Category: Book Recommendations

Books Make Great Gifts: 2014 Edition

As in previous years, artists represented by browngrotta arts have an eclectic and interesting list of books to recommend, art-related and otherwise. Thanks to dozen-plus artists who made suggestions, 18 books in all.

Tamiko Kawata reports that she had the chance to read a few books while icing her injured shoulder after therapy, first three times a day, then two times. She enjoyedHaruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. She is now reading — and enjoying — Even Back.Then.the.Fox.Was.the.HunterHerta Muller, Even Back Then, the Fox Was the Hunter.

Mary Merkel-Hess recommends Pilgrim.on.the.Great.Bird.ContinentPilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. “It is the gracefully written account of how, during his five years on the Beagle, Charles Darwin became an accomplished naturalist who could discern scientific truths from the creatures he studied. “ she writes. “Haupt documents this transformation by concentrating on Darwin’s lesser-known writings, particularly his notebooks. At points it reads like a travelogue and a manual for bird watchers. I found it fascinating.”

“I do not get to read books as much as I like,” writes Kiyomi Iwata, ” but the best book I read this year wasThe.Grief.of.Others.Leah.Hager.Cohen The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen. Even though she is very young — my daughter’s age — I found her prose most sensitive, insightful and compassionate. Her most recent book is No.Book.but.the.World.A.NovelNo Book for the World, which I am still reading.”

The most inspirational book Toshio Sekiji read this year was Korea.Economic.drilled.throughKorean Economy Drilled Through by Lee Hong Chang, which was originally published in Korea by Bobmun-sha,1999, the Japanese translation was by Hosei University Press in 2004. The book illuminates the dramatic changes from the medieval age to the modern age. It was one of a number of related books Toshio has read over the last two years as he prepared a report, “Korean Lacquer Culture through Neolithic Age to Modern Age” for the Bulletin of the Lacquer Art Museum in Wajima, Japan.

Ulla-Maija Vikman most enjoyed Flayed.ThoughtsNyljettyjä ajatuksia (Flayed Thoughts) by Juha Hurme. In Finnish only at this point, it’s a story of a 700-mile, 20-day rowing journey in which the characters eat, camp on islets and beaches and discuss what is essential and how what’s essential is transmitted.

There are two recommendations from Ruth Malinowski: The.Hare.With.Amber.EyesThe Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, recommended last year by Kay Sekimachi (and published by Rhonda’s other employer, FSG/Macmillan) and 1913: The Year Before the Storm1913.The.Year.Before.the.Storm by Florian Illies. The latter highlights developments in literature and art, as well as politics, covering the lives of Kafka, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Camille Claudel, Freud, Stalin, Hitler and some Royalty. Wars, love letters, art thefts and many more events from1913 are cleverly combined in 12 chapters, each reflecting a calendar month.

Ceca Georgieva rated ShantaramShantaram by Gregory David Roberts as her most inspirational read of the year. (Full disclosure, this one is also published by Rhonda’s other employer, St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan and a book she also quite enjoyed. It’s been optioned by Johnny Depp and the movie is currently in production.)

“Of the many inspiring reads this year,” writes Wendy Wahl, “two authors stand out who had an impact on my work as a visual artist interested in the potency of printed text on paper. I was given The.Size.of.ThoughtsNicholson Baker’s The Size of Thoughts, by my husband when I was trying to weave together seemingly disparate yet connected ideas that sometimes are considered mundane and should be thought of as blessed into a cohesive short story. Baker’s style reminded me to keep doing what I was doing. I went onto read his Double.Fold.Libraries.and.the.Assault.on.PaperDouble Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which became the inspiration for a sculpture I made this year that shares its name. One of my favorite library activities is to stroll through the stacks with my head cocked to one side and my index finger underlining titles vertically to see what’s there. I was delighted to come upon On Paper,On.Paper.The.Everything.of.Its.2000.Year.History The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas Basbanes, ‘a self-confessed bibliophiliac.’ I’ve checked this book out several times, paid late fees and, since I can’t write in this copy, I realize I must own it.”

Five art books got the nod from our artist/correspondents including Iridescent.LightIridescent Light: The Emergence of Northwest Art by Deloris Tarzan Ament with photographs by Mary Randlett. Dona Anderson “enjoyed immensely” Ament’s profiles of 21 artists who lived and worked in Washington State during formative periods in their careers, profiles that blend discussion of their work and commentary on the obstacles they faced and the influences they brought to bear on one another.

