Book Review: Wise Craft

Suzanne Buck
2 min read
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What’s old is repurposed, what’s repurposed is new and what’s new is pretty darn adorable in Blair Stocker’s new craft book, Wise Craft. An outgrowth of her blog of the same name, Stocker’s beautifully detailed book contains 60 craft ideas, helpfully divided into seasons, all gorgeously photographed and with step-by-step instructions.

Craft books usually fall into two categories, both of which are infinitely annoying to the casual crafter. The first is the pseudo-simple but secretly high-end book, which promises easy, breezy, lovely items for gifting or home décor, but which cost absurd amounts of time and money as you scurry between craft stores searching for the impossible-to-locate, ridiculously expensive items on the supply list. Wait, you don’t have a dedicated kiln room in your house? Then where will you fire the Saharan clay pot tinted with dyes derived from roots found only in Nepal, chewed by artisanal yaks and sieved through silk from your own silkworms?

The second is the book written by deeply self-deluded crafters who want to convince you that an item cobbled together with bits of twigs and string and a glue gun, with pebbles from the inside of your kids’ shoes for decoration, is something that anyone over 6 would want in their home or as a gift.

What Stocker does so well is guide the crafter toward the creation of useful, lovely, sometimes cheeky items, all using reimagined elements of objects easily found in the home or in a thrift shop. The projects are at the skill level of nearly any crafter, with no special knowledge required beyond some stitching, gluing and crocheting.

In her book you’ll find repurposed oxford shirts, gloriously transformed into cozy, chic quilts; bracelets made with ribbons and buttons and assorted pieces of gorgeousness hiding in the bottom of your jewelry box; along with witty ideas for the holidays, like upcycled gift jars adorned with mini felt scarves or old Barbies reborn as zombie dolls (something I absolutely must make this Halloween).

While her instructions are easy to follow for the novice, they are fluid enough to allow for further embellishment or a bump in difficulty level for the more experienced crafter. All in all, it’s a wonderful resource for those who want to create without accumulating.

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