Unleash Your Creative Self: New Arts & Crafts Books

As we embrace the changing foliage of red, orange, and yellow, there is no better way to celebrate the slowing down nature of the season than to nourish your creative soul. From making marbled papers to painting projects, be inspired in this month’s new collection of crafts and hobbies books.

The art of paper marbling dates as far back as 1118 in Japan. Over the centuries, several marbling techniques have been developed, making paper marbling a quintessential craft to try. In the book Making Traditional Marbled Papers, Kate Brett walks us through its history and encourages us to try several techniques that can be practiced and appreciated by anyone.

Why not catch the mood of the changing season with a brush and palette of colours? Watercolor for the Soul: Simple painting projects for beginners, to calm, soothe and inspire and Still Life : Techniques and tutorials for the complete beginner offers tips and easy-to-follow exercises that are friendly enough to match any skill level, which makes approaching a blank page a positive experience.

With the changing season comes the cold snaps of winter weather. What better way to celebrate this time of the year than to show off your newly-made Peruvian ch’ullu hat, fingerless gloves and Bohus-style Peerie socks! Cozy Knits: 30 hat, mitten, scarf, and sock projects from around the world features an assortment of knitting projects inspired by people, places and traditions around the world. Likewise, if you fancy building up your knitted wardrobe collection, A Knitter’s Guide to Shawl Design explores different techniques and tips in creating your very own shawl. With an abundance of projects in Nordic colourwork, the book Traditional Nordic Knits: Over 40 hats, mittens, gloves, and socks is packed with stunning photographs complete with illustrated patterns and informative guides that would definitely inspire you to grab those knitting needles again.

Lastly, in the book Bonnie the Cow & Her Crocheted Friends: 20 loveable animals & birds to crochet using chunky yarn, Claire Gelder reimagines your traditional crochet projects using super chunky yarn! With straightforward instructions, varying difficulty level and easy-to-follow patterns, you may find yourself snuggling up with your own creation of Bonnie the Cow during movie nights.

Making traditional marbled papers / Brett, Kate
“Paper marbling is a beautiful craft with a long history that can be traced back to Japan in the twelfth century. This practical book introduces traditional patterns and explains the techniques that are used creatively today. It covers the history of marbling – from its origins in Japan to Persia, Turkey and then Europe in the seventeenth century. The process from preparing the size, to adding the paints, creating the pattern and then treating the sheets is covered in detail. Creative uses for marbling are given including step-by-step sequences for a range of projects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watercolor for the soul : simple painting projects for beginners, to calm, soothe and inspire / Stevens, Sharone
“Learn to use watercolor to soothe your soul with this beginner’s guide to painting for relaxation. Many watercolor books focus on the result of your painting, but this approach looks at the process of painting as a means to de-stress, with easy exercises for absolute beginners. The aim is to create art that relaxes both the artist and the viewer.” (Catalogue)

Still life : techniques and tutorials for the complete beginner / Johns, Susie
“Learn how to draw and paint sill life with this straightforward, accessible guide. With expert guidance you will discover how to construct simple, appealing still-life arrangements and create beautiful works of art using a range of beginner-friendly materials and techniques. Ten progressive step-by-step tutorials will help you to master this rewarding art form.”–Page 4 of cover” (Catalogue)

 

Cozy knits : 30 hat, mitten, scarf, and sock projects from around the world
“Cozy Knits presents 50 of the coziest, globally-inspired patterns for hats, mittens, and gloves-including stylish traditional projects from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, the British Isles, the Americas, and Asia.” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

 

A knitter’s guide to shawl design / Vining, Emma
“As a desirable item of fashion, a cherished gift or a wardrobe essential, the shawl enjoys enduring popularity among knitters and non-knitters alike. A Knitter’s Guide to Shawl Design will inspire knitters of all levels to personalize their knitting and create original shawl designs. Author Emma Vining describes her own design processes, encouraging readers to explore and experiment with shawl shapes and stitch patterns. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, sketches and explanatory diagrams, this book explores tradition and innovation in shawl design.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Traditional Nordic knits : over 40 hats, mittens, gloves, and socks / Wallin, Johanna
“The classic Nordic knitting tradition is a widely-respected—and increasingly popular—source of exquisite patterns and design inspiration all over the world. 15 time-honoured patterns become over 40 different projects, gracing mittens, gloves, hats, and socks through designs suitable for all levels of experience, and each project is introduced with an example of a historic knitted item and a fascinating explanation of the pattern’s background and origin.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Bonnie the Cow & her friends : 20 loveable animals & birds to crochet using chunky yarn / Gelder, Claire
“Dragon’s Den winner Claire Gelder presents a new collection of crochet animals to crochet in chunky yarn. Bonnie the Highland Cow and Isla her calf, as well as other adorable, crocheted companions will complete your cozy companion set. With soft, chunky yarn and long, floppy limbs, you’ll have no choice but to pick them up, or snuggle on the sofa with them. Oversized, and full of life, these toys are about 28in tall and the babies measure about 14in. The projects are aimed at beginners to improvers, and are suitable for someone who has mastered the basics of crochet. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Start painting and explore your creativity

One way to relax and find normality in the current situation is through creating artworks. We’ve selected a range of techniques and materials to help you explore your creativity: watercolour, acrylic, sketch and digital drawing.

