Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review: Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey and Chika Mori

I picked this book up at the library and, of course, flipped through it to browse the projects. The squirrel tea-cozy on the cover had already enamored me to the book (my online handle used to be squirrelgirl), and inside I found a nice assortment of projects. They're simple, for the most part, and have that sort of cute/minimalist flavor that many Japanese crafts do. What I liked best was that many of the projects are housewares, and are based on the idea that Japanese houses (specifically, kitchens) are small, and as the book says, "With small living spaces and a design aesthetic that celebrates clean lines, Japanese culture places a high value on items that keep environments tidy." Were I fully honest with myself I'd admit that I am drawn to these sorts of crafts not because I strive to have a Japanese-esqe house and lifestyle, but because I am generally the complete opposite, with explosions of color and junk everywhere. Peeking into an entirely different life-- be it another culture, country or just another person-- is always fascinating.

I also appreciate that the projects are, for the most part, fairly practical. There's fabric baskets; who doesn't need more storage? There's cozies for all sorts of things (tape measures, tea pots, cameras); who doesn't need to keep their belongings protected? There's a wrist pincushion; who would refuse one? (Hint: not me.) And there's even house shoes that you can sew up, complete with leather bottoms. Who doesn't need nice house slippers? (Hint: Me. I have four pairs already. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to try the pattern.)

All in all, it's a nice book. The layout is clean and easy to read, the projects are well-explained and nicely photographed, and there's a small beginners section explaining the how-tos of basic sewing. Those interested in Japan would do well to pick it up.

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