Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some of my favorite design books

This post is for the Etsy Bloggers blog carnival - the theme has to do with books that inspire you in your craft.

I don't really have any favorite "how-to" books, but there are a few design books that I really love. When I am in between novels or can't seem to find anything to read, I love to just look at the illustrations in these books.

My friend Julie gave me a copy of "Decorative Design" by Fritzi Brod. It's a fun book full of neat examples of motifs, patterns, borders, stylized flowers, and folk art designs.

The illustration on the cover is also one of the pages in the book:

The birdie that I circled was used as a guide for this painting I did on a secondhand hope chest: (Don't worry, I circled it in Photoshop, not in the actual book!)

Another book that fascinates me is "Celtic Art: the Methods of Construction" by George Bain.

In high school, I had a little bit of fame for my "worm lettering." I used to write everyone's names in my own weird made-up style of knotwork, and each letter had a funny worm head on one end and a worm tail on the other. I had never heard of Celtic knotwork until I was an adult.

There are pages and pages of mind-blowing hand-drawn illustrations in this book. I have not yet taken the time to sit down and try to practice any of the techniques - I just like to look at the pictures. My copy of this book actually used to belong to Molly Cooley, one of the founding ladies of the excellent nonprofit program Trillium Artisans, as did this one:

I once did a whole series of my Feng Shui Mirrors inspired by the designs found in
"Designs from Pre-Columbian Mexico" by Jorge Enciso.

This book is a treasury of 300 original motifs created by the Aztecs, Toltecs, Totonacs, and others. The designs were found on "malacates," small clay spindle weights or whorls made by the pre-Conquest people of Mexico and discovered in archaeological digs.

I also have a great love of vintage decorating books. My mom had this whole series of books called Woman Alive in the Seventies, and I snagged this one, called "How to Decorate Without Going Broke." I love it!I'm just crazy about some of the cool decorating ideas this book offers. Like this amazing cabinet and mirror frame that are covered with psychedelic contact paper:

This idea for painting a door...

...was the inspiration behind this door that I painted in my house:
Finally, I'd like to share the book that I am reading right now, "Lust for Life" by Irving Stone. It is very inspiring and makes me feel a lot better about being poor and in debt!

In case you are wondering, the book came long before the song by Iggy Pop!


SisterDG said...

I love those birds sooo much!

Caelista said...

Interesting book selections, especially the first one.

I love the example door and the one you did. Your house must be so colorful!

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

Good Morning! Thank you for your wonderful entry to the carnival. Your entry is up at

Sara x

Cozy said...

Those sound like books I would like to spend time with too. I see that like me you couldn't just choose one book either.