  • LinkedIn Learning has resources for artistic-minded people, include photography, 3D rendering, graphic design, animation and more. Click here.

5-minute watercolor : super-quick techniques for amazing paintings / Nielsen, Samantha
“A comprehensive guide to quick sketching in watercolor and a new addition to a successful series. 5-Minute Watercolor is the perfect way to focus your energies on producing a great painting. This bite-sized approach will help readers to make watercolor painting a part of their everyday lives. Every spread in the book features five expert tips and ideas, as well as examples of amazing 5-minute watercolor sketches to inspire readers.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Stitch, fibre, metal & mixed media / Midgelow-Marsden, Alysn
“Author shows how to use both textile-based and mixed media techniques to create beautiful artworks using metal in the forms of shim, foil and woven fabric alongside many other materials. Inspiring techniques include machine stitching, gilding, embossing, needle felting, beading, printing, appliqué, making stitched foil fabric and using dry decal transfer images. Eight beautiful projects include lampshade, bauble pods, a memory lampshade, decorative panels and a tablet cover. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sketch! / Belleville-Van Stone, France
“An inspirational manual for integrating sketching into daily life for artists and non-artists alike with instruction on turning rough sketches into finished work. By sharing her own creative process, which includes sketching by hand and digitally, Author emboldens readers to craft a method of their own and devote more time to art, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Sketch Your World will inspire artists both established and aspiring to rethink their daily practice, sketch for the pure joy .” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The elements of landscape oil painting : techniques for rendering sky, terrain, trees, and water / Brooker, Suzanne
“Landscape painting is one of the most popular subjects for painters working in the medium of oils. Author presents the fundamentals for mastering landscape oil painting. With additional lessons on the latest brushes, paints, and other tools. Key methods like observation, rendering, and color mixing are supported by demonstration paintings and samples from a variety of the best landscape oil painters. (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The paint pouring workshop : learn to create dazzling abstract art with acrylic pouring / Ferro, Marcy
“Jump into the exciting world of paint pouring and instantly create dazzling, abstract art. Paint pouring involves using a free-flowing acrylic paint mixture created with a pouring medium, such as glue and water. Author demonstrates a range of skills and techniques, from setting up paint-proof workspace and control your pours; the dirty pour and flip cup; and manipulating paint with a hair dryer or string. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

How to paint living portraits / Clark, Roberta Carter
“Back in print by popular demand, How to Paint Living Portraits has been updated to help today’s artists discover the joys of this time-honored tradition. Hands-on instruction offering a practical approach to creating successful, spirited portraits in charcoal, oils and watercolor. Offers instruction on painting the figure, hands and clothing. Addresses common stumbling blocks of skin and hair. Illustrates simple and complex lighting set-ups for achieving multiple moods and effect. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Sketch your world : essential techniques for drawing on location / Hobbs, James
“Packed with accessible tutorials and inside tips and advice from contemporary artists, Sketch your World is the ultimate handbook for anyone seeking to explore the exciting creative possibilities afforded by sketching on location. Includes tips for digital sketching with tablets and phones.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

New Zealand in the eye of artists

From time to time, we may stop and cherish the beautiful sceneries around us. Thanks to these artists who freeze the beautiful moments onto canvas, now we can cherish New Zealand scenery along with the rest of the world. This blog also includes artists’ work using different techniques.

Looking for the light : landscape photographs of New Zealand / Latham, Peter
“New Zealand born landscape photographer presents this epic collection of his most popular gallery fine-art prints, together with numerous new images of the New Zealand landscape. Peter’s poetic eye and unique presentation has earned him a coveted reputation in the elusive art market. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Grahame Sydney : paintings 1974-2014 / Sydney, Grahame
“Grahame’s paintings of the Central Otago landscape and the wider South Island are known and loved by large numbers of New Zealanders at home and abroad, and have become touchstones that reflect the depth of feeling many people have for this country. His work now spans over four decades and encompasses oils, watercolours, egg tempera, lithographs, etching, photography and film. (Adapted from the catalogue)

