Inspired to Make

Inspired to Make

Published on Monday, May 19, 2014. This article appears in the June/July 2014 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Speaking of Furniture Wendell Castle spread

Speaking of Furniture presents 14 interviews, conducted in 1991 for the 10th anniversary of Pritam & Eames gallery. The artists, such as Wendell Castle (above), have become acknowledged giants in the studio furniture world. 

Mark LaFavor

Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters
By Warren Eames Johnson and Bebe Pritam Johnson
The Artist Book Foundation, $75

In 1991, for the 10th anniversary of Pritam & Eames, gallery owners Bebe Pritam Johnson and Warren Eames Johnson interviewed 14 of their artists, intending to publish their stories soon thereafter. Logistics and finances intervened, however, and the project was shelved for more than 20 years, before being resurrected and released this past November. In the decades since the interviews, the artists, including James Krenov, Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie, and Wendy Maruyama, have been recognized as the best in their field. These time-capsule interviews about their work and lives, from a moment when contemporary studio furniture was picking up steam, reveal the makers in a candid light, speaking with a freedom that underscores the friendship and trust among the gallerists and artists, whose work they show (and love) to this day. ~Andrew Zoellner


Spark the Creative Flame: Making the Journey from Craft to Art
By Paul J. Stankard
McDonald & Woodward, $50

Spark the creative flame packs a big punch for a relatively compact volume – but perhaps that’s no surprise, considering its author. Glass artist and ACC Fellow Paul Stankard is known for his stunningly realistic botanical orbs, teeming with meticulously detailed flora. For this book, intended as a resource for all (though of special interest to glass artists), Stankard has assembled a work as bountiful as his art, including a section of essays by Judith Schaechter, Bruce Metcalf, and Burton Wasserman. Another section covers Stankard’s career of five decades, reflecting on his experiences and artistic philosophy. A final  – and wonderful – section features “artist appreciations,” in which Stankard writes with wisdom and affection about 12 other makers. ~Julie K. Hanus


Art & Textiles: Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present
Edited by Markus Brüderlin
Hatje Cantz, $70

“To be human is to be involved with cloth,” writes Beverly Gordon, one of 10 contributors in this opus on textiles and the oft-overlooked impact they’ve had on modern and contemporary art. Browsing this sumptuous volume leaves no doubt. Accompanying an exhibition of the same name, Art & Textiles journeys from the presence of fabric in paintings by the likes of Edgar Degas to the integration of fiber techniques in the work of sculptor Eva Hesse and the weavings of Lenore Tawney, all the way to the patterned networks found on the World Wide Web. This illuminating book reminds us how enmeshed in the material world we have been and always will be, even as new technologies and art forms emerge. ~Jessica Shaykett