Crafty Girls’ Road Trip
By Ann Packer · Reviewed by Anne Mortimer
In 2004, my copy of Ann Packer’s Crafty Girls’ Road Trip was well thumbed and had its own permanent place on my dashboard as I travelled the length and breadth of the country. It encouraged many a small diversion and certainly helped me to spend my way around New Zealand, single handedly boosting the economy. The guide proved to be indispensable – wherever we went, the guide went too, as my craft oracle (or crutch). Inevitably as time went on, some shops disappeared, but I never lost faith in the guide. It was a happy day that I read that a completely new and updated version had been published and an even happier day when I received a copy to review.
The new guidebook is a much more substantial proposition. For one thing it’s a darn sight heavier than the previous version, which I think is due to the beefier weight of paper, a slightly larger format and more pages to include more entries as well as ten simple, quick and easy craft projects to tempt you. The basic premise of the guide remains the same: a hearty offering of craft places throughout the country, laid out region by region. The selections include craft shops, studios, op shops, retro and antique shops as well as tried and tested places to stop for a break to fortify your mind and body before you embark upon further treasure seeking.
Ann does comment about some places having gone and shares with the reader what finds she made at various places including “I had a fantastic day finding blankets and other quiltable stuff last time around, but not this time”. Certainly so much of the enjoyment gained from a crafty road trip is the possibility of finding some fantastic treasures so it does all come down to being at the right place at the right time.
If I have any criticism, it is that some of my favourite places from the previous guide that are still alive and well were missing. This may have been due to space limitations, or to keep some of the gems a little bit secret. It was heartening to see that Christchurch had a good number of entries, with important information on where places have relocated to. Due to space and time constraints crafty girls seeking more information on vintage, op shop and markets would do well to visit Diana Clark’s website fromtheuniverse.org
The Crafty Girls’ Road Trip offers a snapshot of craft places throughout the country as a starting point for all of us crafty girls to add to. Take it on your own road trip but don’t forget to try it out at home too, you’ll never know what you might discover on your own doorstep or through your browser thanks to the handy dandy resource guide that’s helpfully included at the end. Time to plan a crafty girls’ road trip – who’s with me?
Anne Mortimer is a sometime mum and sometime administrator. She also makes handcrafted felt items and will occasionally sell these. Anne has worked for museums, galleries and libraries in the UK and settled in New Zealand three years ago.