Labor of Love
Labor of Love
The Uppercase Compendium of Craft and Creativity
Curated by Janine Vangool
Uppercase Publishing Inc., $23
An independent publisher with a quarterly magazine and a robust website, Uppercase is the multitalented Janine Vangool’s tireless effort to support creative communities. The Canadian editor-designer’s latest Compendium project documents and celebrates the achievements, struggles, and perspectives of contemporary makers throughout the world and provides a look at their fascinating studio spaces.
Assembled to offset the internet, where content accumulates so rapidly it easily gets lost, this charming and colorful book capitalizes on the endurance of print to preserve and support what’s happening in craft now.
Profiling 66 notable creative types – many of them focused on illustration and design – the Compendium offers relatable accounts of the good and the bad, the rewards and the sacrifices of pursuing a creative line of work.
Clever design elements, including a dust jacket that folds out to reveal four different designs, offer a chance to play, while quotes and advice sprinkled throughout provide readers with a valuable source of inspiration – much like the Uppercase community Vangool has cultivated. ~Megan Guerber
Dust Free Friends
Edited by 6a Architects with text by Tom Emerson and Stephanie Macdonald
University of Chicago Press, $39
Let’s face it: We live in an Ikea-built world, where the ease of uniformity often trumps the quirky individuality of handmade décor. A celebration of “amateurish tinkering,” Dust Free Friends combats this trend with instructions for building your own simple, affordable furniture out of plywood, perhaps with a little wallpaper to dress it up. British architecture firm 6a Architects devised 16 modifiable designs for stools, shelves, and other small furnishings that require neither fancy tools nor prior training. There’s also general advice about materials and project prep to help make the actual work go smoothly. Still feeling intimidated? As the introduction states, “Precision and patience are more important than skill.” In other words, if you’ve ever assembled a piece of Ikea furniture, you’re more than ready to tackle these designs. ~MG
Faribault Woolen Mill: Loomed in the Land of Lakes
By Lisa M. Bolt Simmons
Arcadia Publishing, $22
Created by one of the last raw-wool-to-blanket mills in the United States, blankets from Minnesota’s Faribault Woolen Mill are coveted objects passed down through generations. This book traces the heritage manufacturer’s own storied history – through five fires, two locations, an 18-month closure, and its reopening under new ownership in 2011. This 150-year narrative is enriched with images from the founding family’s archives, photos of the current mill floor, and interviews with employees, many of whom spent their entire working lives with the company. The story of Minnesota’s oldest manufacturer is the business tale we all like to read: longevity, a highly desirable product, and craftspeople who care. ~Dulcey Heller