I don't know how the woman does it, but MaryJo McGraw has produced another winner. One might think that by the fourth book, her ideas and designs might be repetitive, but McGraw's latest foray into the seemingly overly crowded subject of "greeting cards" shows that the well is still quite full. The title says it all and the paper artist/craftsperson who is looking to expand their skill and designs they will be pleased with the concepts that McGraw presents in this well illustrated and clearly written guide. She takes you beyond rubber stamps and beyond cute...many of the designs are just downright art but on a smaller canvas. More than a few of the cards are just...well, they are just too cool for words. If you want to make cards just out of your rubber stamps, don't buy this book. If you want to expand your creative possibilities and make cards out of some very interesting stuff, then you should buy this book. If you want to make greeting cards that are "oh, so sweet" don't buy this book. If you want to make greeting cards (or adapt the designs for other paper arts projects) that will knock the socks off the recipient then buy this book right now.
I like crafting very much. Greeting cards hold an especially dear place in my heart and I love to make them constantly. Just about everyone I know has received at least one homemade greeting card from me at one time or another. So yes, I'm always on the lookout for new books on the subject. This one, I have to say, is great! It has innovative projects rnaging from the colorful, really creative ones to subtler, more elegant ones. There really is one for everyone and the instructions are very clear, detailed and, simple to follow. No crafter, regardless of skill, will have any trouble completing any of these cards. The authors did a great job of writing this book. Also worthy is the creative use of rather unusual materials (for a card at least). I've been working with paper for a long time now and it still helped move some things inside of me which helped me come up with a whole set of new ideas on how to work and what to do. The pictures are great, you'll enjoy them and they'll inspire you to create some new, totally different projects of your own. This is one book you'll definitely enjoy.
The first word that came to mind when I saw the projects in Making Greeting Cards with Creative Materials was "artsy". The next word was "collage". I think those two concepts neatly sum up the style and involvement level you can expect from this multimedia craft book. Author MaryJo McGraw is clearly an experienced artist who has explored many techniques, but whose first love is obviously the paper arts. Although this is a book on greeting cards, there were a lot of projects that would work on a different scale for other purposes, such as embellishing scrapbooks; and many of them could be frame able art in their own right. The designs and color choices reflect rich, muted tones and multilayers of materials such as fibers, charms, gold leaf, wires, inks, watch pebbles, beads, punches, stamped papers and photos. Often the card shapes and closures are not the standard rectangular format. The processes are carefully explained and illustrated as though to first-timers, but the results will make you look like a terribly sophisticated artist. If you're hoping for ideas that would make for good quantity mailings such as invitations, be aware that most people would probably not have the time or money to make these cards in bulk: these are complex labors of love that are definitely not suited to mass production. Never once did I read a suggestion that the reader purchase ready-made embellishments or stickers, because the emphasis here is on handcrafting rather than time efficiency. For the crafter who has special, personal sentiments to express however, these are the ideal medium for that individual touch to the recipient. -Andrea, aka Merribelle
Not that there'd be anything wrong with a book being "just" about either subject, but this one in particular by McGraw happens to transcend the information on the cover as well as the niche one might casually file it away in. If I had to break it down into one word, I'd say this book is about alchemy. Taking common materials beyond the limit of their accepted potential. Embossing powders transform into precious minerals and mysterious artifacts. Inks do things most people hadn't considered they could before. Embellishments that might seem old-hat are given a surprising new aesthetic status in the context McGraw places them. I hate that this looks like a greeting cards book. It's an ART book, darnit.
Mary Jo McGraw's newest book has tons of great ideas for crafting greeting cards using unusual items such as watch crystals, glass pebbles, foils and fiber embelishments. I found this book to be informataive, easy to follow and the instructions were concise. Thank Goddess it came before the holidays.
I buy a lot of craft books and was very pleased with this new book. The clarity of the photos and detailed instructions make it so easy to follow. Lots of innovative ideas that can also be adapted for other projects. Great book!