Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Beyond The Japanese Craft Book Fascination

Don't get me wrong, I love Japanese craft books. I even own a few. I mean, I gotta love the fact that there is a Japanese term for the nutty items I seem to churn out like I've just consumed an entire 12-cup pot of coffee with an Excedrin chaser (no I don't really consume this...often) - Amigurumi! Yes, now does this terminology not elevate the status of a crocheted vegetable donning bloodshot eyeball? It's not simply a crafty anomaly. It's an AMIGURUMI for Pete's sake! So there.

Anyway, yes, LOVE the Japanese craft books and apparently so does EVERYONE ELSE out there in crafty blogdom. I cannot tell you how many blogs have post after post dedicated to these books. And rightfully so, but being that I only own a few of these books combined with the fact that (i) you've probably seen the ones I own on another blog already and (ii) you've probably seen the ones I own on another blog already, there's absolutely no need for me to show the few highly publicized Japanese craft books that I own on my blog.

Instead, I am going with an alternate theme: Old Craft Books! Yep, you betcha! Think those scary macrame leaflets from the 70's lack merit? Not to me! There are simply not enough knotted owls with enormous wooden bead beaks in the world IMHO. The same can be said of those texts featuring the art of latch hook. Hairy, beachy sunsets from decades past reminding us of a time when canvas was king and oftentimes found in the same book as the macrame owls! Go figure. Oh yeah, I own a latch hook and I'm proud of it! I just never know when the need to hook a rug will take me by the throat and pin me up against the wall...Ooooops, sorry. That visual was a bit much.

Anyway, embark on a trip down the bibliocrafty memory lane and delight in delicate doilies, a plethora of potholders, teeniebopper twin sets and hats aplenty! Learn to tat, knit a wrap, crochet granny squares amany! Embroider hankies, quilt log cabins, sewing deconstructed. Felted slippers, woven blankets, dolls and toys for every child. These pages are a treasure trove of human hands at work, telling stories, sharing wisdom, teaching others how to dabble successfully in the alchemy of craft.

Leafing through the old musty pages reminds me of decades past sitting with my Nana in her sewing room at the back of my grandparents California ranch house, inhaling the scent of mothballs and wool, hearing the nightly newscast BLARING from the television in the adjacent den accompanied by Poppie's snoring sonatas while "watching" his program. Each an every turn of the page brings forth memories of rummaging through Nana's yarn and fabric stash looking for the perfect piece of fiber for my next project. Gently leafing through her myriad crochet, knitting and sewing books in search of inspiration, waiting for a project to call out to me, begging to be made. Listening to the hum of Nana's sewing machine as it accelerated from zero to sixty in 2.5 seconds, zipping out the most amazing pair of trousers ev-ver! Yes, the pages of Old Craft Books harbor a plethora of hidden treasures, images from another era, memories made, memories shared, each exhibiting the markers of generations, be it clothing or housewares, toys or gifts, all of which urge the reader to turn off the television, step away from the computer and make something with your hands. Go ahead, create something from nothing, enrich your mind and live in the moment. Couldn't we all use a little push like that every now and again? I know I could.

So, without further ado, I give you today's source of inspiration...

POTHOLDERS! Oh, and Hot Platter Mats...



There just aren't enough rockin' potholder books to be had as of late. So, when I need a potholder fix, I get it from pamphlets like this one. Circa 1951, this book has got it all. A little shellfish. A little astrology. And all for the low, low price of 10 cents! C'mon peeps, even your local gumball machine is begging for quarters!



Love this combo: a pineapple; a watermelon; and polka dots all 'round!



Did you say tartan??? Oh yeah, plenty of that amidst the pages of this goodie!



A flat tomato and a Kaffe Fassett precursor...



Your basic square within a square within a square within a....um, you get it.



And tying the whole collection together...my favorite subject matter!



So, what did your hostess with the mostest make from this inspirational crafty wondertext?

You guessed it...Zombie Asparagus! Um, maybe you didn't guess that...



So, I embellished a little. Okay a lot. I can assure you, these Zombie Asparagus have the heart(s) of a potholder and the mind(s) of, yeah, reanimated vegetable monsters. Okay, I tried to make a functional item! I did!

Copyright 2005 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

19 comments:

CraftyCritter said...

Very cool....Great job!
But do they make your pee stinky?
Had to ask.
I really like that squash/eggplant-y thingy at the top too...

lisa s said...

oh yeah, i got those too! vintage craft that is... i'm not biased in the craft area - i'll take it where ever it comes [just bought some 60'/50's knit wear tiny mags]

of course we'd expect zombie asparagus from you! hee hee!

mk said...

I had my eye on those potholder magazines - but I am SO glad you got them. I bow down o Lady of the Linoleum!

Kimberly said...

LOL - great job on the Zombie Asparagus! Oddly enough as I was viewing the pictures down, I thought - "Those would be awesome with eyes on them" and when I get to the bottom...viola!

Wendy said...

OMG, the bondage asaparagus are so funny! Thanks for the laugh.

Kari said...

Zombie Asparagus I love it!!!

Tara said...

Does hollandaise make them stronger, or does it work like Kryptonite?

Jessica said...

I love old craft books, too. I have to keep my hands in my pockets every time we go near a used book store or I'd be craft booked out of house and home. :)

rodentia said...

I have been meaning to crochet myself a teapot cozy in the shape of a rooster for the last week. I don't own a teapot...but intend to buy one once I have a cozy for it. We must be on the same wavelength! I loooove the old-school crochet.

noricum said...

Those zombie asparagus are great! Much better than the original. ;)

Deneen said...

I adore that chicken potholder! The asparagus are too cool! (yes, I do get stinky pee from asparagus, in case you wanted to know).

ladylinoleum said...

Okay you guys...IMHO I do not believe that reanimated asparagus have it in them (being undead and all) to provoke stinky pee.

*I cannot believe I am commenting about this!*

Can I tell you that ebay is God's gift to an old craft book 'ho such as myself???

MK - Lots more mags to be had!

Tara - That's a good question. I must explore the hollandaise issue in future posts.

Deneen - I really bought this mag for the chicken. You know, I cannot get enough chicken stuff!

The Shrone said...

Since the asparagus have eyes does that mean when you are done eating them you can do an orb reading after your meal, sort of like reading tea leaves?

kath red said...

who cares about functional. a friend of mine - porcelain artist always is getting bagged for her non funcional pieces - very bad to be a non functional ceramics artist.

i love a vintage craft book, i have a whole 30 years of german burda - craft /sewing magazines that i am slowly showing off - such inspiration cannot be wasted.

and show show show those puppets!

Jessi said...

ooooooohhhhhh......asparagus. I was just wondering what veggie you would do next. You reading my mind?

Kelly Kell said...

*BIG SMILE*

Stephknits3 said...

As always, I am inspired... You rock!

Jane said...

I totally love your asparagus. Functional, my arse (as we English would say) - it deserves to be framed. What a great post - but please don't introduce to me to any more Ebay collections - I'm trying to break the habit!

Toni said...

The eyes, the eyes! OMG, I love the asparagus!