Book Review: The Fine Art of Crochet

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Title: The Fine Art of Crochet
Author: Gwen Blakley Kinsler

Book Review by Jennifer J. Cirka (

First, let me tell you that this is not a crochet pattern book. The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakley Kinsler is yummy, delicious, drool-worthy eye candy for all crocheters! This is more of a “these people are amazing” coffee table book for crochet lovers. It is an “oh-my-goodness, I didn't know you could make something like that out of crochet” type of book. Finally, it is definitely a “crochet actually IS art” book!

Take it from me, someone who's crochet endeavors started as a hobby. This book will really challenge what you may have always thought of crochet. Even when I became a professional designer, I never considered what I did an “art form.” I consider myself a talented crafter, similar to an amazing woodworker. But the people that Gwen interviews and writes about in this book are more than your average crocheters. These people really are artists. Their work is jaw-dropping amazing!

The author starts the book with a great introduction and a few brief chapters on the history of art crochet. She then moves on to introducing you to 20 different talented artists who's work all revolves around crochet in one way or another. I'm sure you will love learning about these awe-inspiring people. I was surprised at how many of these artists' work is displayed at major art museums around the word.

A few of the impressive pieces really made an impact on me. I was stunned at Pate Conaway's hand-crocheted Garden Hoses. And when I say “hand crocheted,” I mean that he made all the individual stitches with his hands! No hooks were involved! I was also moved by a piece called “Image and Reality” by Karen Searle. Ms Searle's piece consists of a 14 inch tall, three dimensional, crocheted copper wire form of a normal woman's body, but inside this transparent piece is a bead covered Barbie doll. It really makes you think about how women view their own bodies.

If you want to view crochet as something other than granny square vests, this book is for you. Ms. Kinsler says it herself, “With this book, my hope is to not only showcase their [the artists'] exotic, fantastic, and unique works of art, but also to illustrate how far crochet has come from the old fashioned trite hobby it was once considered.” You have succeeded very well Ms. Kinsler! My eyes have been opened and my thoughts changed on how I view crochet...forever. 

(Author House, 2013, 110 Pages, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-4817-3186-7 (sc) & 978-1-4817-3187-4 (e) )

Full disclosure: A free review copy of  The Fine Art of Crochet was provided by Author House. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.


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