Craft yourself a home

Craft yourself a home

The Maker - Beyond Decorating by top Australian maker and stylist Tamara Maynes is a book that explores how by using our hands to make things - both practical and decorative - we can put emotional resonance into our homes

By Abby Trow
Shibori leather tablecloth by Pepa Martin and Karen Davis

Tamara Maynes' first book, The Maker - Beyond Decorating: Crafting a Unique Space, isn't a step-by-step guide book, rather it celebrates the work of craft experts, and insodoing will almost certainly inspire you to have a go at making something. It's full of beautiful pictures of makers' work and has Q&As with several of them, while Maynes also offers some easy projects to get you started. Pictured above: the Japanese Shibori technique of dyeing textiles is applied to leather by Pepa Martin and Karen Davis. The book is published in the UK at £18.99, find it at good bookstores.

Tamara Maynes has always been a maker - cutting, sewing, stitching and knotting since she was a young child. So her talents have been honed to perfection, as have those of the fellow craftspeople whose work she features in this book.

And The Maker is enjoyable because it manages to be both a coffee table delight to look through and admire the gorgeous photographs (by Eve Wilson), and a practical source book with good advice and several step-by-step guides that should inspire even those of us who struggle to sew on a button to give craft a go. 

And Maynes argues that we should all use our hands in a creative pursuit because making connects us with our environment, it allows us to get absorbed in a task in a way that relaxes the mind and can be almost meditative, it encourages tenacity and when you make something you feel rewarded....especially if it's beautiful. 

Author Tamara Maynes
Maynes' trusted sewing machine that's been with her forever
Wicker bowl by Harriet Goodall
Papier mache bowls by Georgina Brown
Gold macrame wallhanging by Tamara Maynes
Garter stitch felted merino wool bedspread by Jacqueline Fink
Maynes urges us to embrace colour
Use up waste or scrap materials in your projects and be an eco friendly maker

The book is quite chatty in tone and it's well-structured, so easy to follow. For example, early on Maynes gives an outline of the genres she'll be exploring: wall art, objects, textiles, ceramics, lighting, furniture, and she also lists materials and tools the maker needs to have at their disposal.

She offers useful advice throughout - such as while it's possible to teach yourself a technique, it's probably better to find a good teacher to show you the ropes and get you on your way. And you should be prepared to make a mess because making things is not a clean and tidy business. Maynes also stresses that crafters are well placed to be very eco friendly by using waste materials, scraps and off-cuts and sustainable fibres/fabrics such as wool and linen.

Another interesting element to the book is that the different chapters have a Q&A with a craft expert - it's good to hear their perspective.

Embroidered wall hangings by fine artist Kate Keara Pelen
Make your own...metal wallhanging
You don't need a potter's wheel to make a vase and you can make things from no fire clay
Be inspired too make a quilted bedspread

The step-by-step guide projects Maynes offers do look easy to follow - they include weaving a table runner, making a thin metal wallhanging, a 3D wirework decoration, a marquetry table top, and a vessel using no-fire clay.

Ice skates made from paper by Benja Harney
There's a good section on dyeing fabrics

The Maker: Beyond Decorating, Crafting a Unique Space is published by Murdoch Books.