The U.P. Craft Council flourished for many years in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In the early 1990s this non-profit group of artists and crafts people disbanded. Since that time a small bank account languished with no clear mission. After banking regulations and fees became too much to deal with, the remaining members of the group decided to donate the funds to the Peter White Public Library to purchase books for artists and crafts people. In all, 40 new titles were purchased.
Some of these new books have arrived and are available on the new book display. These items can also be accessed by interlibrary loan by residents of the U.P. and Michigan. Wide access to the materials was an important consideration for the remaining members of the group, because the original members of the U.P. Craft Council lived from one end of the U.P. to the other.
Hardanger Embroidery by Frederique Marfaing describes this Norwegian technique that uses simple stitches and pulled threads to create beautiful geometric designs. The book is a complete and easy-to-follow introduction to the craft. There are step-by-step directions for stitching 43 different embroidery building blocks. Charts and instructions are provided for 18 projects.
Basketry, A World Guide to Traditional Techniques by Bryan Sentence is a beautiful book that provides a worldwide survey of basket making. It covers materials, techniques, decoration, everyday baskets and non-traditional forms. Beautiful photographs and comprehensive text inform the reader about many aspects of basketry.
The craft of felting, making wool fibers into dense matted fabric, is gaining in popularity and Ruth Lane's The Complete Photo Guide to Felting provides information about wet felting, needle felting and nuno felting. Easy to follow photos, charts and directions provide the basics as well as more challenging projects. This book provides advice from expert felters and is a great resource for anyone interested in this craft.
Making Etched Metal Jewelry by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae helps jewelry makers add dimension and interest to copper, brass and silver materials. Etching techniques for metals and safety considerations are described. 17 projects incorporating beads, wirework, fabric, ribbon, photos and soldering are included in this handy manual.
Karen Karon provides contemporary projects using the ancient art of chain maille in her Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop. This book describes the techniques needed for weaving with wire rings. Color illustrations, detailed diagrams and helpful tips will allow anyone to create a project that suits their skill level.
Lisa Pavelka is an award-wining artist, writer and internationally recognized authority on polymer clay. The Complete Book of Polymer Clay provides an inspiration gallery, easy-to- follow instructions and numerous projects created with this versatile medium. More than 70 techniques, 400 color photos and a gallery of art by top designers are all included in this instructional handbook.
The forests of the U.P. provide a variety of materials for wood carvers. Interest in this craft has grown, and a number of books about carving were purchased with U.P. Craft Council funds.
Carving in the Round by Andrew Thomas provides seven projects to inspire the artist and develop an understanding of form, design, artistic creativity and technical knowledge. Readers will be able to select one of the projects and create a wave, fossil, cat, female torso, swan, emperor penguin or humpback whale.
The Art of Stylized Wood Carving by Charles Solomon and David Hamilton features insights from 14 top woodcarving artists and five step-by-step projects. The goal of this book is to help the artist develop artistic expression in his or her work. Creating movement, style and detail are explained in order for the artist to develop the skills needed to create a realistic and beautiful carvings.
Curtis Badger is a freelance writer and photographer. He has won a number of awards and is the author of Stackpole's popular Carving Basics series. How to Paint-Fish Carving Basics and Eyes-Bird Carving Basics are two titles from this series.
Bird carvers will also be interested in Heads and Eyes by Jack B. Kochan is a primer on creating these important features on carved birds.
Lori Corbett helps carvers create realistic songbirds with the comprehensive reference guide Carving Award-Winning Songbirds. This encyclopedia includes information on carving, sculpting and painting realistic looking songbird carvings for artists at any level.
The U.P. Craft Council may be a thing of the past, but their mission to develop an appreciation of traditional crafts and to instruct and improve the skills of crafts persons live on in the collection they have provided to the Peter White Public Library.