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REVIEW: Recycled Home
Recycled Home is an attractive little square format book containing fifty projects for the home using recycled and salvaged materials. Its low-key matt appearance reinforces the idea of sustainability that runs throughout. The author Rebecca Proctor is a design writer with experience in the fashion and interiors industries. She also writes her own blog http://www.futurusticblog.com/ . She is not only interested in craft and craftmanship, but also the sustainability of design and how we may be able to lower the rate of our consumption of commodities.
Recycled Home begins with an introduction, a list of materials and a list of tools, before being divided into seven chapters relating to spaces around the home including 'Living', 'Bathing', Kids', and 'Outdoor'. The entire book is printed on sustainable paper and continues with the matt finish throughout. It absorbs the colours slightly making it feel earthy and rustic, the stunning lifestyle photography and the items themselves still make it feel contemporary and stylish without all the gloss and high shine.
The book is well designed with each chapter utilising a colourful title spread, with one page illustrating small images of the projects, and the other a splash of bold colour with the contents listed. The instructions are clearly labelled with title, introductory paragraph and list of materials. The step-by-step directions are kept clear and simple and make use of some accompanying illustrations, although these illustrations don't always sit alongside the appropriate written step, and although they are also numbered, it can be a little misleading.
It is intended for a wide audience so no previous crafts skills or experience are needed for a majority of the projects, and the more seasoned crafter may even find them a little too basic. For example the Scrapbook Album is fairly unattractive, the Night Owl Lavender Cushion is a little primitive and even the Bunny Tea and Egg Warmer, although homely and rustic, seems unfinished. Rebecca does point out in the introduction that projects shouldn't necessarily be followed exactly and that "...the ideas could be used as a starting point for your own project." I can definitely see how some of these simpler projects could be developed further. They would also be wonderful projects for someone with no crafting experience, or if you were searching for craft projects to do with children.
The disappointing projects were the minority, most, even if still relatively simple, offered more inspiration. Some of the items that stood out included the Braided Rag Rug, the Scrap-wood Bath Tub Caddy, the liberty fabric Padded Rattle, and the Upcycled Chair Seat. They manage to blend the rustic and humble with a contemporary beauty.
There are some handy knitted dishcloths and an attractive log cabin blanket, but these will require that you already know how to knit.
For the Roller Crate, the idea of popping castors onto the base of a crate is probably too simple for the practical minded crafter, but it creates a rustic and fashionable storage solution that is achievable for everyone.
This is certainly a book that triggers ideas, rather than being a definitive project book. It's a great starting point for someone new to crafting and it is also useful for the crafter that has maybe only experienced the making of decorative items, as it encourages you to consider function as well as appearance. Most importantly this book demonstrates how easy it is for everyone to furnish their home economically and sustainably, without wasting money or resources.
Recycle Home - Transform Your Home Using Salvaged Materials
RRP - £14.95
Laurence King Publishing - http://www.laurenceking.com/