Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: "Zakka Style" by the Design Collective

"Zakka style" is difficult to define. The simplest definition is that it refers to small items that improve your life - that 'make you happy.' According to a New York Times article "...for example, a plastic ashtray will not qualify as a zakka but a plastic ashtray picked up in a flea market in Paris with "Pernod" inscribed on top, is zakka at the maximum level."

This is a book of 24 small sewing/craft projects, each by a different designer. There is a focus on using natural fabrics like linen or wool, and adding hand sewn detail.  Many of the projects reminded me of the 'quick gift' items you might find in an issue of Quilting Arts magazine.

I was a bit disappointed in this book. I ordered it on impulse thinking it would be similar to what I've found in Japanese craft and sewing magazines and I expected lots of clear illustrated directions and full-size patterns. Instead, while the splash photos of the projects are beautiful, most of the directions are in writing and the illustrations of construction details are limited. Some patterns are full-size, others require you to enlarge the given pattern by 200%, and still others just tell you what dimensions to cut your fabric.

Perhaps this book is better as an inspirational guide than a 'how to' book.

Here is a list of the designers and some of their sites. A few sell zakka items or have tutorials on how to make them, all of their sites are interesting, and each designer has a unique voice.

Rashida Coleman-Hale: I Heart Linen
Lisa Billings:  Pink lemonade Boutique
Julia Bravo: 33 Stitches
Sonia Cantie: cozyhomemaking
Theresia Cookson: minoridesign
Shannon Dreval: petitsdetails
Nova Flitter: A cuppa and a catchup
Christie Fowler: Pigeon Pair
Leslie Good: Goodness
Larissa Holland: mmmcrafts
Masko Jefferson: siamsquare
Amanda Jennings: Hey Porkchop
Holly Keller: ChezeBeeperBebe
Kim Kruzich: Retro Mama
Pascale Mestdagh: pm-betweenthelines
Kat Mew:Zakka inspired
Melody Miller: Melody Miller
Mette Robl: Erleperle
Rachel Roxburgh: Roxy Creations
Amy Sinibaldi: Nana Company
Meg Spaeth: Elsie Marley
Ayumi Takahashi: A Pink Penguin
Karyn Valino: The Work Room
Katrien Van Deuren: A Bit of Pilli Pilli
Laurraine Yuyama: Patchwork Pottery