Book Review

“talking about design is a little like sitting on the
end of the bed for two hours and discussing how great it’s going to be” – unknown source

Two books on type recently caught my eye while browsing at the  store Peter Miller in Seattle.


The Serif Fairy | Explorations in the world of letters | Rene Siegfried

A beautiful children’s book but also for anyone who loves type and what letters can magically become when put together by a smart designer. Following a fairy who has lost her wing through an expertly designed typographic world, in which everything is created with letters, from Garamond, to Futura, to Shelley and Zentenar.

Began as studio work during a course on communications design, it is a sweet typographic education for all.



Helvetica | Homage to a typeface | Lars Muller

Lars Muller’s book is a must for typographical obsessives who notice helvetica everywhere they go. Whether in posters, street signs, album covers, and subway maps, it is the most ubiquitous form of lettering that exists. Either revered or equally as disliked, there is always a conversation around it’s usage that is passionately debated. Examples are expertly intertwined with text and photography.

See also the movie ” Helvitca ” starring David Carson and Erik Spiekermann.



Deep South | Sally Mann

I first discovered Sally Mann when my children were young. She had just released ‘Immediate Family’  documenting her three children in a way that seemed uncanny in it’s resemblance to my own life. Her children were her muses, and she was inspired by the dressing up, injuries, tears and play that accompany growing up. All of this was set to the back drop of the South. Literally. Her homeland influenced how the images shot from the page. There was a melancholy to the trees and an over reaching ache to the hills and grounds that her kids stood on. They could not have been shot elsewhere and had the same effect.

Now with Deep South, I am catapulted back to a place and time that I have seen before on my journeys there. The south is different, and anyone who would tell you otherwise, must never have been there. The text describes what is palpable so well;

‘Flannery O’Conner said the South is Christ-Haunted, but I say it’s death-haunted. The Southern landscape, terrible in its beauty, in its indifference.’

Working out of the back of her truck with chemicals, wet – plate negatives and a darkcloth, these images appear as antique photography and when looking at a portrait of a tree, it may as well be of a fallen soldier. The history of the land seeps through on every page.



Gas | Wolfgang Voight

I bought the book with the cd of 5 songs in the back because it came so highly recommended by Amoeba Records in LA. The book was sealed, but anything that looks like interesting photography always holds me spellbound. Unwrapping the plastic, I found 128 pages of the most ethereal photographs, almost all in the same setting of the forest, but with colors changing, along with focus, I was mesmerized. The music was also looping, night time sounding vibe and transfixing. Very interesting to see and hear a composer create an art book to bind the music to.



The Wabi-Sabi House | The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty – Robyn Griggs-Lawrence

While the market is flooded with books on Wabi Sabi and the art of Japanese influence on design, home accessories and the history of it, this book was particularly  informative on every aspect. From color to handmade objects and the way that we actually feel when walking into a room that has some age, patina or the wear and tear that comes from years of love and living in our homes, I would recommend this book as an overall introduction to the art of non perfection. A welcome respite of images that differentiate from the glossy magazines.



Hotel As Home | The Art of Living on the Road – Gary Chang

Don’t we all fantasize about living in a hotel sometimes? Is it just the obsession of a few? The escapism of it, the anonymity of it and yet for one with a design background, finding a hotel that exhibits the certain qualities and standards that create the right atmosphere can be difficult.

Gary Chang, a Hong Kong architect and photographer lives 1/3 of the year on the road and has compiled his short list of 35 hotels from around the world, complete with architectural hand drawings of the rooms, lush photographs, and detailed text about why each one was special to him. A beautiful book for the table or to install in the travel section of your personal library.


Space | Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living – Michael Freeman

One of the most comprehensive books that I have read about very small homes and the remedies of limited space , this coupled with new insight for me into the Japanese aesthetic makes it one of the most satisfying books that I have read in a long time.

“Our endless preoccupation with space – which is to say living space – is an acknowledgment of its role in our well being. To the Western ideal, at least, larger is better. For a number of reasons, both geographical and social, Japan provides some of the most interesting solutions to living in spaces that are more than usually restricted.”



The Architecture of Happiness – Alain de Botton

Dense with historical architectural reference, this book was nonetheless, warm and inviting.

” One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings and streets that surround us. And yet, the concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.



Cory Burnett | | ‘White Water Drift” | Limited edition 07

May Juliette Barruel | | Close up of horse





Chris Walla ‘Sing Again’ from the just released Field Manual CD

Portland’s Music Scene

One response to “Art+Books

  1. allison cassie

    Your website looks great!! I can’t believe how different your place looks with the floors redone. Can’t wait to see it in real life. It was so nice to see you today. Glad things are well. Take care,
    Allison and Beyla

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