Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ann Martin's 'All Things Paper'

For some time, I have been an admirer of Ann Martin. Ann is a quilling (paper filigree) enthusiast with a deep store of knowledge about creative paper art and paper craft. On her wonderful blog All Things Paper, Ann features some of the most creative artists profiled anywhere on the Web. In addition to images of unique, often exquisite, or just-plain-fun paper art, Ann posts book reviews, interviews, video, and tutorials, and frequently turns her spotlight on "novice artisans with big ideas". She scouts the world virtually, bringing to bear her unerring instinct for beauty and quality. I credit Ann with sparking my own curiosity about all forms of paper art and with heightening my own appreciation for paper's versatility.

I'm delighted now to turn the spotlight on Ann. 

Not only is Ann the estimable curator of others' inspired artistic creations. She herself is a designer of paper projects for books, magazines, and Websites; a creator of beautiful custom quilled marriage certificates and invitations; and the author of the recently published All Things Paper: 20 Unique Projects from Leading Paper Crafters, Artists, and Designers (Tuttle Publishing, June 2013).*

Ann's book reflects the care and attention she brings to everything she touches. The artists (some have been highlighted at Ann's blog) are accomplished and varied in artistic approach. The Artist Gallery and Directory at the back of the book keys the artists' photos to the project title(s) and page number(s), and, conveniently, includes the urls for the contributors' primary Websites, blogs, or shops.

Ann gathers in one place a manageable number of projects, ranging from the simple to the more complex—enough to generate and hold the interest of first-timer paper crafters as well as keep the already skilled excited about tackling something new. Anyone drawn to paper craft who is willing to move patiently through the entire collection, from easiest to most challenging project, will experience a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. . . and have a set of clever, stylish, and functional pieces to show off, too.

Ann beautifully organizes the project presentations (all were written and photographed by the original artists in their own studios) within four categories: Home Decor (e.g., candle luminaries, phone book letter holders, silhouette portraits), Fashion Accessories (e.g., totes made of brown bag handles), Jewelry (e.g., fine paper yarn necklaces, antique key pendants), and Correspondence. That last category encompasses how-to techniques for cards for special occasions such as weddings, dual-purpose gift tags, and a hand-made travel journal that's perfect for keeping a record of Artist Dates a la Julia Cameron.

Each well-laid-out project is complemented by lively text set off with excellent photographs—appealing to users who respond to visual guides. An easy-reference list of supplies (none of these projects will break the bank) is given for every project, step-by-step instructions are written clearly and succinctly, and an array of tips, which could come only from the experienced and practiced artists themselves, is provided. Brief background on each artist is framed on the page introducing her (or, in one case, his) project.

Ann also provides a feature I especially appreciate: the artists' candid, often insightful comments to her question, "Why paper?" The responses are encouraging and motivating and betray the passion the artists have for their art and craft.

What else is noteworthy? The excellent paper stock, which should hold up fairly well with continual reference (although a spiral binding to keep the book flat when open would have been particularly helpful), and the use of eye-catching colors that enhance the book's overall design but, most important, keep the text readable. The inclusion of helpful diagrams and true-size templates that can be copied repeatedly are a bonus.

If you enjoy making things by hand, are drawn to the surprising array of objects that can be crafted from different kinds of paper, or are just looking for a new artistic challenge, pick up a copy of Ann's book. And then pick up another to give as a gift. 

Ann Martin's All Things Paper on FaceBookTwitter, Pinterest, and Google

* I received my copy through the publisher.

1 comment:

Louise Gallagher said...

Between you and Glynn, my bookshelf keeps groaning! (with delight) :)