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review 2018-03-14 11:17
Amazing Origami Boxes
Amazing Origami Boxes - Tomoko Fuse

by Tomoko Fuse


Origami has interested me since childhood but these 20 original designs take it to a new level. Tomoko Fuse has achieved recognition for her modular designs and these intricate boxes and dishes show why.


This is not a beginners book. However, the instructions are clear and although I think practicing on cheap paper is a good idea before using the beautiful, decorative origami papers shown in the colorful illustrations, at least most of them should be possible for anyone with patience and prepared to practice.


If you have no experience with origami, I suggest an easier beginner's book would be better to start, but some of the square boxes are reasonably easy and once those are mastered, the harder ones should be doable. As I said, practice with cheap paper first. Common printer paper can be squared by folding it over and removing the excess. When you've got the hang of a design, then the origami papers will make it beautiful.

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review 2018-01-29 11:13
Alice Starmore's Glamourie
Alice Starmore's Glamourie (Calla Editions) - Jade Starmore,Alice Starmore

by Alice Starmore


This is a knitting book with a difference. It focuses on costuming and has pictures of some incredible creations the author has designed. The big difference, however, is that the costumes also have stories attached, so it's more than a craft book.


The author also explains much about how she made each of the costumes and the inspiration behind them.


There is one disappointment though. The patterns in the back are not for the elaborate costumes pictured with the stories. We don't get those. They are for items more for everyday wear, with some elements of the costumes. For example, the Raven costume that drew my attention to the book is truly magnificent, but the related pattern given is for a basic poncho with some of the feather design that was incorporated into the more intricate costume.


Looking at the sale price of the book, I do feel let down that the actual costuming patterns were not included. While someone walking around in something like the Raven costume would be immediately perceived as a nutter in ordinary circumstances, there are events where costuming is appropriate and I would love to make this one for such events.


Having said that, the everyday wear patterns are unusual in their own right and the book is certainly attractive for someone who wants to add some unique items to their wardrobe. Details about stitches are given and I think any fairly experienced knitter could easily follow the patterns.

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review 2018-01-18 14:52
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward - Carl Abrahamsson,Gary Valentine Lachman

by Carl Abrahamsson




One of the first things I noticed with this book is that the chapter headings have notes below the titles that say each of them was first given at a lecture or printed as an article someplace, so it soon became clear that this is a collection of several years' writings collected by the author into book form for presentation to a new audience. The subject matter is sufficiently different in each to create a nicely balanced volume on occult influence in society and particularly in art.


This is not a book for learning to do magic(k), but is more about modern cultural influences and symbols that enter mainstream consciousness through various mediums of artistic expression. In the Forword written by Gary Lachman, he explains the term 'occulture', occult + culture, coined by Genesis-P-Orridge, a cult figure in certain circles of modern day magicians, then goes on to point out connections between art and the occult and the significance of interpreting one through the other.


The lectures and articles cover a fascinating variety of loosely related topics. They include commentaries on alternative lifestyles and the rise of occult culture through significant periods like the 1960s and 1980s and the British and German groups and personalities who shaped much of modern occult culture.


The reader gets the benefit of a perspective by someone who 'was there' and understands the significance of a variety of cultural influences that still affect the culture today. He speaks of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth as well as about Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey and what he feels were the relevant contributions by controversial groups and personalities.


The perspective is very much about the intellectual side of the occult. No new age or airy-fairy crystal hugging comes into it. As occult history goes, this is an excellent reflection of the later twentieth century developments that built on the legacy of earlier magical Orders and traditions and the effects of an expanding cultural awareness that would shake the foundations of pre-twentieth century European occult study.


The significance of art and creativity is emphasised as is the freedom of social mores from the staid, limiting celibacy of groups like the early Golden Dawn and the cautions required by Medieval magicians to avoid any sniff of scandal that might lead to charges of heresy.


The history of Nazi involvement in the occult is detailed in one of the lectures and makes for interesting reading from a historical perspective as well. That lecture somehow moves from this to beatniks in California, which gives the reader an idea of the broad scope of some of the topics discussed.


This book would be of interest to anyone interested in occult history or in cultural development and the influence of art. It fills in the recent gaps in documented history for those of us who are too young to have been there for the changes in the 1980s and before as these periods are often not addressed in earlier books on the subject.


It also goes into everything from philosophy to conspiracy theories in recent decades and even Pokemon Go! I found all of the articles interesting for different reasons. A real treasure for anyone with interest in magick or the occult.

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review 2018-01-15 15:13
Real Quanta: Simplifying Quantum Physics for Einstein and Bohr
Real Quanta: Simplifying Quantum Physics for Einstein and Bohr - Martijn van Calmthout

by Martijn van Calmthout




This is a book about Einstein and how his theories have extrapolated into Quantum Physics. It's written in an accessible way, much like a novel, though it does read a little dry at times.


The author places himself in a scene where he is interviewing the famous scientists Einstein and Bohr and explains within that context some of the prevailing theories of Physics that came from their studies and ideas. This is definitely a book for people who are very interested in these theories, but for those of us in that category it is amazingly easy to follow and the fictional aspect of the 'interview' seems like a little fun.


This would also be a good book for a student about to study Physics who might find it intimidating. There are no equations to decipher, just theory on a philosophical level that any reasonably intelligent person could follow.

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review 2017-12-28 14:52
Old Celtic Romances
Old Celtic Romances - P.W. Joyce

by P. W. Joyce


This is a lovely collection of old traditional tales from the Irish tradition like The Children of Lir, that many of us have grown up with. Most of these tales are told in prose, though some in poetry.


The Irish tales have always had a lyrical quality to them even in prose and have been the basis for many later stories that build on the tales of both ancestors and the fairy tradition that weaves its magic through this style of storytelling.


This book gathers several of these romance tales into one volume for easy reference and would be a lovely gift for someone who enjoys all things Celtic.


The commentaries are also very interesting and explain the background of the tales. Some readers might have a little trouble with pronunciation of some names and names of places, but there is some help for that in the back.

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