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Is it art? Is it craft?

fun crafts cover

Fun Crafts

I was all set to make fun of the cover and was prepared for a book about some crafts from plastic eggs, or maybe something straight out of the trash. This book is a bit more arty than I would have guessed from the cover and title of “fun crafts”. The crafts in this book were not what I expected. Instead of some kind of toilet cozy to knit, there were discussions and instructions on some serious looking baskets, metalwork, and wood carving. I am not sure this book qualifies as “fun” since there are some serious supplies and skills needed for the projects. (I am in no position to offer up an opinion on the relative “fun” of these crafts.) I do think this is an example of the cover and title do not reflect the book’s audience. It seemed a bit thin on skills and directions to be an actual manual for instruction, but too complex for an amateur.It did have that oh-so-groovy late 60s modern art vibe though.


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Clay Craft Cuteness

sculpey way cover

The Sculpey Way
with Polymer Clay
Hot Off The Press, Inc.
2002, 2006

I was updating some of my craft materials, and fell upon this lovely item, which went out exactly 3 times since it was purchased. My guess is it was a request purchase for someone and it died on the shelf quite a while ago. I also was surprised that this book wasn’t older. The crafts look a bit dated to me.

I have no doubt that there is skill involved with creating these objects and that there are people that would enjoy this book, but I am not one of them.  All I can think about is that person who likes this kind of stuff making tons of it and displaying it around their house. My next thought is that too many of these little objets d’art means too much dusting.

Personal comment that has nothing to do with this book’s suitability for libraries: hats in the bathtub is just wrong, and let’s just say no to creepy eyes and feathers.


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Good Clean Fun – Soap Carving!

Soap Sculpture coverSoap Sculpture

Submitter: Okay, first off, I always thought soap-carving was something of a joke–something that you hear about, but in which nobody ever actually engaged.  I think the only real reference to soap-carving I ever saw was a “Peanuts” cartoon where Linus was describing to Charlie Brown the elaborate carving of a tall ship he had done, “It took me three days to get the sails right,” and Lucy walks by vigorously lathering up her hands, then cavalierly tosses the remaining soap over her shoulder to Linus, who says “I had planned to show you a replica of a nineteenth century schooner.  Would you settle for a canoe?”

This book dates to around that time period.  It turned up on the sale shelf of my major city’s library, having apparently been purged from the “red dot storage”.  Get this–forty-two years later, it STILL had a “NEW” sticker, in tattered shape, on the cover!

And the cover photo!  It’s excruciatingly badly done, with red dots sloppily applied after the fact in printing.  The overall effect is that of exaggerated lipstick on the mouth, and between that, the eyes, and the headdress, it looks too scarily like a “Mammy doll” for my comfort!

Holly: It is possible that there are soap carvers out there.  I’ve never met one, but it’s possible. The subject isn’t a horrible one for public libraries, but a quick Amazon search shows plenty of newer books than this one.  If you feel like there are soap carvers among your library users, at least get a newer book on the topic.

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