Of course men doing handcraft is nothing new. My Great Grandfather, merchant marine, prohibition rum runner and Indian army boxing champion (yep he was quite a guy) was a master of knitting, rope craft, sewing and crochet amongst many other things. Then again it's cold and dark in Northern England and there was no TV (reality or otherwise ) back then, so maybe its not such a suprise he was able to master so much. More recently a slew of beardy hipsters have come out of the Portlandia woodwork and started up with a huge array of textile related handcraft, which is all good... but I've been looking around recently and trying to find more crafty dudes from the in between years and its been hard going. Until now...
Rosey is an American Football 'Hall of Famer' who played with both the LA Rams and the New York Jets, and as it says on the dust jacket - " a hulking, awesome, six foot five, three hundred pound chance, and if Rosey's massive hands can create lovely designs on canvas then so can just about anyones." Brilliant. Man sized bad boy craft at last! I should also point out that Rosey was also Robert Kennedy's body guard for a while, hosted his own tv show, is now an ordained christian minister, AND recorded his own tracks with funk and soul legend Bobby Womack. For Real brothers and Sisters.
Along with a great set of instructions on simple stitch techniques, base materials and technical instructions he's provided a range of manly patterns and projects, which is to be expected. What's especially cool though is that he takes time to encourage dudes to think about what they like and create original pieces that reflect their own interests and hobbies. A nice change from the colour by numbers approach to needlepoint ...not that there's anything wrong with a needlepoint blue boy, wild stallion or or Fragonard's The Swing.
And how can you not love a guy who very thoughtfully includes some lovely 'ladies choice' projects so gents can impress their better halves with their mad skills. Because nothing floats a crafty ladies boat like an owl handbag or bargello brick doorstop!
Maybe my favourite thing however is the singularly awesome voice of Rosey throughout the book encouraging men to join the handcrafting fraternity. His warm, friendly and generous delivery makes it all incredibly accessible and he walks newcomers through each process from first craft shop entry right through to finished product... 'rapping and jiving' the whole way.
And his two chapters showcasing the work of fellow gentlemen needlers and collection of helpful pointers on how to get young boys into needlepoint are both brilliant and hilarious!
more dude craft here
more manbroidery here
or listen to a little Jimmy Smith to get you in the mood right here.