Gathered and Gleaned
Gathered and Gleaned
The Box Project: Works from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection
Edited by Lyssa C. Stapleton Cotsen
Occasional Press, $95
Imagine receiving a small box – a rectangle or a square, only 3 inches deep – and being asked to fill it with a work of art using fiber, in the broadest sense of the medium. What would you make?
That was the challenge that collector Lloyd Cotsen and his curator, the late Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, presented to 36 artists in 2004. The result is The Box Project, a collection nearly a decade in the making and recently chronicled in a traveling exhibition and this 336-page catalogue.
The Box Project is a tale of one collector’s unique commissioning approach, but it’s also a survey of fiber’s history and a study of process and materiality. Along with essays by Lyssa C. Stapleton, Bruce W. Pepich, Jenelle Porter, and Matilda McQuaid, it features the work of artists such as Richard Tuttle, Helena Hernmarck, Gyöngy Laky, and James Bassler. Artist interviews, as well as photographs of their studios and works in progress, explore how each maker approached the challenge and selected their materials, from spools of thread, handmade paper, and copper wire to manzanita, reflective tape, and sponges.
The result is a vital record of how an intimate collection came to be, and a testament to the versatility of fiber itself. ~Jessica Shaykett
Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers
By Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale
Ten Speed Press, $40
Foraged Flora centers on artist and floral designer Louesa Roebuck’s timeless wisdom: “There is endless beauty and bounty all around us . . . if we can only see it.” In this romantic tome – perched somewhere between a travel novel, a diary, and a conversation between dear friends – she and Sarah Lonsdale, a design editor and writer, travel throughout California, documenting a year of gleaning to produce lavish displays out of whatever is in season. Although the book focuses on botanicals, with bits of pragmatic advice about how to cut and arrange plants, its larger lessons are about visually tuning in to your surroundings and using the resources at hand – insights that translate into any art form or well-crafted home. Exquisite photography paired with meditations on abundance and scarcity, awareness of the present moment, and the potential of what’s around you make Foraged Flora a nurturing read. ~Megan Guerber
How to Make It: 25 Makers Share the Secrets to Building a Creative Business
By Erin Austen Abbott
Chronicle Books, $25
How does the wispy dream of an artistic career become a thriving business? Erin Austen Abbott has been intrigued by this question for years. In 2013, the writer, photographer, and Mississippi boutique owner took to the road to find answers. Abbott’s resulting Studio Stories Instagram series was the catalyst for this book, a useful guide for aspiring artists.
How to Make It features interviews with 25 makers on the essentials of entrepreneurship: How they make business decisions, source materials, stay organized, build their brands. Among those interviewed are jewelry makers, ceramists, clothing designers, and printmakers, from Georgia to British Columbia. As you read, you discover that these are real people making a real go of the creative life. Quirky info accompanying each Q&A – daily routines, songs the artists listen to while working, their favorite DIY projects – bring this point home. ~Monica Moses