by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
On cold winter days, many people like to have a project to work on at home: a puzzle, a quilt, a piece of furniture. The library is hosting a workshop where you can learn a new artistic skill, plus we have several new books that could help inspire or guide your winter do-it-yourself project.
On Monday, January 22, Jen Anfinson will be teaching a calligraphy workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The class will cover techniques and styles of traditional and modern calligraphy. It’s open to adults and teens age fifteen and up, and all supplies and equipment will be provided. The class is free to attend, but space is limited. Sign up at the library’s front desk or call us at (320)693-2483.
On to the books you can check out for your artistic inspiration:
Those who enjoy drawing and painting may be interested in If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint: Transforming Simple Drawings into Works of Art by Diane Culhan. This book encourages the artist to explore their personal style by doodling, sizing up these small drawings, and adding color with pencil and paint. The book is intended to be an unintimidating way to move step by step into creating full-sized paintings.
For a book to take your drawing in a very different direction, look for Designing Creatures and Characters: How to Build an Artist’s Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation, and More. Author Marc Taro Holmes has worked on art for video games such as Dragon Age Inquisition and Baldur’s Gate. The book focuses on creating and developing characters visually, whether with pencil and paper or with digital art. One of my children used this book to get started on some character design that she has continued to build on through sketches, so I would say it is inspiring.
Hello Tokyo: 30+ Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute, Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle is a craft book for those who enjoy Japanese culture. Perhaps you have a young person in your life who is into manga or anime and would enjoy exploring whimsical Japanese decorating and papercrafting. The author, Ebony Bizys, is an American who lives in and blogs about Tokyo.
On the more serious crafting side, Heirloom Wood: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards, and Other Homewares is a basic woodcarving book. Author Max Bainbridge discusses wood types and basic tools, then moves on to detailed projects to make for the kitchen.
If you’re making a piece of furniture rather than a cutting board, the book Joinery may be what you need. The editors of Fine Woodworking magazine have put together a comprehensive resource for choosing the type of joint you want, designing and cutting accurately, and solving your mistakes. Joinery is where you can tell if a piece of furniture is made really well, and this book claims to be able to improve the skill of the builder whether they’re a novice or have plenty of experience.
Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well is a combination sewing-pattern book and memoir. When author Sanae Ishida developed a chronic illness and lost her job, she turned to her old hobby, sewing, to find success at something. She ended up discovering her passion. The book contains twenty projects, including household items and children’s and women’s clothing.
Sometimes it’s actually a good thing to have a chance to work on creative projects indoors during the winter, without feeling guilty that the lawn isn’t getting mowed or the garden isn’t being weeded. Hibernate a bit and find something that makes you happy this winter.