Crafters, who by nature are deeply invested in the physical realm, are also skilled at building virtual communities. Through their online courses and social media platforms, a generation of artists, collectors, designers, and renovators are sharing knowledge well beyond their studios. PW spoke with editors of forthcoming home and hobby books about translating online connections into real-world guides.

Object lessons

The transition from pixel to page is a craft of its own. “A lot of people want to have a book, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to really do it,” says Caitlin Leffel, senior cookbooks and lifestyle editor at Union Square. What drew her to For the Love of Renovating by Barry Bordelon and Jordan Slocum (June) was the couple’s eagerness to “roll up their sleeves and get it done,” she says, whether “it” was the book itself or the remodeling of the 1890s Brooklyn brownstone they bought in 2018.

Their Brownstone Boys blog became a renovation resource, bringing the duo clients, a Brownstoner column, and more than 275,000 Instagram followers. The book delves into the nuts and bolts (and paintbrushes, and crown molding) of renovation, in sections covering design styles, budgeting, and the kind of work required for each room in a house. “The guidance is chock-full of useful rules of thumb,” according to PW’s review, “and the authors place a welcome emphasis on trusting one’s gut.”

Leffel says the book has a timely appeal. “With the combination of the pandemic and high interest rates, people are taking a second look at what they can do in their existing spaces,” she notes. “Not everyone is going to gut-renovate a Brooklyn brownstone. You might just do one closet and still get a lot out of multiple sections of the book.”

Like the Brownstone Boys, fellow Brooklynites Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart are in the business of preservation, focusing on objects that speak to Black American history. Their book, the Black Dog & Leventhal release BLK MKT Vintage (Oct.), is “an opportunity to celebrate and reclaim these objects,” says senior editor Lisa Tenaglia. When acquiring books, Tenaglia notes, “one of the things I really notice is the interaction of visuals and text. Jannah and Kiyanna understood the book as another piece of art.”

The couple run an antiques store, also called BLK MKT Vintage, in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, and maintain an Instagram account with 275,000 followers. The book inventories their large personal collection, which includes issues of the Black Panther newspaper and recordings of James Baldwin’s readings. Through photos, interviews, and other vignettes, they provide insight into the vintage market and tips for people building their own collections.

The authors are Black women “working in a field where a lot of people don’t look like them,” Tenaglia says. “The items they highlight have been discarded by that community because they didn’t understand the value. Their work is to talk about how these objects matter.”

Ekta Kaul, who grew up in India and studied design there before earning her master’s in textiles in the U.K., takes a different angle on historical legacies: she leads in-person embroidery workshops, retreats, and live Zoom classes with a focus on regional South Asian traditions. “I always look for authors who teach,” says Herbert Press senior commissioning editor Clare Martelli, who worked with Kaul to develop her forthcoming debut, Kantha (Aug.).

The title refers to a stitching and quilting technique common to Bangladesh and eastern Indian states. “Traditionally, Bengali women embroidered kantha by layering cast-off saris and dhotis to create richly decorated textiles,” Kaul writes in her book. “Threads unraveled from sari borders created intricate illustrative or abstract patterns employing a rich vocabulary of stitches.” She showcases various quilts and stitching techniques, and guides readers in creating their own designs.

Martelli says the book offers a distinct style of learning compared with Kaul’s workshops and retreats. “Being part of an online course or in-person workshop, you’re meeting people and you’re talking,” Martelli adds. “Having a book, you can quietly go about your work on your own. These are two really different learning experiences, and I think they complement each other.”

Natural progressions

Martelli also acquired Mosaics Inspired by Nature (Nov.) by another teaching artist, Rachel Davies, who lives in Scotland and has 120,000 Instagram followers. Using slate, marble, shells, and glass, she crafts textured mosaics resembling naturally occurring patterns and landscapes. “When Rachel is out and about, she sees patterns, photographs them, and uses them as a springboard for her work,” says Martelli, who appreciates the nonrestrictive nature of the book’s instruction. “There’s practical, how-to knowledge in there—this is how I do it, this is how other people do it—but the book doesn’t dictate specific projects.”

