WHIRLYGIGS AND WHIMMYDIDDLES: And Other American Folkcraft Objects by Florence Pettit
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WHIRLYGIGS AND WHIMMYDIDDLES: And Other American Folkcraft Objects

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mrs. Pettit claims in her introduction that ""a beginner can actually make any project in the book"" and indeed it is full of elementary advice (""the secret of bright, clear colors is to change the water in your glass very often as you paint"") and explicit directions as well as patterns for tracing; still this is only for beginners who are committed and mature and who have access to a good workshop' (""you can't make attractive, useful things by hand without decent tools and materials"") and some adult help. (Indeed there is no reason why the book can't be as valuable in an adult collection as in the children's room,) ""Only crafts that could attain much the character of the originals"" are covered, which disqualifies spinning (""requires a real live teacher"") and weaving (""requires a full sized loom"") -- but all those youthful new enthusiasts of colonial quilting and candle-making will be well served here, as will those adult admirers of carved cherrywood fowl, tin lanterns, whittled toys, pine-cone birds, corn husk dolls, and other natural ornaments, wreaths, gift trim, etc. Something new to most contemporary craftsmen will be ""theorem painting,"" a 19th-century fashion employing stencils and velvet. As for the ""native or ethnic arts,"" there are those who will maintain with considerable justification that no one who isn't an 18th-century Eskimo (perhaps a shaman as well) can make a ceremonial ""18th-century Alaskan Eskimo mask"" and that only a Zuni or Hopi believer can carve a Kachina doll, but Mrs. Pettit's extensive, illustrated instructions for each provide the basis at least for minutely accurate reproductions (though ""you may change and rearrange them as you please""). In all eighteen crafts are represented, each one allotted a chapter of up to 20 pages; many of the chapters include different projects that cover a range of difficulty. There are copious drawings by Laura Louise Foster of tools, stages of construction, and finished products as well as 36 photographs of inspiring samples from Colonial antiques to contemporary hand reproductions.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1972
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell