Published on Saturday, April 16, 2016. This article appears in the April/May 2016 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Author Staff
Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday

Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday; Photo: Mark LaFavor

Mark LaFavor

Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday
By Heather Jones
STC Craft, $28

Let’s say you’d like to try quilting, but you don’t want to stand on your head to do it. Quilt Local is your guide. In this lively book, Heather Jones presents 20 quilt designs and retraces her path, step by illustrated step, from the moment of inspiration to the finished quilt – with an emphasis on ease. Jones’ minimalist designs don’t require a computerized sewing machine or intricate patterns. Instead, they celebrate color, geometry, and, as the title implies, visual motifs that are close at hand.

Jones’ discussion of these broader artistic principles makes this book useful for creative types who aren’t necessarily itching to quilt. She devotes the first chapter to habits of awareness and documentation that anyone can cultivate to be more inventive. Chapter 2 is one of the most straightforward discussions of color theory you’ll find. Another section describes how to translate garden-variety sights into design. Nobody needs to “wait to see an exhibition of Picassos or climb the Alps to feel inspired,” Jones writes. “There is beauty everywhere.” ~Monica Moses

New Nordic Design
By Dorothea Gundtoft
Thames & Hudson, $40

"For us Scandinavians,” Dorothea Gundtoft is quick to declare in New Nordic Design, “well-produced, carefully crafted design is just part of everyday life, which we can sometimes take for granted.” It’s not hard to see why. Since emerging in the 1950s, the clean aesthetic of Scandinavian products has become one of the most ubiquitous styles the world over. In her new book, the Danish writer and stylist moves beyond conventional midcentury modern, introducing the reader to a fresh crop of innovative designers and makers from the European far north. With more than 50 concise interviews, as well as commentary from internationally known magazine editors and bloggers (not to mention some pretty spectacular photography), New Nordic Design is a must for anyone looking to expand their understanding of the Scandinavian influence on global handmade and industrial design marketplaces. ~Jessica Shaykett

Rooted: Creating a Sense of Place – Contemporary Studio Furniture
Edited by Steffanie Dotson and Douglas Congdon-Martin
Schiffer Publishing, $35

For its 2014 conference, the Furniture Society took “place” as its theme, exploring the ways the notion has informed furniture makers’ practices – within the context of the larger, broad-based interest in all things local. Rooted: Creating a Sense of Place is both a chronicle of that event and an expansion. It includes select essays as delivered at the conference; they vary a bit in how well they translate to the written form, but there are gems, to be sure, such as artist Peter Pierobon’s meditation on his 20 years on the road, including walking – uninitiated – into Wendell Castle’s workshop in the 1980s. But the stars of this book are the displays of work by more than 100 furniture makers – those who exhibited at the conference, as well as other Furniture Society members. The quality is high, and the aesthetics are diverse, making this catalogue an inspiration and a pleasure. ~Julie K. Hanus