★★★★★ Gather and Make: Plant-Based Projects Through the Seasons by Genevieve Layman is a gorgeous art- and nature-fueled extravaganza. Layman begins the book by detailing her relationship with plants and animals, and how her curiosity toward these subjects has evolved organically as she has grown. Regardless of one’s age, interest, or artistic skill level, Layman says, there exists a craft or a project that is suitable for each and every one of us. The book is sectioned by month, providing three projects that are best suited to showcase the plants and found objects that are available during that season. Layman designates the difficulty of her crafts by one of three different levels—easy to complete, moderately easy, and somewhat difficult—though, in truth, her directions are clear enough such that none of the projects comes across as too unapproachable for a crafting novice.
Gather and Make is the perfect example of how a person’s interests can be channeled into a productive, relaxing, and aesthetically-pleasing pastime. The projects in Layman’s book vary enough that each one continually offers new challenges and rewards for the reader. Aside from offering directions for a number of different crafts, the book also contains dozens of stunning color photographs, planting and harvesting instructions that are tailor made for each month, and trivia tidbits following each section of the book. Layman photographed the subjects in the book herself, and the mixture of neutral backgrounds she has selected for the images—ranging from slate gray to eggshell white to a striking charcoal—are perfectly suited for showing off the rainbow hues in the flowers, seedpods, and grasses she utilizes. Though we heartily recommend that readers try their own hand at the wide range of crafts in Gather and Make, we know that life doesn’t always allow for leisure time. If nothing else, this book will be a beautiful and practical addition to any home library—and an excellent reminder that sometimes it is the quietest and humblest moments that are the most rewarding.