Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quilling Book Reviews: What I Like to See in a Book

I have a variety of quilling books since I like to collect any that are published in English.  I particularly love books that have examples of historical quilling, and/or include innovative designs.  I'm going to review some of these books here on the blog, and I figured it would be useful to make it clear what my biases are, and what does or does not appeal to me in a quilling book.  No two people will review a book the same way, so it's good to know where a person is coming from when they provide a review.

1.  So the first and most important thing to note is that any review I offer is obviously just my personal opinion.  While I consider myself reasonably practiced and knowledgeable, I am by no means the greatest quiller I've ever met.  Others with greater expertise may well have differing opinions to my own.

2.  Unless otherwise noted, all the books I'm reviewing are books that already exist in my collection.  I'd be more than happy to review a new book on request from an author/publisher, but I'll mention if that's the case, and if I got a copy of the book free for review purposes.

3.  Ideally, I like books that are collectable and/or useful.  By collectable, I usually mean something that makes a contribution to the world of quilling in some unique fashion - great patterns, unusual subject matter, historical perspectives, excellent gallery of projects, etc.  By useful, I mean a book that has designs, techniques or patterns that a quiller will actually use or draw inspiration from for their own art.  Some books are great for reading, and others you prop up in front of you as you are working.  With some books you can do both.

4.  Any images of quilling should be of high quality pieces.  There is a basic level of skill that needs to be achieved and demonstrated in a book for me to give it a high rating.  I understand that people have different levels of skill, but if you are publishing a book, that level needs to be high, and reflected in the work.

5.  I have a bias for color images of quilling.  I love to look at finished pieces, and so am often swayed by excellent photography of projects.  It's difficult to take pictures of dimensional pieces and I always enjoy when I see great shots of great art.  Still, I'm not going to give a lower rating to older books, and/or to shorter, less expensive works that clearly do not have color photography in their technology or budget.

6.  Historical or academic writing should be backed up with references.  If you say "Quilling started in whatever year" I want to see a reference for that fact.  Any specific factual information has a source that needs cited.  If the information is simply out of the author's head, or a matter of personal communication, then that should be noted.

7.  A quilling book does not need to include a tutorial for quilling, unless that is part of the point of the book.  There are many beginners books that will need tutorials and how-to's, but there are advanced books that certainly do not require them.  If a tutorial is included, it needs to be comprehensive and easy to follow.

8.  Any patterns also need to be easy to follow, with step by step instructions and preferably lots of pictures to help you along.  There should always be a final shot of the finished project.

9.  A book should achieve any goal it sets for itself.  If it is for beginners, then it should form a solid resource for those just starting out.  If it is intended to show projects that can be completed quickly, then there shouldn't been anything too complicated or large included.  If it is designed to showcase innovative work, then the projects and techniques should be particularly unusual or unique.

So there are my criteria and biases related to quilling books!  Hopefully that will help form some good benchmarks for reviews.  Looking forward to going through my library!

Image Credit:  My photo of a pile of my own books.

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