Van der Velden : Otira / Vangioni, P. J.
“Petrus van der Velden is one of New Zealand’s keystone artists, and this sumptuous publication brings together major examples of his ground-breaking Otira series from public and private lenders throughout New Zealand. It highlights the manner in which van der Velden’s art has resonated throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Drawing the Waitakere Coast / Binney, D. H.
“In 2008, painter Don Binney completed 24 charming coloured pencil drawings of Auckland’s West Coast, from Huia to Te Henga (Bethells). They are evocative of the coast so many New Zealanders love and they are magnificent works in themselves. They are accompanied by text commenting on the landmarks shown in each of the drawings. “(Catalogue)

Art New Zealand.
“Art New Zealand is the major visual arts journal in New Zealand. First published in 1976, it has consistently surveyed New Zealand’s contemporary art with rigour and professionalism. It is essential reading and reference for those interested in New Zealand art. Its place in the art world is secure and its reputation is unequalled.” (Publisher’s website)

Artists’ impressions of New Zealand
“Denis Robinson’s latest offering is something of an artist’s road trip around New Zealand. There is a wide variety of techniques displayed in the work, and often this seems related to place, like central Otago, which attracts oil painters than Wellington, where watercolourists dominate the painting landscape. Denis Robinson has once again achieved a portfolio of striking artworks that not only demonstrates the deep well of artistic talent in this country, but also reflects the scenic beauty that surrounds us.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Easy to make Craft Projects for our Young Readers!

Find easy to make craft projects to inspire both you and your children and have fun crafting together. Enjoy!


Low-mess crafts for kids : 72 projects to create your own magical worlds / Chapman, Debbie
“Messy crafts have met their match with these 72 creations that keep out the clutter and mess but pack in the fun and creativity. With tricks like twisting pipe cleaners into fun shapes to avoid glue and using brightly colored cups and patterned paper to avoid paint, keeping it simple doesn’t mean play time has to be less fun. Low-Mess Crafts for Kids brings parents and caretakers solutions to the craft time conundrum.” (adapted from Catalogue)

100 things to recycle and make / Hayes, Fiona
100 Things to Recycle and Make brings together the most popular projects from the Crafty Makes series, using everyday objects to create an amazing range of crafty makes. Children will be entertained for hours with this invaluable collection of crafty makes, and even the whole family can be involved in recycling everyday objects and turning them into exciting projects.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Needle felting : 20 cute projects to felt from wool / Herian, Emma
“Unlike many crafts, needle felting is very forgiving to beginners, so there’s no excuse not to give it a shot. No matter how much experience you have in crafts or how creative you think you are, needle felting offers endless possibilities. Relax into it, have a go and see where it takes you.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Finger knitting for kids : super cute & easy things to make / Teranishi, Eriko
“Now kids can create their very own knitted accessories! This book provides easy-to-follow instructions for 15 fun knitting projects for kids. With a wide range of projects, interests and skill levels throughout the book, crafty kids 5-12 will be making original knitted creations in no time! Lessons on making and adding embellishments like pompoms, tassels and loops introduce kids to the wonderful world of yarn crafting. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

When Doves Craft : Ten Projects Inspired by the Artist / Insight Editions (COR)
“Combining the artistry of Prince with the fun of crafting, this delightful book celebrates the artist’s biggest hits in ten step-by-step projects. When Doves Craft is ideal for beginner crafters as well as those looking for something completely unique. Including inspirational quotes and facts about Prince, it is a perfect tribute to the most creative artist of them all.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Around the world craft & design book / Eaton, Kait
“Discover, draw and design cultural artifacts from around the world with this fun and creative activity book. Lonely Planet Kids’ Around the World Craft & Design Book contains a mix of exciting projects that can be made from common household items. Colorful illustrations, photos and fun facts introduce young artists to different cultures and encourage them to create and showcase their unique designs. We want to inspire the next generation of global citizens and help kids and their parents to approach life in a way that makes every day an adventure. Come explore” (adapted from Catalogue)

Cloth / Llimós Plomer, Anna
“Guaranteed to spark children’s imagination, this book shows how easy it is to make a wide range of whimsical cloth objects using commonly available fabrics such as wool, felt, burlap, and cleaning cloths. In five easy steps, kids will have fun crafting everything from a three-dimensional dog, to a marionette, pompom keychain, and textile collage. These experiments in color, texture, and shape will provide hours of hands-on entertainment.” (Catalogue)

Keep Calm and Carry On: New art books

Bomberg

In our most recent art picks we invite you to “keep calm and carry on” appreciating art. Whether your interests lie in 20th century artists such as David Bomberg and Mark Dion, instructional books, recounts of the influences of art or evolutionary tales of Manga through comics, cartoons and animation, or a WW2 slogan, we have quite the selection for you.

