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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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inspired

First review of the year: Creative Paper Cutting

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Full title: Creative Paper Cutting; fifteen paper sculptures to inspire and delight

Author: Cheong-ah Hwang

ISBN: 978 1 86108 9205

Publisher: GMC Publications Ltd

Price: RRP £14.99 (from £10.31 via Amazon)

About: 15 paper cutting projects aimed mainly at beginners and young people, with information on tools/materials.

Here’s what I loved:

♦ The book encourages ‘out of the box’ thinking, promoting the creation of: ‘intricate artworks that can adorn walls, be sent as greetings cards or encased in quirky containers, such as empty pocket watches, glass pendants or clocks’ (inner cover description)

♦ Cheong-ah promotes the use of recycled materials, mentioning it on several occasions, including in the interesting introduction, in which you can also detect her passion for her art.

♦ Unlike some art/craft books she doesn’t assume you that have prior knowledge of materials, with a good section of the book dedicated to explaining essentials such as paper weight and techniques, which brings me to my next point…

♦ Whilst some craft books jump straight in to the projects, Hwang takes you step-by-step through the processes before you even pick up your tools (another reason why I feel this book is more suited to young people and absolute beginners)

♦ The book is aesthetically pleasing. It’s something I mention often when reviewing, but it’s so important to draw the reader in and keep that interest. There’s an abundance of images, a huge colour element, and even a quirky font.

♦ The projects offer variety – from your everyday greetings card, to a plaque, and even an upcycled pocket watch project!

♦ There are also useful (and interesting) extras at the end of the book, such as websites to visit, book recommendations, and suppliers.

What I didn’t love so much…

◊ Some of the designs look very simplistic and child-like (such as ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and ‘Kraken and Submarine’) so if you’re already a paper cutting enthusiast this book probably isn’t for you. That being said, this would be a great book for absolute beginners to learn the ropes, and could be the gateway to some advanced designs. I imagine some of these projects working well in schools or with youngsters, particularly the ‘Coat of Arms’ project.

Conclusion:

Useful for some – beginners and those wanting to gain confidence in paper cutting, as well as offering some project ideas for young people. A light-hearted way to spend a rainy afternoon, rather than a serious reference for practising artists.

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Good news! I’ve just added some unique, ready-framed paper art of my own to my online shop. Click the picture to find out more…

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Creativity inspires creativity

‘House by the Railroad’, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’,’The Goldfinch’…what do all these paintings have in common? The fact that they inspired someone enough to fuel their own inspiration, and create a whole narrative.

Over the past two weeks I’ve been considering the way in which we view art and allow our thoughts and impressions to create meaning beyond that intended by the artist. It cast my mind back to my dissertation, titled: ‘Forms of perception: To what extent does our physiology influence our interpretation of symbolic images in comparison to learnt cultural influences?’It’s interesting to see how one persons interpretation of a scenario can differ so vastly from another, which is exactly what happened last week when my writing group was presented with Georges Seurat’s ‘A Sunday on La Grande Jatte’ (1884).

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - 1884
Seurat,1884,source link

With the majority of us having limited background knowledge on the piece (therefore being influenced  by contextual aspects only to a very small degree) the way in which each individual ‘read’ what was happening in the scene differed from person to person.

Last week I took you on a tour of my work space, including my ‘inspiration wall’, which contains many art postcards. The images that make it to my wall all have one thing in common: they take me somewhere else. They’re not just images, they’re visual stories which set my mind on a path to either imagined places, or evoke a feeling or memory. Below are some wonderful works from very talented artists whose work sets you wondering about the story behind the image. (Please click title links for full size and additional info)

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‘Dark Forest’

Nick Tripiciano

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‘Under the Table’

Dario Mekler

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‘Tribute to Debi Bismarck’

Dustin Panzino (Inkwell Illustration)

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And my own work open for interpretation: ‘One for Sorrow‘ Oil & pencil.

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Did you guess the books/movie linked with the artwork mentioned in the beginning?

‘House by the Railroad’ 1925 by Edward Hopper is said to have inspired the Bates house in Psycho.

‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ 1665 by Johannes Vermeer inspired the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier and was later turned into a film.

‘The Goldfinch’ 1654 by Carel Fabritius inspired the book of the same name by Donna Tartt.

Taking Great Photos – Quick book review

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Title: The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos: Foolproof techniques to make your handmade creations shine online

Author: Heidi Adnum

Publisher: Search Press Ltd (21st Dec 2011)

Price: £12.99

Are you a crafter looking to show off your work online? Or perhaps an artist wanting to show your work in it’s best light? Whether you’re a complete novice in the world of photography, or are an old hand just looking for tips and ideas on brushing up your skills, then this is the book for you!

Organised into logical chunks and divided by craft (for example ‘fashion & fabrics’ and ‘knitting & needle craft’) the book is easy to navigate your way around, whilst also having the benefit of visual examples to accompany written instructions, for those of us who learn better by demonstration rather than text alone.

However, to fully understand the layout I strongly recommend scanning the contents pages before you begin (something often overlooked in eagerness to ‘get stuck in’) as subjects such as ‘light’ are found not only in the ‘camera basics’ section, but also further on in the ‘DIY accessories tutorials’ section, which without understanding the layout could cause confusion.

What’s wonderful about the book is that, unlike some photography books, it’s not automatically assumed that the reader has extensive, or even further than a basic understanding of photography, and guides you step-by-step, from the very beginning (getting to grips with a camera) to the very end (editing, uploading, and generally making use of your photos).

The book also includes interviews with practitioners who work within each subject area, for example knitting, and presents relevant questions. This allows beginners to learn from other’s experiences, saving time spent ‘hitting and missing’ – this has already been done for you! and the resulting conclusions/tips there for the taking.

The book also takes into consideration cost, meaning it’s in-tune with the reality of the often limited budget of artists and crafters. What you spend on purchasing this book, you could potentially save on photography equipment. The section ‘DIY accessories tutorials’ offers relatively simple and low-effort (not to mention inexpensive) ways of creating everything from a tripod, to a light tent and light box.

My second recommendation is to arm yourself with a pen and notepad and take notes as you read, as there are so many useful hints and tips throughout. After reading the book I came away with several pages of useful advice. Below are my top 5 favourite:

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  1. Read your camera manual! (yes, it may sound obvious, but we’re often so eager to get started with our gadgets that we fail to consult the manual. Learn the modes/settings on your camera)
  2. Plan your shoot beforehand
  3. To show the scale of your fabric, use items involved in the making, for example, dressmaker’s scissors
  4. You can add ‘value’ to your photo by using your own packaging and props
  5. Make use of what’s around you – try shooting in a forest or somewhere industrial

 

This book is available on Amazon .

 

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