Scott Rothstein rates Bharany.CollectionsA Passionate Eye: Textiles, Paintings and Sculptures from the Bharany Collections, Giles Tillotson, ed. as a “great book.” Mr. Bharany is Scott’s “Indian Father.” He is very involved with textiles as well as paintings and other Indian art forms. Scott says, “I had tea with him three times a week when I lived there and we get back to India almost every year, mostly to spend time with him. He is around 88 years old, so we feel we need to be with him as much as we can.” The book on Judith Scott, Judith.Scott.Bound.UnboundJudith Scott, Bound and Unbound, he recommends, too — more for the photos than the text.

Nancy Koenigsberg found the volume created to accompany the traveling exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Fiber Sculpture 1960-presentFiber: Sculpture 1960 to the Present (available on our website, browngrotta.com), “a must read for fiber people,  makers and buyers — especially young artists who don’t know who some of these artists are. I was really surprised to discover that!!,” she says.

“My favorite book for this year,” writes Adela Akers, “is, without a doubt: In the Realm of NatureIn The Realm Of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi (available on our website, browngrotta.com). A beautiful book, well conceived with excellent writing by Signe S. Mayfield. The life history of these two wonderful artists is beautifully intertwined with perfect images of their work. What a pleasure!”

Wishing you all new year that provides plenty of time for pleasure reading!


Woven Work/Woven Words — Hiding in the Weave Hits the Shelves

 

THE FLOW OF WATER 6
Naomi Kobayashi, paper and thread, 12.5” x 22.375” x 2”, 2008, photo by Tom Grotta

THE FLOW OF WATER 6
Naomi Kobayashi, paper and thread, 12.5” x 22.375” x 2”, 2008, photo by Tom Grotta

Three years ago, browngrotta arts facilitated correspondence between artist Naomi Kobayashi and author (and collector) William Bayer about the artist’s technique of weaving paper strips with thread. Bayer envisioned a character in a novel weaving a message into her work, which another character would deconstruct to de-code. Naomi provided technical advice — yes, it could be done and the message could be read, if the weaver used oil-based ink. Flash forward to 2014.

Hiding the Weave by William Bayer

Hiding the Weave by William Bayer

Bayer’s book, Hiding in the Weave, is off the word processor and on the shelves. Written from the perspective of 18-year-old Joel Barlev, a senior at Delamere, a school geared to talented young artists, the novel plays off themes typically found in classic boarding school novels — requited and unrequited romance, alienation, rebellion, sexuality, moral dilemmas and evolving maturity. Joel, a gifted ceramic artist, finds himself falling in love with Liv Anders, a talented weaver, who observes: “You gouge your pots to show your pain to the world. I hide my pain in the weave.”  It turns out there is something more tangible hidden in one of Liv’s abstract weavings, and when tragedy strikes, Joel and his two best friends, Justin and Kate, feel compelled to uncover it. Naomi Kobayashi’s work graces the cover; her art informs the content. Get a copy at browngrotta.com.


The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 2

RichardDiebenkornAs always, art books are well represented among this year’s recommendations from browngrotta arts-affiliated artists, and at least one of the volumes offers life lessons, too.  Adela Akers writes that “the best books so far this year are the Diebenkorn catalogs for the exhibition at the de Young Museum,” which includes, Richard Diebenkorn, The Berkeley Years, 1953- 1966. Adela also recommends The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992, both as “good reads that include wonderful reproductions.” 39b.SHEILA.HICKSThe comprehensive volume,  Kyoko_Kumai_bookWorks of Kyoko Kumai Metallic Textile Art, published earlier this year tops Kyoko Kumai’s list. The book’s text appears in English and Japanese and it includes a digital version of the book on cd. Naomi Kobayashi recommends  Sheila Hicks for its content and beautiful binding.  The.Hare.with.Amber.EyesKay Sekimachi listed The Hare with Amber Eyes. In it, Edmund de Waal,  a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria & Albert Museum, describes the experiences of his family, the Ephrussis, and explores the family’s large collection of Japanese netsuke, tiny hand-carved figures including a hare with amber eyes. La_Biennale_di_VeneziaIn Heidrun Schimmel’s view, the 55. Esposizione Internazionale d´Arte  was one of the best Biennials in Venice ever, and she enthused about the accompanying catalog, The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia. Its title was chosen by the director for the 55th Biennale as a reference to the 1955 design registered with the US Patent office by the self-taught artist Marino Auriti, depicting an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge and human discoveries, from the wheel to the satellite.  On the opposite side of Canale Grande writes Heidrun, “there is an important exhibition, Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, Venezia, Dorsoduro, Pinault Collection, especially for artists who are working with material as matter. This exhibition continues through 2014, and is accompanied by a very good catalog, Caroline Bourgeois and Michael GovanPrima Materia,  edited by curators Caroline Bourgeois and Michael Govan.”  Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel LimRandy Walker  read Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel Lima this year.  “To me, network diagrams and their many variations are highly suggestive of fibrous connections. I am experimenting with the idea of my lines as connectors of different types of information.  The information can generate the connections. The book played an inspirational role in a new public art project I working on with Roosevelt High School here in Minneapolis to explore the network diagram in three dimensions. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project: Connections Gallery.”

