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From Our Library: December / January 2020

From Our Library: December / January 2020

From Our Library: December / January 2020

December/January 2020 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
DJ20 book covers
Mark LaFavor

By Harriet Salmon

Outside the relatively small population of makers who support themselves selling handmade goods, craft is widely viewed as a hobby to celebrate and share. For a rarified group of makers, however, a form of highly skilled and technically impressive crafting happens behind closed doors, veiled with the anonymity of a professional transaction. In her podcast, artist Harriet Salmon explores this world by interviewing talented art world “fabricators” – makers who cast metal, build armatures, apply decorative plaster, and the like at the direction of other artists. They are uncredited hired guns, and their anonymity is crucial to their desirability among the artists who hire them.

Salmon’s podcast gives voice to this intriguing population that few know about. Yet they’re a group that should be better understood, partly because they’re managing to make a living from skilled trades in 21st-century America, and because the nature of their work would provoke a vital conversation about class, aesthetics, and the economics of labor today. Here’s hoping Netflix is listening. ~Sarah Archer

Kiln to Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Beloved North Carolina Potters
By Jean Anderson
The University of North Carolina Press, $28

Have you ever attributed a dish’s success to a particular tool? You’re not alone. In this down-to-earth cookbook, Jean Anderson explores the vital connection between pottery and culinary perfection. Traveling through three of North Carolina’s prime pottery regions – the Greater Triangle, Seagrove-Asheboro, and the Catawba Valley/Mountains – Anderson collects favorite recipes from 24 potters alongside photos of their wares. Mark Hewitt’s South African beef bobotie, Siglinda Scarpa’s Italian fruit tart, and Ben Owen’s wild persimmon pudding are just a few. Helpful tips, such as why some recipes call for clay dishes to be placed in cold rather than preheated ovens, and how to perform an easy test for pottery toxicity, makes following these recipes easy as pie. ~Roseanne G. Pereira

Copy This Book: An Artist’s Guide to Copyright
By Eric Schrijver
Onomatopee, $20

Copyright law intends to encourage the creation of new work while also providing creators the power to control how and when their work may be reproduced and published. For artists, this can be a double-edged sword. Consider a photograph of a model in a designer outfit posing next to a sculpture by a living artist. The photograph itself is a work under copyright, as are the clothing and the sculpture. To say the least, copyright is messy, but Copy This Book brings some clarity. Dutch-born author Eric Schrijver approaches the topic as an artist rather than a lawyer, providing concise, easy-to-follow explanations on topics ranging from licensing to cultural appropriation.

Although the book focuses on EU copyright law, it points to differences in US interpretations. For artists working across international borders, it provides a tutorial for protecting one’s work from infringement and one’s self from legal action. ~Beth Goodrich