Free Project from Flip Dolls & Other Toys…

September 18, 2013, 09:00 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Fall is almost upon us here in the mountains. The trees are still mostly green, but over the next few weeks they’ll start to turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. What better way to celebrate than with a free project?

The fun bean bag trees above come to you from Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab, and Go. As you might have guessed, this book contains much more than flip dolls. You’ll find everything from a ukulele with plucky strings and a silly lie detector to horses with wings and crocodiles with zipper mouths.

Want to try a project before you buy it? Follow the link to download this project for free: Stacking Trees



Sneak Peek: Flip Dolls & Other Toys…

July 24, 2013, 11:37 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Whether it’s a knight and a dragon, a caterpillar and a butterfly, or the secret superhero above, the fact remains: toys that flip inside-out to become something completely different are irresistible! Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab, and Go is full of inventive toys that capture the imagination.

Inside you’ll find page after page of clever projects, from stuffed watches that tell the time with string and beads and turtles that can change their shells to a whale with a hidden pouch for a stomach and cars that are ready to roll thanks to wheels that spin on button axles. Why sew an ordinary stuffed cat, when you could make a Cheshire cat with a variety of mouths or a fox with a zipper for a mouth instead? Take your softie sewing from ordinary to extraordinary!


Book Play: Free Project Download

July 09, 2013, 16:49 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Have you checked out Book Play? It’s been all-over the internet, from the Asheville Citizen-Times to the Huffington Post. And of course, here on our own blog.

In Book Play, author Margaret Couch Cogswell combines simple materials (paper, thread, wire, fabric, found objects, paint) and her own unique style to create a wide variety of books. Some projects are fairly traditional while others push the limits of what a “book” can be.

Today’s free project is somewhere in between. It’s a very small ticket book bound with a Japanese Stab Binding.

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Sneak Peek: Book Play

June 13, 2013, 15:07 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

You would think that around a publisher’s office, we’d adhere to a pretty strict definition when answering the question: “What is a Book?” However, as book nerds, nothing makes us happier than seeing the book’s form pushed to its outer limits. Pairing simple materials (paper, thread, wire, fabric, found objects, paint) and her own unique style, Margaret Couch Cogswell does just that in Book Play.

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Sneak Peek: 500 Prints on Clay

March 09, 2013, 10:49 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

The 500 series for ceramics started out as an object-based series. First there was Teapots. Then Cups. But after a few years the series stepped off the beaten path. The enthusiasm and support for non-object based books like 500 Raku was beyond our expectations.

Fast forward a few more years and here we are with 500 Prints on Clay. It’s a truly impressive book, and the mix of techniques and forms is unparalleled in the 500 series.

A few of my favorites–which of course skew functional–are below, but there is much, much more inside.

The book is available wherever books are sold, including at a hefty discount at BN.com.



Staff Picks: Inspired by the Masters

February 14, 2013, 15:45 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Before my days at Lark, I was still a fan of the 500s series–what potter isn’t? So I was excited when Lark broke the mold in 2008 and came out with a new gallery book for ceramic artists called Masters: Porcelain.

At the time, porcelain was a clay body I had never used–my studio only fired to cone 6 and white stoneware was white enough for me. However, after spending time with Masters: Porcelain it was undeniable that porcelain changes the tone of functional work. Leah Leitson’s ewers and Aysha Peltz’s vases showed that the clay affects the work beyond just the surface (but still, look at that surface!)

Above: “Three Faced Vases” by Aysha Peltz

Richard Burkett did a tremendous job curating the 40 artists and hundreds of images for the book. But the Masters books go beyond the images, offering insights from the artists on their work and the medium. It may seem like a small difference from the 500 series, but it adds a layer of interest beyond the standard gallery of images.

Masters: Earthenware came out two years later in 2010. Similar to porcelain, it covers 38 artists’ signature pieces with commentary. Curated by Matthias Ostermann, a celebrated ceramist in his own right, this stunning volume did anything but pale in the face of porcelain. From Linda Arbuckle’s majolica to the burnt reds of Woody Hughes, it is captivating page after page.

Both books are part of Lark’s spring Book Love sale. You can find them by clicking the links in the article above or right here:

-Masters: Porcelain

-Masters: Earthenware





Letterpress Now

January 10, 2013, 16:22 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Here at Lark, we publish books on almost every craft you can imagine. We have entire teams dedicated to topics like jewelry and needlearts. We even have a book on gourd craft. But somehow, in our decades of publishing, we have never published a guide to letterpress.

That changed last week.

Letterpress Now, which came out on 1/1, is our first book on letterpress printing. It’s the creation of author Jessica C. White. If that name sounds familiar, that may be because in addition to running her own press and working as a professor she’s also the co-founder of Ladies of Letterpress–a professional organization that now numbers more than 1,500 printers.