Scrape_Willow_Until_It_Sings_Words_Work_Julia_ParkerAnd From Gyöngy Laky, a recommendation for a book and a for approaching life.  “Two artists I admire enormously, Julia Parker and Deborah Valoma, created, Scrape the Willow Until It Sings, The Words and Work of Julia Parker, one of the best books on basketry, life and art I have ever read. It was published this year by an exceptional book publisher, Heyday, Berkeley, California. Native American basketry, especially the work of indigenous people in California, has been, and continues to be, a major inspiration to me and my creative life. Julia Parker and the author Deborah ValomaValoma writes in the introduction, Julia Parker and other traditional practitioners have much to teach those of us in the academy. I would add, and to those not in the academy, as well. The vast personal experiences, broad and deep scope of historical evidence and creative wisdom that these two thoughtful women have brought together in this book is a gift to us all. Near the end I found a something that Parker said that feels like a guide: In our story – in our Indian way – we stop, look, and listen.  Stop. Think about yourself.  Rest yourself.  Rest your eyes, your hands.  Rest your body.  Look.  Look about you. Look at the smallest insect.  Look at the tallest trees, which have given us shelter and food.  And we listen.  Listen to the sound of the water flowing.  Listen to your elders, your teachers.  Listen to your grandmother, your grandfather, your parents.  And above all, listen to yourself.


The Year in Books: Art, Life and Learning — Part 1

World Book EncylopediaIt’s been a literary trip back in time for some of browngrotta arts’ artists this year. Every day since February, Wendy Wahl has chosen something at random to read from a well-preserved, slightly earthy smelling set of the 1957 World Book Encyclopaedia. “This pursuit began,” she explains, “when I brought the volumes into the house from the studio to use as a barricade on furniture for my then one-year old Labrador Retriever. It kept her off the sofa but when I wasn’t looking she decided to explore Volumes A and N-O to see how they tasted. Volume M stands out in my memory, the letter of moving water. Included on the glossy pages are mangoes, mathematics, music, Moscow, Mexico, Morocco, molybdenum, money, minerals, medicine, manuscripts, Magna Carta, Mozart, Mendelssohn, monotype, mimeograph, motion pictures, moons, meteors, Mary, Moses, Mohammed, Manet, Monet, Matisse, milk, meat, mushroom, Madison, Marx but no Mandela. It has been revealing to look at these entries through the lens of the editors writing fifty-six years ago; War& PeaceI’m interested in how and what is presented and this 40th edition’s place in the 20th century.” Mary Merkel-Hess spent the entire autumn of this year reading one book – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. “My husband and I and a few others read it under the tutelage of an enthusiastic, young Russian professor,” she writes, “who served tea cakes and strong coffee during each of our discussions. Yes, it’s a great book and our study quickly led us to consider the history surrounding the book (Napoleonic wars), the complicated and fascinating Tolstoy family (especially the marriage of Leo and Sonya) and the use of the book and characters in other works of art – music and film. There is an American film version of the book starring Audrey Hepburn and a much better Russian film version which runs to 8 hours or so. We and our fellow classmates were captivated and the writing was, of course, superb. We read the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I am not exactly recommending War and Peace, but if you would like to be submersed for awhile, able to ignore the news and unable to engage in topical conversation, I do recommend choosing it or another of the ‘great books’ as a way to take the focus off your regular life. I am now considering TheIdiotDostoyevskiThe Idiot by Dostoyevski (the favorite book of Pope Francis) or Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann, which my daughter gave me a few years ago. Either way, I know I am in for the perfect escape.” Look for more recommendations in our next post.


