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Craf ts’ pick of the best titles out this year

Women in Design From Aino Aalto to Eva Zeisel One hundred female designers, artists and makers working across the last century form the focus of this celebratory A-Z. Figures who enjoy global fame are placed alongside forgotten pioneers that the authors believe are deserving of greater recognition. By Charlotte Fiell and Clementine Fiell. Published by Laurence King, £35 pb

Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art A survey of 100 contemporary fine artists working with textiles, this addition to Phaidon’s Vitamin series aims to ‘unravel’ categories, ‘unpick’ divisions, and ‘weave together new patterns of thinking about art’. Critics and curators each nominated one artist, whom they were then tasked to encapsulate in only 500 words. Edited by Phaidon. Published by Phaidon, £49.95 hb

A Celebration of British Craftsmanship Not many books bear the royal seal of approval, but this title published by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust is an exception. Photographic portraits and potted biographies of 100 craftspeople supported by QEST over the last 30-odd years give a characterful flavour of the rich diversity of craft in the UK. By Karen Bennett. Published by QEST, £60 hb

Crafting Dissent Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats The famous hand-knitted ‘pussyhats’ that greeted Donald Trump after his election were just one example in a long history of craft being used for political subversion. A diverse range of contributors offer a global perspective on the topic. Edited by Hinda Mandell. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, £37.95 hb

Bauhaus Among a swathe of books published to mark the radical German design school’s centenary year, this title lays claim to being the definitive work. First published in 1990, the updated edition has more than 550 illustrations and offers a deep dive into the extraordinarily influential – but short-lived – creative community. By Magdalena Droste. Published by Taschen, £15 pb

96 November/December 2019 Crafts

Islamic Art. Architecture, Painting, Calligraphy, Ceramics, Glass, Carpets The subheading of this weighty volume gives a sense of the sheer breadth it covers in its survey of three continents across 14 centuries. Thematic essays contextualising metalwork and miniatures, carpets and ceramics are accompanied by over 400 photographs. By Luca Mozzati. Published by Prestel, £29.99 hb

Stone This beautifully produced photo-book on stonemasonry would grace any coffee table (particularly if it so happened to be marble or granite). Ranging far and wide across time and space – from Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, to cuttingedge contemporary architecture – Stone acts as a visual love letter to its titular material. Edited by William Hall. Published by Phaidon, £29.95 hb

Crafted. A compendium of crafts: new, old, and forgotten ‘Making is thinking’, Richard Sennett once declared. With this quote as the book’s epigraph, you would be forgiven for expecting an intellectual thesis. Instead, Crafted is a joyful romp across craft in all its glorious variety, illustrated with bold graphics in a colourful retro style. By Sally Coulthard. Published by Quadrille, £20 hb

The Beauty of Everyday Things These new translations of essays by the influential Japanese poet, art historian and philosopher Soetsu Yanagi are a defence of the humble handmade object. Written between 1920-60, they speak of a time when the Mingei movement was busy changing public perceptions of folk craft, from the mundane to the magical. By Soetsu Yanagi. Published by Penguin Classics, £7.99 pb

The Story of Tools Twenty-five implements, each chosen by a craftsperson, are profiled in a series of what are, in effect, odes penned by the maker to their favourite tool. Grouped into three sections – Wood and Stone; Earth, Metal and Glass; Material, Cloth and Decoration – it celebrates the oftenoverlooked beauty of the humble tool. Edited by Hole & Corner. Published by Pavilion, £20 hb

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