Book review: Crafted by Sally Coulthard

A new book by a Yorkshire author is a must-read for crafters. Sharon Dale reports.

Half of all wood crafters are men.

The craft revolution is well underway and what a force for good it has been.

The number of makers who now make a living by using their talents has grown and so has our appreciation of items that are lovingly handmade by artisans rather than churned out from a dismal factory in the Far East.

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Along with the professionals, there is a growing number of people crafting as a hobby, which is what sparked the idea for Sally Coulthard’s book “Crafted”.

There are only a handful of trug makers, mostly based in Sussex.

Yorkshire-based Sally has put together a compendium of crafts, including the new, the old and the forgotten.

The book is a thing of beauty itself and includes illustrations by printmaker Louise Lockart. It’s also a fascinating read and serves as inspiration for those who love making things.

Sally covers everything from why craft matters and endangered crafts to maker spaces and how to make a living from your hobby.

Alongside this, she delves into the details of over 70 crafts, from trug making to globe making and crochetdermy, and hopes this will encourage readers to try something new.

Crafted by Sally Coulthard is published by Quadrille.

“Learning about, and practising, a craft has so many benefits.

“When you study craft, you gain a better appreciation of the culture of making across a vast expanse of history and geography; when you experience craft, both at the design stage and in the making, you learn how to reflect critically on other people’s work and, hopefully, your own,” says Sally.

“Craft is about problem solving, thinking creatively, looking for intelligent answers and trying new techniques; when you make things yourself you have a better understanding of the quality and value of other made things - it makes you a more discerning customer and consumer.”

She adds a plea to those who set the curriculum in schools.

“Craft is a vital part of society and we must treasure and protect its status, especially in education.

“It challenges ideas of what makes a whole, well-rounded person.”

She points to an interview for Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs with comedian Jack Dee.

He talks about his frustration at his school’s emphasis on one type of knowledge, saying: “Some people have the talent of being able to absorb textbooks and reproduce them in an exam. But there are other people who can create amazing pieces of furniture. Now, who’s the more intelligent?”

Crafted by Sally Coulthard is £20 and is published on March 7 by Quadrille.

Crafting Facts

*Crafting is cool. Crafters are younger than the average population.

*Men are makers too. Half if all painters, illustrators and wood crafters are men and they also make up a third of all knitters.

*Time well spent. Ninety per cent of crafters spend more than five hours a week making things and 40 per cent spend more than 20 hours a week.

*Multi-crafting. Two-thirds of the population do at least one craft and a quarter enjoy engaging in five or more crafts.