Tuesday, May 25, 2010

craft book review, v & a pattern: slipcase #1

Many years ago, a friend gave me a beautiful book of William Morris wrapping paper. I hoarded it for the longest time, and was somewhat miserly in deeming anyone special enough to deserve a gift wrapped in such a package. It's funny that in retrospect I can't really remember any presents I gave with it, just the pleasure I had in leafing through the papers themselves. Back then, it was much more difficult to find things like this, but these days it's become incredibly easy to bring beauty from museums into your home.

Victoria and Albert Museum in London in particular has embraced the many advantages of technology to reach art lovers from all over the world. Its excellent website offers many interactive features ranging from design contests to printable toys to e-cards and quizzes. I've linked previously to their amazing Patchwork Pattern Maker, in which you can create a quilt pattern for any image--a mind-boggling candy store of options for any seamstress. V & A Museum has truly proven itself an "unparalleled resource for designers."

V & A Pattern: Slipcase # 1 includes four books: William Morris, Indian Florals, Digital Age, and The Fifties, which are also available individually. Each slim hardcover book serves as a catalog of sorts for the cd of vintage textile images included for each book. Readers may download the images and use them however they like for non-commercial purposes, and they may also be licensed by arrangement as well.

Each book has a well-edited variety of designs, although the choice to include two volumes of very traditional prints along with two more modern ones in this slipcase is an interesting one. Still, for a variety-of-styles-household like ours, it's a great choice, and the books offer an exciting array of possibilities for crafters and artists.

A few quick projects I whipped up with these discs and my new Martha Stewart punches included a small, pretty envelope and notecard, as well as a simple paper sleeve for a container of flowers that could easily be turned into a luminary. I love how the textured quality of the fabrics shows in these prints, particularly in the mousepad, which I made through Shutterfly. The possibilities for projects made with these books are endless, from clothing and textiles to paper crafts and beyond.

It's a pleasure to see such a gorgeous images in everyday things, and with next month's release of a companion collection with four new V & A pattern books, it's never been easier to turn ordinary objects into extraordinary ones using textile designs from the museum's beautiful collection.

V & A Pattern: Slipcase # 1
ISBN: 1851775900
320 pages, hardcover slipcase
Price:  $47.50
Color photographs, plus 4 cds
Skill Level:   All
Usability:     Excellent

Photographs and review copy courtesy of V & A Books. 

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