Inside, she teaches how to use a variety of presses–from the apartment-sized tabletop platen press to the massive cylinder presses only found in print shops. Each type of press is taught through a variety of projects: calendars, cards, invitations, thaumatropes, trading cards, and t-shirts to name a few.

And there’s also features on some of the best printers working today. Jim Sherraden shares some work from the legendary Hatch Show Print and fellow Ladies of Letterpress founder Kseniya

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Vase Inspiration

November 26, 2012, 15:58 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

As a person, sometimes you have a moment where you go to use something only to realize you don’t actually own what you want to use. As a potter, there’s a special version of that moment when it happens and you think to yourself, “Dang it. That’s something I can make!”

I experienced just this feeling last week as I searched the house for a vase to put flowers in. Small pitchers abounded–and I eventually settled on a mid-century coffee carafe–but the whole episode got me thinking I should probably put the dinnerware on hold for a few weeks and make a vase or two.

I didn’t have 500 Vases around, so I ended up flipping through The Best of 500 Ceramics. With a vase in mind, it was nice to see not only stellar examples of the form, but also some unusual ideas, pitchers, and sculptural work, too. Sometimes a wider pool is just the thing. Here’s a few forms for flowers that called to me:

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[This article was written by Chris Bryant last fall. We love it so much that we wanted to share it again this fall, timed perfectly for the chill autumn nights that are now visiting many of us in the northern hemisphere. Enjoy!]

Last fall Dorie Greenspan’s Stuffed Pumpkin With Everything Good recipe was drifting through the food world like a perfect fall leaf that suddenly draws everyone’s attention. Since then it has been embraced as a celebration of fall, of hearth & home, and cozy winter fare. Seasonal food celebrators and foodies took note and it became viral. I tracked it floating through the food universe from my favorite radio food shows to magazines to blog posts to radio interviews.

around my french table book cover

Dorie Greenspan is a cookbook author who lives in New York City, Connecticut, and Paris. I know, a wretched existence. Her 2010 cookbook, Around My French Table, came out last fall and the now famous stuffed pumpkin was its showcase recipe (although Greenspan and her fans were talking about it as far back as 2006).

There’s a really interesting story about a French family and pumpkins that inspired Greenspan to adopt and adapt the recipe. You should hear her tell the story and explain the recipe, which is actually not so much a recipe as “an art project” as Greenspan describes it. Here are two renditions, one is an NPR All Things Considered interview from host Michele Norris’s kitchen, another from KCRW’s Good Food with Evan Kleiman, my favorite radio food show and podcast. They are each about 6-7 minutes. If you don’t have time for both, catch the NPR interview.

Have you listened? If so you know the broad concept for how to make and bake a stuffed pumpkin. Doesn’t it sound simple? And interesting? I was immediately compelled to try and it will forever be in my repertoire of cold weather favorites.

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Introducing The Best of 500 Ceramics

September 27, 2012, 09:59 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Ceramic art is a big part of our history here at Lark. We have been publishing hardworking and beautiful ceramics books for decades. In fact, our company founder now runs a studio for ceramic artists (Marshall High Studios). So to say everyone here at Lark was excited to work on a special edition of the 500 ceramics series would be an understatement.

Rather than simply pick and choose our favorites from the past decade, we invited many of the best jurors and artists in the field to select their favorites for The Best of 500 Ceramics. We also encouraged jurors to pen a few words on why they thought a particular piece was the best of the best. The result is a book with a layer of thought and contemplation new to the 500 series. For many artists, having a prominent figure in the field comment upon their work was one of the most exciting parts of this project.

I would like to also share a few words from the foreward, written by Glen R. Brown. He does an excellent job summing up where contemporary ceramics finds itself at this moment in time:

“Twenty years of observing contemporary ceramics from the perspective of an art historian and critic have led me to accept a certain paradox: the only sound generalization about contemporary ceramics is that no generalization is ultimately sound.

The field is simply too diverse. In fact, its only truly defining trait, apart from a steadfast devotion to clay, may be the democracy of its embrace. Time-tested ideas are rarely abandoned by the historical wayside, while new trends and techniques exert a constant allure for today’s ceramic artists…

When I served as a juror for Lark Crafts’ 500 Ceramic Sculptures in 2009, I found the experience exhilarating. The process reaffirmed my conviction that clay will never lose its relevance as a medium of expression and an avenue for intellectual exploration. Its applications have been every bit as innovative over the past 10 years as at any time during its long history in human hands.

The Best of 500 Ceramics reflects on that unflagging innovation as much as it recaps a decade of inspiring work. This reflection is unique in that it has been woven from the multiple perspectives of those who know ceramics best.”

You can find The Best of 500 Ceramics at Barnes & Noble and wherever books are sold.