Fresh Perspectives

Fresh Perspectives

Made by Hand

Made by Hand juxtaposes warm photos of wooden spoons with violins, custom-made sneakers, and neon signs.

Mark LaFavor

Made by Hand: Contemporary Makers, Traditional Practices
Edited by Leanne Hayman and Nick Warner
Black Dog Publishing, $25

Made by Hand takes as its starting point the contemporary surge of interest in handmade products as environmentally sensitive, longer-lasting, and unique alternatives to mass-produced goods. Do not mistake any of the 37 individuals and groups profiled for trend-hoppers, however; well-composed stories and photographs reveal each maker to be deeply committed to his or her discipline, and to its materials, tools, and techniques. Refreshingly, the makers span a broad range of disciplines: Included are those working in areas visibly populated of late (bespoke shoemakers, bag makers, bicycle builders), as well as more surprising ones (such as cosmeticists, stationers, and bladesmiths). While the bulk call the United Kingdom and United States home (Black Dog is a London-based publisher), others hail from 12 other countries, from Portugal to Australia, quietly underscoring the global appeal not only of handmade work, but also of working with one’s hands. ~Julie K. Hanus


Edmund de Waal
By Edmund de Waal and Emma Crichton-Miller
Phaidon, $100

This exceptional book about the British “potter who writes” reflects Edmund de Waal’s celebrity following the publication of his memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes. In addition to a richly observed biographical essay by Emma Crichton-Miller, it includes contributions from three famous writers (A.S. Byatt, Peter Carey and Colm Tóibín) who show thoughtful or purely imaginative responses to de Waal’s installations. Japanese influence and architectural aspects of his work are also addressed. Rounding out the volume are a photo essay of a studio session, de Waal’s own essay, and a poetic list of work titles that spurs reverie. From the embossed cylinders on the cover to the graciously subdued and spacious layout, the book itself is an object of beauty. ~Janet Koplos


AJF Best of Interviews
Art Jewelry Forum, $20

Art Jewelry Forum produces a dynamic website, and this slim volume corrals some of the site’s most interesting content: interviews with jewelry makers and others central to the field. Taking part in the 20 lively conversations are makers such as Lola Brooks, Tanel Veenre, and Jamie Bennett; dealers such as Sienna Patti; curators such as Bruce Pepich and Ursula Ilse-Neuman; and jewelry aficionados such as Madeleine Albright. A 4,000-word interview with German master Dorothea Prühl is exclusive to the book. Best of Interviews is not a catalogue; two or three usually modest images accompany each conversation. The focus is on intelligent questions and the voices of the interviewees – captured in fresh, informal exchanges that will captivate lovers of art jewelry. ~Monica Moses