Bringing Vision to Life

Bringing Vision to Life

Making Good spread

Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman

Mark LaFavor
Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman

Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman

Mark LaFavor

Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman 
By Jacklyn Scott, Kristin Müller, and Tommy Simpson 
Schiffer Publishing, $30 

Here’s a simple book premise: Three makers (one is also a craft school director) tell the stories of 41 other artists and show images of their work. In this case, simple more than satisfies. 

Making Good is an absorbing survey. Every craft medium is represented, along with a couple of photographers and a graphic designer. Masters such as Garry Knox Bennett, Joyce J. Scott, and Judith Schaechter share space with makers still finding their footing. We learn how each discovered their creative passion, how they were influenced by family, what they’ve sacrificed, and how they’ve persevered through adversity. Some make their living entirely from their craft; others teach workshops or run side businesses to pay the bills. 

Perhaps the real gems of the book are the artists’ own words. There’s ceramist Kevin Crowe’s practical realization: “There will be lean times and better times; but it will be OK, so keep showing up.” And photographer Laurie Klein’s spiritual sense of her work: “I get out of the way, and something comes through me.” And, finally, woodworker Ron Isaacs’ triumphant sense of accomplishment: “I am proud that I’ve had an honest-to-God art career.” All in all, Making Good is the story of dedicated, creative, intuitive people on a path few dare to travel. ~Monica Moses 
 


 

By the People: Designing a Better America 
By Cynthia E. Smith, et al. 
Cooper Hewitt, $30 

Can design be a tool for promoting social justice and combatting systemic prejudice? Can it help create more sustainable and inclusive communities? By the People, an exhibition developed over two years by Cynthia E. Smith, Cooper Hewitt’s curator of socially responsible design, investigated these questions with a focus on underserved US communities – both rural and urban – facing a multitude of challenges. 

With 60 case studies – from initiatives that gather people to rebuild public spaces to services that reform access to health care – the catalogue serves as a manual for community-focused design. Academics lend their insight in essays and interviews, but the biggest takeaway is showcased in the projects themselves: The most important resources for designers are the knowledge and talents of the community members they work with. ~Megan Guerber 
 


 

Tennessee Delta Quiltmaking 
By Teri Klassen 
University of Tennessee Press, $30 

This thoughtfully researched work by folklorist and quilt scholar Teri Klassen presents the shared history, culture, and traditions of black and white quiltmakers from rural communities just north of Memphis and east of the Mississippi. Through interviews with Delta residents and descendants, Klassen traces the influence that small-farm culture had on vernacular quilt patterns and techniques across racial and generational lines, and explores how 20th-century industrialization changed the practical, but not the societal, necessity of quiltmaking for the people who lived there. The book is meticulously designed, with clearly defined segments of text, illustrative pattern sketches, 30 colorful plates, charming portraits, and an index of both the quilts and the women who made them. Tennessee Delta Quiltmaking will enlighten anyone interested in American folk history, design theory, and material culture – and those intrigued by everyday people and the objects they make. ~Jessica Shaykett