In Northern California, second-generation farmer Hannah Rose Rivers Muller creates colorful floral arrangements using dried blooms from her family’s organic Full Belly Farm. Her June debut with Clarkson Potter, Designing with Dried Flowers, outlines methods for preserving flowers in ways that maintain their colors, and provides directions for making centerpieces, wedding décor, and wreaths. Muller maintains a robust online presence—the Wreath Room, the Instagram account where she showcases her dried flower creations, has more than 115,000 followers—and Full Belly Farm is well-known regionally, says Clarkson Potter editor Deanne Katz. “The farm does a lot of farmers markets and other events,” she says. “That’s an in-person platform, in the same way that restaurants sell their books at the restaurant.”

Katz was also drawn to the book’s sustainability angle. “The principle of this book is to take the ideas of flower arranging but do it with dried flowers, so you can take an arrangement apart and make something new with the same components,” she says.

Chronicle associate editor Natalie Butterfield discovered the art of Julie Beeler, who works with foraged mushrooms, in a Santa Fe gallery. Beeler presents at international conferences and lectures via online platforms in addition to leading hands-on workshops at her studio in Trout Lake, Wash. “Mushrooms have been hugely popular in relation to cooking, psychedelics, and wellness,” Butterfield says. “But talking to artists and going to shows, I began seeing another approach, stemming from a desire to make art in concert with nature.”

Building on the work of artists including Miriam Rice, who began extracting colors from fungi in the 1960s, Beeler collects and chemically processes mushrooms to create pigments and dyes. Her book, The Mushroom Color Atlas (Sept.), includes pages of the resulting gradient swatches organized by color, mushroom type, and method of preparation. “On Julie’s website, you can cross-reference mushrooms, dyed textiles, and dye-making processes.” Butterfield says. “We wanted something similar in the book.”

Other artists take inspiration, but not raw materials, from the natural world. The New Art of Paper Flowers, an October release from Paige Tate, is by Seattle artist Quynh Nguyen, who crafts and arranges blooms out of crepe paper. Avalon Radys, managing editor at Paige Tate parent company Blue Star Press, had been watching paper flowers “explode in popularity online,” she notes, and she liked that Nguyen collaborates with established brands, such as the Italian paper company Cartotecnica Rossi. “This shows that she’s versatile,” Radys says of Nguyen, who also leads virtual workshops and cohosts a floral papercraft podcast. “Working with European brands can help reach readers beyond the U.S.”

Social skills

Online crafters can benefit from large international followings but also face the challenge of forging meaningful connections with diverse audiences. “In looking at social media, what’s important is not just the size of the following but the engagement, how makers are interacting with their audiences,” says Joy Aquilino, editorial director at Walter Foster, which is releasing Mini Plein Air Painting with Remington Robinson in July. “There’s broad interest in plein air painting, but Remington’s approach appeals to a younger audience, people who don’t want to be encumbered by a big kit of stuff.”

Robinson, who lives in Boulder, Colo., dispenses with the easel and large box of paints, replacing them with a small tin—think Altoids container—that holds paint in its bottom section and a cut-to-size canvas under its lid. His Instagram and TikTok accounts, where he posts his miniature landscapes, have a combined million followers.

Self-described rugfluencer Simji has an even bigger audience—7.1 million TikTok users follow her rug-making and rug-trading exploits. In Rug Tufting with Simji (Walter Foster, Oct.), she walks readers through the technique of using a tufting gun to run wool through fabric, creating designs. Aquilino says that with major crafting chains like Michael’s selling rug-tufting supplies, the time seemed ripe for a book. Simji’s includes QR codes that lead to short online tutorials, “so people can see how she’s putting projects together at key moments. There’s a bit of closing the circle there”—in other words, fans used to seeing the author in action can still do so.

Even so, editors say, a book offers crafters something the web and social media can’t. “The internet is fast but impermanent, and books are slow but very permanent,” says Union Square’s Leffel. “You can dog-ear a page, daydream, take notes. A book enables all of this project planning in a very direct way.”

Read more from our Home & Hobbies Feature:

Reading the Room: PW Talks with Vanessa Dina and Claire Gilhuly

In ‘Book Nooks,’ the coauthors champion functional and aesthetically pleasing home libraries.

5 New Cottagecore Craft Books

Embroidery, cross-stitch, and other designs are inspired by woodland ecologies both natural and fantastical.

New & Classic Gardening Essay Collections

Jamaica Kincaid, Olivia Laing, and other dedicated gardeners dig into the past and plant seeds for the future.