by Renee Rigdon and Zabet Stewart
North Light Books
November 2007, 160 pages, $22.99
Let’s get the obligatory mention of the duct tape corset out of the way straight off.
With the small sacrifice of an old tee and possibly the help of a close friend you can craft your own perfectly fitted and ‘slightly sinister’ corset. Besides this project, there are several other excellent features in Anticraft: Knitting, Beading and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister. The photography is sensational, even when the showcased project isn’t overly exciting. Black and white backgrounds provide a fabulous contrast to colorful (think ebony, blood red, and “ichor green”) projects frequently adorned with skull motifs. The settings are invariably dungeon-inspired hangouts with antiqued decorations. Just flipping through and looking at the great pictures might keep you from noticing that a simple skull-accented hat is edged with faux FunFur. Which I didn’t realize came in black. I can’t actually picture this one on any self-respecting goth-chick, but the appeal of The Anticraft is not limited to those with yarn stashes exclusively containing various shades of black and red. All the better for the book sales, really.
A couple of favorite patterns of mine include ‘The Whilameenas,’ a crocheted two-headed rat, and ‘Three Owls,’ a mini-parliament of felted and embroidered feathered friends. There are many goth-leaning crafters out there (witness the success of The Anticraft website, now on issue number nine), and each of them can find something fascinating among the collection’s 25 projects.
The extra material in the book is a big plus. One feature is the ‘mood enhancer’ paragraph the accompanies each project, in the usual manner of listing materials and tools needed to complete it. Here the authors recommend music, movies, or books to match the mood of the project. Themed recipes and comic strips featuring the authors are also great touches. And the whole book is illustrated like an art project, with vine-like doodles, Victorian-style wood-block prints, and explanations of pagan symbols. At the back there is the customary crafting techniques section, although this one contains illustrated instructions on creating your own chain mail. On the whole, the book is a pleasure to flip through, but most of the projects are either too intricate or too impractical to really bother making.
The point is more about the inspiration and finding a place in the community of Anticrafters.