This summer I have been looking at a lot of books, buying them and checking them out at the library. I decided that perhaps some reviews were in order. I look for books that might give me inspiration, teach me a new skill, guide me through a project idea or lead my artwork in a new direction. I also browse books that might aid me in my classroom instruction, or ones that might provide students with ideas and inspirations for their own classroom projects. Here I will attempt to share the ones I like and didn’t like, and would love your feedback!
Mixed-Mania is written by Debbi Crane and Chery Prater. As new media changes the way we communicate, it is interesting to know that they collaborated long-distance on this book. But it is even more interesting to know that they had not met in person and were introduced online through mutual art connections. They worked on the book entirely online and only met in person a couple of times, yet they banter as if they have been life-long friends. I marvel at this dynamic and think about how this sort of thing would not have happened as easily fifteen years ago.
This book is written in the style of a cookbook. I love this because I also like to read cookbooks. Plus it is a very unique spin on how to offer up the ideas and instructions that is different from other art project/technique books. I particularly like the Substitution Chart… like if you just don’t have Diamond Glaze you can use any 2-part epoxy resin for the same effect. (OK so I still don’t have any of that, but still it is a good chart.)
It starts with some “Creative Kitchen Basics” (A discussion of the elements and principles of art) moves into some “Artistic Appetizers” which are easy projects, then some “Main Courses” and “Special Occasions” that are larger projects including several fabric related pieces. At the end there is a gallery, which I always love and some templates for the included projects.
Each project is set up with shopping and ingredient lists, followed by step-by-step instructions and pictures. Most of the bigger projects are broken down into smaller parts and start with some text about the inspiration and back ground of the project. Throughout the book there are snippets of the creative dialogue between the two writers, which is fun.
I haven’t done any of the projects, but many of them look a lot like things I have already done. I would certainly recommend this book for people new to mixed media. While the images are inspiring and fun, I didn’t really see any great new skills for me to learn. So this one will be going back to the library.