When I was at university I wrote book reviews on a regular basis – first for the student magazine, then for an independent newspaper that started up in Adelaide. I read some fantastic books, and some truly horrific books, but I enjoyed reviewing every single one.
I’ve been meaning for a long time to write some book reviews for this blog. When my copy of Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell turned up this afternoon, I knew this was the perfect opportunity.
Before we begin, I should mention that all the photos in this post are my own, and probably don’t do a very good job of reflecting the quality of the images in the book.
First impressions? This book is way more substantial than I was expecting. Nice thick covers, and 256 pages of a good weight glossy paper. I’m a big fan of the binding – the pages lie nice and flat when you open it, which is such an important factor for a craft book.
I clearly didn’t read the cover at all, because I was stunned to find 75 projects inside. How often do you find that in a craft book? And it’s not as though there are a few hero projects and lots of fillers; they’re all great. They range from fun pom-pom flowers …
… to beautiful Japanese-inspired blossoms.
I’m an enormous peony fan, but they’re hard to come by – even more now that I’ve moved to the sub-tropics. So this bloom will be high on my list of things to make:
The styling in this book is absolutely gorgeous, which is no surprise considering that the authors are designers and stylists, among other things. For the most part, the flowers are decorative enough to fill the page on their own. But where appropriate, they’ve used some gorgeous props, which gives such a lovely feel to the book.
Of course, with any craft book, even the loveliest photography, styling and layout is pointless if the instructions don’t do the job. I’ve only had a cursory read, but the instructions seem comprehensive and easy to follow. There’s an overview of the main techniques, such as fringing and gathering the paper, with a clear progress photograph. Then each flower project has its own step-by-step instructions, complete with a gorgeous composite photograph of all the steps that aligns with the text instructions. This is one of my favourite features of the book, and I would love to see it featured in more books.
Overall, I’m a big fan of how this book has been put together. I was interested to note that Thuss and Farrell appear to have done all the text design, photography, layout – pretty much everything – themselves. It can be really difficult to take on all that and achieve such a cohesive, reader-friendly product, so they really need to be applauded. If you’re looking for a new craft to try out,
On balance, by the time you’ve acquired all the supplies (especially if, like me, you’ll probably have to order them from overseas), these flowers might not be much cheaper than buying a bunch. But they should last for a lot longer and, most importantly, you’ll get to try something fun and new. I’m going to have to go crepe paper shopping so I can show you what I’ve made!