Not Quite Beach Reading, but Recommended – Part II

Textiles of the World

Wittrock.Book

Gali Cnaani: Oslo XXL and SleevesA few more interesting books and catalogs arrived in our mailbox over the last couple of months. First up, the truly luscious Textiles of the Islamic World by John Gillow (Thames & Hudson). A dealer in Asian folk textiles, Gillow has been traveling to Asia and the Middle East for 40 years. The oversized book, with more than 600 color images of cloth of cotton, hemp, velvet and silk knitted, quilted, felted and hand woven, aptly succeeds in its aim “to supply a broad survey of the textiles produced today and in the past in the Islamic world, putting them in their social and historical context.” Another interesting survey is Grethe Wittrock’s small color catalog, Grethe Wittrock: Works 2006 – 2012. The book includes images of her paper wall hangings and her recent work with sails. We received two catalogs from recent exhibitions featuring work by Gali Cnaani. The first, Gali Cnaani/Oslo XXLincludes images of woven works and wallscapes of stacked books, The second is the catalog for Gale Cnaani: Sleeves, the exhibition currently at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. In this exhibition, Cnaani has created “a new anthology of weaving” by dismantling parts of second-hand clothes that have been unraveled and re-assembled to form hybrid textiles. In doing so, the Museum says, “Cnaani subverts the dichotomy between the garment and the deconstructed structure and pattern, between industry and craft, between garments and cloth.” The catalog contains images of these provocative works, informative essays and interviews with the artists. You can also watch an online tour of the exhibition, narrated by the artist in English at: Cnaani is a 2013 recipient of the Andrea M. Bronfman prize for Contemporary Crafts (the Andy Prize) awarded annually to an Israeli decorative artist for excellence in ceramics, jewelry, textile, glass or fashion. The exhibition runs through December 14, 2013 in The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Wing for Architecture and Design, Galleries 1 and 2, Herta and Paul Amir Building, http://www.tamuseum.com/about-the-exhibition/gali-cnaani.


Book Notes: Not Quite Beach Reads, but Recommended

A series of attractive books have wound up in our mailbox this spring.  None are quite right for the beach, but each immerses a reader in another culture, locale or artist’s viewpoint — a bit of an adventure without leaving home. Even for fans of indigo, like me, 61DVt8IGxzL._SX285_Indigo: The Color that Changed the World by Catherine Legrand (Thames & Hudson 2012)  is a revelation. The book covers geographical regions (Japan, China, India, Laos and Cambodia, Africa, Central America and Europe — who knew?) where the ancient art is still practiced and indigo forms a part of the fabric of everyday life. The differences and similarities in the uses of indigo in these varied locales is fascinating. There are 500 glorious photographs, many of them a full page each. It’s not a reference in the typical sense as others have covered this material more comprehensively, but a visual one. I have found myself repeatedly returning to the book and leafing through the images again just to immerse myself in the patterns and hues.

41hsTQd0R3L._SY380_A Handbook of California Design, 1930-1965, Craftspeople, Designers, Manufacturers, edited by Bobbye Tigerman (Los Angeles County Museum of Art and MIT Press 2013) offers more of a trip through time. Designed by acclaimed book designer Irma Boom, the pages look like newsprint and are handcut and edged in day-glo orange, the same color used for the cover. The photos and illustrations are nearly all in black and white and convey the design sensibility of the period, which was a halcyon period for design — California was “a breeding ground for new ideas to flourish without constraints,” and design benefited from its many institutions of higher learning and the technical and material innovations that WWII brought to the aerospace and defense industries. The connections and collaborations of the book’s subjects — from Harry Bertoia to Mary Ann DeWeese (Catalina Swimwear) to Charles and Ray Eames to Trude Guermonprez to Gertrud and Otto Natzler to browgrotta arts’ artists Ed Rossbach and Katherine Westpahl (featuring photos by Tom Grotta) and Kay Sekimachi — are mapped on a helpful chart. In each biography, the names of other subjects in the book appear in day-glo orange so that the reader can look for cross references. The biographies are brief and insightful.

61z5mPsxGvL._SX285_In Textiles: The Art of Mankind (Thames & Hudson 2012) Mary Schlosser sets out to explore the “continuum of creativity” that links ancient textiles to those created in the 21st century. Her chapter on structure, in which she argues that all textiles, even lengths of yardage, are three-dimensional objects takes an interesting look at non-tensional techniques, primarily basketmaking. The book contains a wealth of resources, including website addresses for artists and designers, and a staggering 1,058 illustrations. We were puzzled, though, by the author’s failure to mention browngrotta arts‘ website which has more than 1,000 images of textile art among the resources or list any of the 40+ catalogs on art textiles that we have published. Most disappointing — though she includes more than two dozen illustrations of work by Ed Rossbach, Katherine Westphal, Sara Brennan, Kay Sekimachi and Karyl Sisson, she fails to provide a website reference for any of them, even though there are images and information on each at http://browngrotta.com. Despite that omission — it’s a remarkable book, and well worth seeking out.


