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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Christmas Gift Ideas 2012: Best Books for Friends & Family

In my final Christmas round up I bring you a great selection of books: dip into this for those last minute gift ideas. Go on, the shops are still open, you've got time.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Sanna Annukka The Fir Tree
It’s here! For my final round up of gift ideas I take a look at a selection of books to give your loved ones for Christmas. You’re sure to find something that will suit in this little lot… possibly even for yourself.

Sanna Annukka The Fir Tree
Sanna Annukka The Fir Tree

Best for lovers of illustration:
Finnish/English illustrator Sanna Annukka rose to prominence when she created the famous Under the Iron Sea album cover for Keane in 2006. Her heavily decorative style is instantly recognisable and her newest work, inspired by totems, is included in my round up of best prints for Christmas. Now she has illustrated the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale The Fir Tree, the story of how a small sapling is so anxious to reach maturity that he misses the best part of the present. It’s an ancient fable which is beautifully retold in Sanna‘s inimitable patterned illustrations, and all bound together in a fabulous fabric book with a very special gold foiled cover.

Kaffe Fasset Dreaming in Colour 3
Kaffe Fasset Dreaming in Colour 3
Kaffe Fasset Dreaming in Colour 3

Best for lovers of craft:
Anyone who loves colourful intarsia knits or modern patchwork quilts will be familiar with the work of Kaffe Fassett, who moved to this country from California many decades ago to pursue a career as a painter, and subsequently revolutionised contemporary craft. He was particularly popular in the 1980s, when he influenced a whole generation of crafters (including me), and now he’s put his extraordinary story down in print. The book’s publication chimes perfectly with a major retrospective at the Fashion and Textile Museum, which will take place from 22 March – 29 June next year.

Sylvester and the New Year Emmeline Pidgen
Sylvester and the New Year Emmeline Pidgen
Sylvester and the New Year Emmeline Pidgen

Best for children:
Sylvester and the New Year is a seasonal story that is a bit different form the usual fare, featuring a bearded old man that you might not be so familiar with. The book is based on a traditional folk tale from the continent, where Saint Sylvester wakes only to ensure the old year finishes and the New Year arrives. Emmeline Pidgen‘s beautiful illustrations tell this story in a way that will appeal to young children wonderfully.

Home Baked book Hanne Risgaard
Home Baked book Hanne Risgaard
Home Baked book Hanne Risgaard

Best for cooks:
Baking it seems, is all the rage. And everywhere I turn I bump up against yet another review for a book about cakes, or bread. But what to do for the person who already knows how to do all of usual stuff? Who wants a book a little different to those lining the shelves of our high street stores? Well, I’ve got just the ticket – Home Baked – an absolutely beautiful tome about artisanal Scandinavian baking. The timing couldn’t be better, what with our current obsession about all things Danish. This scrumptious book by organic farmer Hanne Risgaard is chock full of beautiful photographs and techniques for creating unusual nordic breads and pastries. And if you give the gift maybe you’ll get to try the outcome…

Cause and Effect Gestalten
Cause and Effect Gestalten
Cause and Effect Gestalten

Best for ethical designers:
After weeks and months of torrential rain it’s a wonder that climate change is still so far down the agenda: it shouldn’t be. We need to be talking about why extreme weather events are harassing our planet, and we need to be taking action, which is where the work of designers comes in. Designers and illustrators play an extremely important part in telling the stories that must persuade humans to change their ways. Cause and Effect: Visualising Sustainability, is a timely collection of inspiring graphics. It also happens to include the poster I created in collaboration with Mia Overgaard for Climate Camp a few years ago.

The Roundel cover
The Roundel cover

Best for Londoners:
Everyone knows the iconography of London’s tube: the Roundel must be one of the most recognisable emblems around the world. Now a new book documents the creations of a host of famous artists who were challenged with the task of reinterpreting the sign. Amongst recognisable renditions of the roundel are images that mutate it beyond recognition, lose it in patterns or adopt a humorous approach. The Roundel is perfect for anyone who loves London and it’s sometimes irascible underground system, and it is now available as a deluxe clothbound edition.

Where's Mo? by Harry Bloom
Where's Mo? by Harry Bloom
Where's Mo? by Harry Bloom

Best for sports nuts:
No one can have escaped coverage of the Olympics this summer, and now Harry Bloom, a talented young illustration graduate whom I discovered at the shows last year, has taken on the theme with this fun puzzle book – Where’s Mo? – which features illustrations of a selection of great British sporting events in which Mo Farrah and other sporting friends are hidden. Can you find them in the crowds?

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