Perri Lewis is about to change the way you think about craft. That is, if you think about craft like I do. With fear and maybe a teeny little bit of loathing. For me this stems from 'not being very good at it' and maybe being 'a little scared of craft'.
The three big blogging trends of the last decade have been weddings, vintage and craft. Interestingly there has always been a crossed over, a venn diagram for unused halls and budding entrepreneurs, if you like. I've always stayed away from the C and W side of Vintage.
That is until now. Ms Lewis is a craft queen and journalist extraordinaire. She is about to birth Material World, The Modern Craft Bible (out November 1st, Virgin Books £18.99) and boy is it good. Even a craft philistine like me can see that.
Lets get the basics out of the way. Its clear, well put together and the pictures are very nice. No journalism awards there, but this is important if you are dipping your toe for the first time.
Reading though the book it becomes clear that Lewis has achieved a first in her field. She has pulled an entire craze out of a quagmire of knitted cupcakes and bad upcycling and plonked it firmly into the desirable. The Blue Peter stigma has been banished to the back of the art cupboard and a whole hoard of useful and attractive designs have been rolled out instead. And no twee. Yes, I will repeat that. NO TWEE. Someone give this lady a medal.
The chapters are split into sections. Lewis shows you a craft basic and then hands you over to the experts (though I would easily place her in that category). And by experts I'm talking Grayson Perry, Philip Treacy, Kaffe Fassett and Lara Bohnic amongst others. This way you are encouraged you to learn the basics and then unleash your own creativity.
The projects are seriously good. Lewis has picked designs that won't out date. A nautical jersey t-shirt dress. A simple red bow hat. She also teaches you the skills at the heart of craft, from screen printing to leather work.
As well as all this damn usefulness Perry's journalism background shines through. She drafts in Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry to slog over the 'art versus craft debate', and the book has an overall clarity consistent with a good communicator and wordsmith.
I like the fact that she admits that craft is not necessarily thrifty. It can actually be more expensive to make you own things, but frankly who cares? More expensive than what? Mass produced child labour? Generic tat? Her book flags this in a refreshingly non patronising manner.
Annoyingly, I simply can't fault it. Do yourself and those around you a favour this Christmas: ditch the rubbish and make something from this book for your loved ones.