Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

For more regular updates follow Momtaz on Twitter: @TheCraftCafe Instagram: @The_CraftCafe Vine: @TheCraftCafe Periscope: @TheCraftCafe Snapchat: Momtazbh

For workshop bookings, writing commissions, presenting jobs, craft project designs, or any kind of enquiry email contact@momtazbh.co.uk

Momtaz's NEW BLOG is www.craftandtravel.com

Tuesday 16 February 2010

"Mastercrafts The Book"

The postman woke me up in the early hours with two very exciting pieces of post, the book 'Mastercrafts' to accompany the new BBC Series that I am soon to be on and a picture drawn by my 4 year old niece depicting all my favourite things (Note the cupcakes and pretty dress!)

Published by the brilliant David & Charles (brilliant because they publish lots of wonderful
crafty titles) the book is celebration of the six crafts that feature in the series - stonework, thatching, woodwork, glass, metalwork and weaving. A beautiful 256 page hard back book, its a bit like an encyclopedia of the crafts in question.

The book is written by Tom Quinn, a writer and historian who knows a lot about the countryside. However this is where I started to get a bit frustrated. The book is about re-discovering British Craftmanship of which I am a passionate advocate, and despite how informative and interesting the content, the cover is atrocious. I honestly think it's one of the worst craft book covers I've ever seen (and having been the editor of a crafts magazine I have seen a lot of craft books). It panders to every stereotype you could possibly think of to do with country crafts making it extremely unappealing, if it doesn't sell well, I wouldn't be surprised if the cover is to blame. Hence this is why I have covered it up with my niece's drawing.

But of course, never judge a book by it's cover, give it a chance.......
Each chapter begins with the history of the craft exploring the origination of raw materials, how the craft has developed, going into alot of detail which makes it the ideal book for college libraries to help with research - there is information here that is impossible to find in other places.

The book also includes some photos of the trainees who took part in the TV series and interviews with the 'mastercraft' tutors. Can you spot me? Sadly from the aforementioned 256 there are just two photos of me in it (and three photos of my hands!). The day the book photographer came I was working on my own outside for 12 hours, the two shots that are in the book were 'test shots' taken in doors. But the most disappointing aspect of the whole book is the fact NONE of the trainees have their names mentioned.

In the way the that I can't understand why they chose the hideous cover, I can't understand why they haven't mentioned our names, even a simple 'thank you' in the back would have been nice. They have thanked the production company, the tutors, and Monty the presenter but not the 18 people who gave up their lives for 6 weeks to take part in the show. It's not like they didn't know our names, we all signed release forms. It's just plain mean.

And on that note my final verdict of this book is that it's an excellent resource for people who want to know more about the specific crafts in question and may be considering taking it up themselves and students who are studying crafts but with it's uninspiring cover I don't think it will appeal to today's new breed of modern hip crafter which is a real shame : (

1 comment:

  1. Hi Momtaz
    I'm really looking forward to the weaving episode. I missed the greenwood episode but did catch the thatching one last week.
    I have auditioned for a TV programme in the past I have also been on two programmes but only very small parts but my opinion is that as a member of the public you are definitely "used" to make the show. When I say used I mean you become a commodity like choosing the location or deciding on wardrobe. I think that TV makers expect you to just be happy to have had th eexperience of seeing yourself on TV. But really a heartfelt thankyou and mentioning the participant's names in the accompanying book would be a common courtesey. You end up feeling used which is a sad note to end on.
    I have met Margot Selby and her work is definitely amazing. Having completed a Contemporary Craft degree myself MMU (2006) it is no surprize to me to hear that traditional crafts such as weaving, thatching etc require such a long training period.

    Think of learning to knit and then knitting quick chunky knits and small items to sell at craft fairs and then compare that to knitting traditional Sheltland lace shawls. The kind that are so fine that they can be pulled through a wedding ring. They are worlds apart.

    Well done for throwing yourself into those intense 6 weeks and taking part in the programme and thank you too for sharing your thoughts on the experience.

    PS See my own blog on a super fast introduction to sculptural felting. Here I showed students how to cut corners and how to produce fantastic results in only a day. Contrast this to master feltmakers in Mongolia who take up to 5 days to make a a beautifully intricate traditional felted rug.