Live and Learn

Live and Learn

The Handmade Life: A Companion to Modern Crafting

The Handmade Life: A Companion to Modern Crafting

Mark LaFavor
The Handmade Life: A Companion to Modern Crafting

The Handmade Life: A Companion to Modern Crafting

Mark LaFavor

The Handmade Life: A Companion to Modern Crafting
By Ramona Barry and Rebecca Jobson
Thames & Hudson, $40

So many how-to books lack contemporary and historical context; so many fine art and craft books, in turn, don’t invite in the amateur. The Handmade Life demolishes this false binary with the kind of satisfying thump a 4½-pound book makes when dropped triumphantly on the table. Co-authors Ramona Barry and Rebecca Jobson are writers and curators, designers and artists, and, perhaps above all, makers who recognize that “our best selves are often found while sitting at the bench focused absolutely on the task at hand – magically melding mind and body in the process.”

An extension of their longtime collaboration, this volume explores more than 30 material-based topics, from working with leather or clay to origami and beadwork. For each focus area, the women offer a historical brief – reinforcing the idea that making is our birthright – and showcase contemporary artists working this particular way. Complementing the inspiration is hands-on help: info about tools, illustrations of techniques, “design notes” (from material tips to conceptual prompts), and a list of project ideas. Each section concludes with a fully outlined project to whet the creative appetite. Taken in total, it’s a banquet that belongs on everyone’s shelf. ~Julie K. Hanus
 


 Craft in America: “Teachers”


Craft in America: “Teachers”

Craft in America: “Teachers”

In one segment of “Teachers,” the latest episode of the Craft in America TV series, Therman Statom guides diverse groups of elementary and high school youth through artistic exercises. “I think teaching is the highest form of advocacy,” he says, “in terms of influencing the world or having the chance to be a part of something that you can change.” That ethos sets the tone for this latest installment in the award-winning documentary series, which focuses on stories of teachers engaging and inspiring students – and vice versa. It features Navajo weavers (and sisters) Barbara Teller Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete, glassblower Mark Mitsuda, sculptor Statom, and Alfred University ceramics professor Linda Sikora (with charming cameos by colleagues Wayne Higby and John and Andrea Gill). “Teachers” spotlights craft education at its best. ~Jessica Shaykett

 


 

Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-Making

Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-Making

Mark LaFavor

Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-Making
By Paul J. Stankard
Schiffer Publishing, $30

How does a creative person become a virtuoso of craft? Mastering a set of artistic skills requires years – and uncommon courage, perseverance, and grit. In Studio Craft as Career, Paul J. Stankard traces his 45-year path from production glassblower to acclaimed artist and ACC Fellow. He breaks down the steps he’s taken to earn his place among flameworking masters – from early yearnings through mid-career doubts to where he is today: passionate about helping other artists find their paths. He recounts how he managed the anxiety of quitting his day job, how he found exemplars in history, how he stayed physically and emotionally healthy, and how he found inspiration in poetry and other art forms. The book closes with brief profiles of almost 50 accomplished artists, along with images of their work and their words of advice.

At 73, having earned countless accolades, Stankard says he is still nervous when he sits down to work. The message: No artist’s path is easy, whether you’re starting out or at the top of your game. But with this book, clearly a labor of love, Stankard has made it easier. ~Monica Moses