Book Jacket for: Keep calm and carry on : the truth behind the posterKeep calm and carry on : the truth behind the poster / Lewis, Bex
“‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has become one of the most recognizable slogans of the twenty-first century. But where is it from and why has it resonated so strongly with the modern British public? This book reveals the truth behind the now infamous poster, tracing its origins to the Second World War, when it was created to allay public panic in the event of a German invasion. Later seized upon as an encouragement in the economic crisis, ‘Keep Calm’ went on to become arguably the most successful meme in history.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Draw your weaponsDraw your weapons / Sentilles, Sarah
“A literary collage with hope at its core, Sentilles tells the true stories of Howard, a conscientious objector during World War II, and Miles, a former prison guard at Abu Ghraib, and in the process she challenges conventional thinking about how war is waged, witnessed, and resisted. The pacifist and the soldier both create art in response to war. Asking questions such as, what impact can one person have? And how should we respond to violence when it feels like it can’t be stopped?” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: BombergBomberg / MacDougall, Sarah
“This monograph on the influential 20th-century British artist David Bomberg (1890-1957) accompanies a major new exhibition curated by the authors. A comprehensive account, providing an informed and accessible overview of Bomberg’s career and achievements, combining a biographical narrative with an analytical and interpretative approach. Including new material relating to Bomberg’s Jewish background and sumptuous illustrations.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Mangasia : the definitive guide to Asian comicsMangasia : the definitive guide to Asian comics / Gravett, Paul
“An exhaustive and visually engaging account, Mangasia charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late nineteenth-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons and animation created throughout Asia for more than one hundred years. With infographics, maps, timelines, and reproductions from all across Asia, this book is the first to explain the significance of key themes, the meanings of embodied myths and the connections between various manga traditions.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: In celebration of Cecil Collins : visionary artist and educatorIn celebration of Cecil Collins : visionary artist and educator
“Cecil Collins is arguably one of the greatest English visionary artists since Blake and Palmer. With emblematic figures such as the Fool, and the Sibyl in extraordinary landscapes, Collins portrayed an original and inspiring philosophy of life. Recognized as belonging to the Neo-Romantic movement of poetical art, his dedication to depicting his mystic understanding made his work highly distinctive.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Mark Dion : misadventures of a 21st-century naturalistMark Dion : misadventures of a 21st-century naturalist / Erickson, Ruth
“Part of a generation of artists expanding institutional critique in the 1990s, Dion adopted the methods of the archaeologist or the natural history museum, juxtaposing natural objects, taxidermy, books, and more to reorganize the natural and the manmade in poetic, witty ways. Generously illustrated, this publication introduces new insights and features more than seventy-five artworks.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: Ann Blockley's watercolour workshop : projects and interpretations.Ann Blockley’s watercolour workshop : projects and interpretations./ Blockley, A 
“Artist Ann Blockley is renowned for her innovative approach to watercolour painting. Her highly anticipated new book provides a series of workshops demonstrating how to push the boundaries of watercolour, using key techniques to develop your own work and take your paintings to the next level. Her beautiful and inspirational artworks demonstrate how different interpretations of a subject might take an unexpected or unusual direction, and how to make the most of these opportunities.” (Adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Book Jacket for: Wanted : the search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn TaylorWanted : the search for the modernist murals of E. Mervyn Taylor
“The detective hunt for some of this country’s most important and beautiful murals. Mervyn Taylor was one of the most celebrated New Zealand artists of the 1930s to 1960s. He was highly connected to modernism and nationalism as it was expressed in the New Zealand art and literature of the period. This fascinating and beautiful book, bursting with archival material, details the detective hunt for his murals and tells the stories of their creation.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Book Jacket for: The art of buying art : how to evaluate and buy art like a professional collectorThe art of buying art : how to evaluate and buy art like a professional collector / Bamberger, Alan S.
“This classic, since its original publication in 1990, has been revised to bring it completely up to date and make it internationally relevant. It now includes information on the internet (researching and buying directly from artists), global art fairs and the contemporary art world. Without a doubt the best and most readily understandable book on how to buy, sell, price, evaluate, appraise and collect artworks for any art buyer, not just collectors no previous knowledge of art or the art business is necessary.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

July school holiday activities are here!

Would your kids like to learn how to paint like a renaissance artist?

If so, head along to your local library in the school holidays to find out how artists in the Middle Ages created their masterpieces, and then there’ll be an opportunity for your kids to have a go themselves. They might even find themselves painting upside down just like Michelango – so lots of creative messy fun will be had (tell them to wear their old clothes!).

These events are for 7–12 year olds – bookings are not required.

Here’s where and when these activities are happening:Poster Small

Central Library:

Wednesday 9th July, 11am – 12noon

Island Bay Community Centre:

Tuesday 15th July, 10.30am – 11.30am

Karori Library:

Wednesday 16th July, 11am – 12noon

Miramar Library:

Thursday 17th July, 11am – 12noon

Johnsonville Library:

Thursday 17th July, 11am – 12noon

school holidays jul14