum jelly around the top outside edge of the jar or plastic wrap between the jar top and lid.
Since I had a rough time opening a jar of medium that I brought back from Florida I wish I had remembered this tip.

Peak Vitality, Raising the Threshold of Abundance in Our Material, Spiritual and Emotional Lives

This book is PACKED and I mean PACKED with information from about 53 different big name authors, about how to boost your energy levels in every single aspect of your life.
There are short chapters where you get a short condensed version of the big names' most powerful wisdom.
What I like about it is that the distilled information is good and if I am really interested in more I can check out the person's original books on the subject.
Mehmet Oz, Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Alice Walker, Ling Chen, Marianne Williamson, Stanley Krippner and Eckhart Tolle are just a few of the big names in this book. It's edited by Jeanne M. House and I think she did an interesting job of it.

Digital Family Album

I found this in Joann's Fabric Store. I used my newsletter coupon on it so the $25.00 price was 40% less.
If I could find my Digital Book for Dummies I probably wouldn't have needed this one. Or maybe it's Photoshop for Dummies, I can't remember. Either way, I have Photoshop and I'm not getting the most use out of it so I looked through this book and it covers a great deal of information.
She uses Photoshop Elements and spends an entire chapter introducing it and going over all the basic editing options.
There are ten chapters filled with information about building a family web site, scrapbooking pages, books and announcements, greeting cards, calendars and so on.
It looks to be a good basic book for your library if you are interested in improving your digital skills.
I bought my Photoshop Elements used at Amazon and I have to say I have had 99% good luck with all the used items. That ranges from CDs to DVDs to computer programs and almost all of my books ordered. The only problem I had once was that one book, in great condition was actually a library book. No biggie, I suspect they ended up paying for it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Aren't these interesting?

I went to the library after the snow stopped. I took my camera and checked out the Fall Fashion Issue of Bazzar magazine. These two pages look a lot like journal pages don't they? They were done by Franzois-Marie Banier for Dianevon Furstenberg. I just love them.

Creative Paint Workshop

I have a DVD by Ann Baldwin called Telling Stories with collage & paint. If you are new to selecting materials, images, layering, color choices and texture, it's a wonderful DVD to own.

In this book she expands on that DVD and included encaustic, digital images and Golden products.

It a wonderful workbook done in a spiral binding which frankly I wish all art books would do. I often take them in to Kinko's and have them remove the spine and replace it with a spiral one. I like a book to lay flat when I am studying a process.

If you have been doing mixed media for a while or collaging for a good bit this isn't the book for you. The pictures of her work are wonderful. Books are expensive and this one has a list price of $25.00