This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
you create with no end goal in mind it’s surprising what you come up with.


Retro crafts used what materials were on hand which connects them to contemporary recycling and upcycling crafting. There is an interesting picture in the book of a lamp made out of plastic spools and bolts, carefully covered with chewing gum wrappers. It’s both awful and awfully fantastic at the same time. The attention that went into making the lamp out of items that would usually be thrown away is a wonderful rejection of commodity culture. Millions comments that “as time passes, the materials used to make it will become less familiar, transforming the lamp into a time capsule and the lamp maker into a conveyor of historical information”.


Suzie Millions urges us to “take a closer look at what you might reflexively dismiss” as a “good exercise for expanding your thinking before entering the world of retro craft”. Her


102 | ukhandmade | Summer 2012


love and enthusiasm for this type of craft is heart-warming. She seeks to champion it, drawing connections with folk art which she sees as encompassing outsider, brut and visionary art, amongst others. She comments “folk art will probably remain the weird uncle at the art family reunion, with its unruly kin retro craft not likely to receive an invitation to the picnic any time soon”. She celebrates the “obviously handmade” elements of retro craft, embracing ‘mistakes’ whereby “the resulting piece conveys a sense of humanity and personal vision, no matter how humble or flawed”.


When I’m running my learning salons and other events, beginners often worry about making mistakes. I tell them that there is no such thing as mistakes only their own individual design features. We need to remember that as makers ourselves - sometimes it’s good to approach our work with a beginner’s eye and enthusiasm.


The book is very American in its outlook and many of the pop culture references are not in the sphere of everyone’s experience. However thanks to TV and other media the points of reference are not totally out of our range of comprehension.


As a craft book it offers more than just craft projects with hefty chapters on defining retro craft, setting up your work space, planning your tools and collecting your materials.


There are also chapters on collecting retro craft pieces and publications, where to look for them and on incorporating retro crafts into your life. A feature I really liked was the inclusion of a Gift Idea Chart. This lists the projects in the books and how they could be adapted for different occasions: Baby, Child, Manly, Host/ ess, Romantic, and Yule.


Although I love many things vintage, the kitsch aesthetic is not one which I’ve appreciated for about twenty years. However this book reminded


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110