Friday, November 2, 2012

Book: Witchy Crafts

With a little play on words, Witchy Crafts: 60 Enchanted Projects for the Creative Witch contains projects that will tickle the creative witch to no end.

The author, Lexa Olick, is no stranger to art. Her work has been featured in many public venues, from the online Gothic magazine Dark Romance to the nationally well-known magazine Dog Fancy. Among her many interests and talents, crafting is one of them - and she's been doing it for 20 years.

I'll be honest here and say I'm a wannabe crafter. I've dabbled in crafts on and off my whole life. I'm not artistically talented, but I do enjoy participating in some crafts. This book intrigued me, as the only other magical craft book I've ever seen is the old standard Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects by Scott Cunningham.

Olick really delivers in this book. She thoroughly covers important aspects of magical craft work and topics include materials, techniques, solitary work vs. crafting in a group, and a month-by-month guide to crafting.

In the materials section, Olick covers basic crafting materials from a witch's point of view. Natural vs. unnatural. When to make substitutions and what types of substitutions can be made without changing the intent of the magical craft. She also spends time explaining how ethics play into choosing materials as well - something I hadn't really considered much before - at least, not to the depth she goes in to.

My favorite part of the book is the chapter titled The Witching Season: A Month by Month Guide to Crafting the Craft. As a witch, I pretty much know what sorts of spells do better in what month, but this guide felt very complete to me. From details of the gods that govern each month to the stones and flowers and other materials that are appropriate for crafts done in a particular month, this portion of the book is what really sells it for me. This guide provides inspiration all year round for crafts not even included in the project portion of the book. 

And of course there are the projects, which include pictures, material lists, and very good instructions. Projects run the gamut, from  witchy essentials (Book of Shadows and wand) to witchy wants (spirit board, athame). There are wonderful jewelery crafts, including Power Cuffs and Evil Eye charms. 

One project that looked especially appealing is in the Green Witchery chapter: Keyboard Runes. As you can well guess, the runes are made from keyboard pieces - very remarkable and clever!

As I mentioned, I am more of a wannabe crafter than I am a real crafter - however, there is one project I am going to attempt: The Woven Tarot Bag. This is made with ribbons - and I just KNOW I can do it! It's beautiful and practical and I can't wait to make one!

I also want to make mention of the poppet section - this is one of my favorite types of magical crafts, and Olick puts a new spin on it. Besides a regular poppet, she also has instructions on how to make Poppet Facial Scrubs and Poppet Bath Teabags - delightful!

The book's appendix contains basic correspondences: runes, metals, crystals, herbs and colors. I know most witches have this information elsewhere, but it's really nice to have in the book itself. This way if one of the projects inspires your own creative spin, you can jump to the appendix to get a feel of the materials you would want to incorporate in your magical creation.

I have one nitpick - and it's one that I do have repeatedly about magical books. This one is called Witchy Crafts, and yet there are places in the book in which Wicca is referred to. It's a common misconception that all witches are Wiccans - and it's one that gets under my skin. 

I read the intro, and the author did not call herself Wiccan - she refers to herself as Pagan (although to be fair, the intro is called Wiccan Rede-Me). So, I'm unsure of reason why Wicca is referred to here and there, and almost willy nilly. For example, in the section on the benefits of crafting in groups, she gives the reader ideas on how to find other like-minded crafters. She suggests that going to a local crystal shop would be a good place to meet other witchy people. But then she adds, "Crystals play a huge role in the Wiccan life." Huh? Where did we jump from witch to Wiccan? And more than Wiccans hang out at those types of stores - all sorts of magical folks hang out there. While this type of assumption bugs me, it may not even register to other readers. 

Llewellyn Publishing states this book is scheduled for a February 2013 release date. The cost is $19.99 and provides great value for the cost. Sixty crafts. A month-by-month guide. Information about witch-friendly materials - it all seems like a bargain. I would suggest you pre-order now!