Books Make Great Gifts 2013 – Part II

More book recommendations from artists and us.

“There are a series of books, journals, Daybook, Turn, and Prospect, by Anne Truitt, the minimalist sculptor,” Mary Merkel-Hess writes, “that were important to me when I was a young artist. In a marvelously lucid way, Anne Truitt wrote about her life in the studio, her marriage, children, and making a living at art. Particularly interesting to me was her discussion, in her first book, about turning away from a life of doing ‘good’ in the world (she studied clinical psychology and worked as a nurse) to become an artist.”

Nancy Moore Bess, recommends The World of Donald Evans by Willy Eisenhart. “I had purchased some bookmarks with his watercolor ‘stamps’ and was excited to see a book about him. His work is visually so rich and really reflects his life…which tragically ended in a fire at his studio in 1977. If you ever find a copy, curl up with it yourself.”

For Heidrun Schimmel, Documenta 13, was one of the best ‘documenta’ exhibitions and the publications — there are three — give a great deal of information about the art scene, the questions and problems of our world. Documenta 13’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev described the 2012 festival as “choreographing many different kinds of materials, methodologies and forms of knowledge.” One of the three publications, Documenta 13: The Book of Books reproduces the entire 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts series of publications (either as facsimiles or with entirely new layouts), and is supplemented by essays from Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Chus Martínez, Franco Berardi and others, plus statements by some of the festival’s agents and advisors. Heidrun also recommends Ends of the Earth, Art of the Land to 1974, by Philipp Kaiser, Miwon Kwon, Tom Holert and Julian Meyers. The companion exhibition is at Haus der Kunst, Prinzregentenstraße 1 in Munich,
Germany through January 20, 2013. “I think this exhibition is very important for anyone who is working with ‘material as matter,’ perhaps especially for artists of my generation who remember this revolution in art history.”

I am thoroughly enjoying Confessions of a Generalist, by Niels Diffrient, as I have a few moments to read amidst holiday prep and end-of-year items. Niels is a friend, the spouse of tapestry artist Helena Hernmarck and designer of the Freedom, Liberty and World ergonomic chairs. His is a remarkable journey — from a Mississippi farm to Cranbrook to Italy, to work with Eero Saarinen, Buckminister Fuller, Henry Dreyfuss and for Edwin Land, on every every type of equipment, as well as computers, exhibits, trucks, airplane interiors and corporate identity programs. The book is lavishly illustrated and captioned and Niels succeeds in his aim of creating a “communication product,” that closely relates words and pictures, both physically and intellectually, and approximates “the way we experience reality with both our intellect and senses.”


Books Make Great Gifts 2013 — Part I

It’s that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, we’ll offer a wrap up of books that the artists, clients and staff of browngrotta arts have been reading and thinking about this year.

Kiyomi Iwata recommends Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Hamilton is an owner of a restaurant called Prune in New York’s East Village but she is a chef, writer and an artist. This book also comes highly recommended by collectors/family members Sandra and Lou Grotta. Kiyomi’s second choice is Growing, Older, A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables by Joan Dye Gussow, Chelsea Green Publishing. “Gussow is a pioneer of the ‘Eat Local’ movement,” Kiyomi writes, ” and a very honest and funny writer.”

Dail Behennah admitted it was hard to whittle down her recommendations for books to read, but here goes: “The best book I have read this year is Making by Thomas Heatherwick and Maisie Rowe, published to accompany the exhibition at the V&A.” The 600 pages of drawings and photographs show the work of the designer Thomas Heatherwick and his Studio, with beautifully written explanations of each project. Arranged chronologically, each project is headed with a question “Can a giant sculpture fit through a letterbox?” “Can straight pieces of wood make a curved building?” Heatherwick’s enthusiasm for these problems is infectious, and he always comes up with an unpredictable solution which is elegant and deceptively simple. “I am sure,” she adds, ” that this is a book that I will return to over and over again.” The book that Dail is eagerly awaiting is Making and Drawing by Kyra Cane to be published this month by A & C Black. “It promises to provide inspiration and an insight into the way other makers think.” she writes. “Some of my favorite makers are included and I hope that it might change the way I draw. Some of my plans on graph paper are included in the chapter, “Drawing as Planning & Design.”

A book that Gyöngy Laky predicts could be just the right gift for an art lover is The Art of Rebellion III The book about street art by Christian Hundertmark. “I am intrigued by much of the free wheeling creativity and great skill I see in graffiti but also troubled by it – particularly when it is destructive, unwanted and messy, ” Laky writes. “The front of our house got tagged one night with ugly, awkward, large, purple marks. We were not happy. In this book, however, the works go beyond just graffiti to surprising street art, clever and comic installations, thoughtful environmental art or engaging guerrilla works. There are numerous, creative, inventive, original, playful, funny, crazy and fantastic conceptual works that will delight and inspire the reader. These artistic expressions do present a perplexing problem; if they are wonderful events and brilliantly creative, but made illegally and clandestinely on private property or public areas where they should not be made, can we still love and appreciate them?”

Ane Henricksen wrote us about Dr. Jessica Hemmings new book, Warp & Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors. The book has six chapters: “Threads,” “All Kinds of Light,” “Dynamic Responses,” “Sound,” “Community” and “Emotion.” Described by its publisher as, “[a]n excellent resource for everyone with an interest in modern, woven textiles,” this book features work by Nuno, Ane Henricksen, Grethe Sørensen, Lia Cook and many others.


Hot off the Press: Our Largest Catalog Yet

The catalog for Retro/Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture is an ambitious venture for us. Currently weighing in at 182 pages, it features a timeline of art textile events from the 40s to the present, including the Lausanne Biennials (1962 to 1995), Fiber/Revolution in Milwaukee in 1986, Beyond Weaving in Greenwich, Connecticut in 2006, and key dates for fiber pioneers like Dorothy Liebes, Lenore TawneyMagdalena Abakanowicz and Ed Rossbach. The catalog also includes two essays, one by designer Jo Ann Stabb, formerly on the design faculty at the University of California, Davis, on the emergence of contemporary textiles and fiber arts, the other by Lesley Millar, Professor of Textile Culture at the UK’s University of the Creative Arts, on recent developments in the field and what’s ahead. The catalog will be available in our online bookstore at  http://browngrotta.com/Pages/c37.php for $55.00, plus shipping and  sales tax where applicable.

 


Good Reads: Textiles, Tapestry and Ceramics

We’ve received three comprehensive and attractive books in the last few months, Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, SignificanceTapestry: A Woven Narrativeand Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, and we have enjoyed them all. (We know they are attractive and comprehensive, because they include artists whose work we represent and, in some cases, photographs by Tom.) 

Beverly Gordon, author of Textiles: The Whole Story, Uses, Meaning, Significance from Thames & Hudson, has an ambitious aim. “My intention” she writes, “is to shine new light on the light on the taken-for-granted but fascinating subject of the roles and meanings that textiles hold in cultures throughout the world. I hope to make it undeniably evident that to be human is to be involved with cloth.” To do that, she takes readers on a dizzying trip across centuries and continents and beyond, from the linen strips that cover a mummy in Egypt circa 150-175 CE. to the fluropolymers protecting an astronaut as he walks in space in this century, with stops at Betsy Ross in colonial America, Mohandas Gandhi in colonial India, women glass spinners in Murano, Italy in 1905 and the Renaissance, where women worked on textiles in groups, along the way. In sections covering textiles and human consciousness, human survival, social meaning, money, status and control, meaning and beauty and the spiritual significance of cloth, Gordon provides insights and information for anyone with an interest in textiles and all they entail.
Tapestry: A Woven Narrative also takes the long view, providing a general introduction to the state of artisan tapestry weaving in the 21st century by way of contextual essays outlining developments from the Middle Ages to the modern age. In addition to the essays,  the book also includes illustrated profiles of contemporary weavers, including Jo Barker, Sara Brennan and Sue Lawty — along with studio profiles of Dovecot and others. Tapestry: A Woven Narrative is available from browngrotta arts.

Also available from browngrotta arts is Yasuhisa Kohyama: The Art of Ceramics, which contains lush photos of dozens of Kohyama’s works as well as a foreword by Jack Lenor Larsen and essays by Susan Jefferies and others. What is important about Kohyama’s work, writes Jeffries, “is his embrace of contemporary life, and his bold and poetic use of line, mass  and form; he is fully aware of the sculptural possibilities available to him. A love of nature and a life-long interest in sculpture and architecture have also inspired his work.”