I took this photo when promoting our 2021 calendar, choosing titles from my bookshelf that I thought made sense together. Then, as I was packing them away, I thought perhaps some of you would be interested to know more about them. So here’s a bit more, with links for each.
Yes, yes, this is a shameless punt of a book featuring my Bowls print on the cover, but if you want to know who is currently designing the most interesting fabric, and how they do it, get your hands on Modern Fabric, by Abby Gilchrist and Amelia Poole, published at the end of 2020. Click to find out more >>
I really chose this bunch of books for their titles, but their contents seem to explore compatible ideas too.
- My copy of Detaljer Hemma is written in Swedish, although it is available in English too, as Swedish Details. The book focuses on the details (bathroom taps, light switches, cutlery drawers, windowsill arrangements) in ordinary Swedish homes, and brims with sweetness and charm. After a read, you’ll see a much more forgiving light shining onto the ordinary corners of your own home. Read more about Detaljer Hemma >>
- If you’ve felt the pleasure of using a beautiful handmade mug, or if your enjoyment of an object has been enriched when you found out how it was made, the essays of the Japanese folk-art pioneer in The Beauty of Everyday Things will inspire you to keep deepening the relationship with the objects that surround you. It’s an argument for beauty and skill over convenience and profit, and I’m all for it. Read more about The Beauty of Everyday Things >>
- I included Tiny Beautiful Things because the title fits so well with the other two books, but if you enjoy reading toughminded, warmhearted life advice, these responses from Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar column are for you. More about Tiny Beautiful Things >>
- Heather Havrilesky is another sharp-as-a-tack advice columnist, writing the Ask Polly column for New York magazine, where she applies her searing Xray vision to supplicants’ problems with tough love empathy. What if This Were Enough? is collection of her essays that ask questions about the culture of self-improvement, betterment and the eternal quest for ‘more’. More about What if This Were Enough? >>
- I didn’t ever finish Together by Richard Sennett, so it was selected on the strength of its title and cover, but again, it looks at the value of ordinary, everyday things – in this case, how humans relate to one another – and makes the argument for placing more value on a culture of intentionally, skillfully cooperative behaviour. More about Together >>
Back to the books with pictures!
I keep Theo Inglis’ MidCentury Modern Graphic Design close at hand to pick up at idle moments, because it is the kind of book that makes me head straight to my sketchbook, desperate to make designs and illustrations at least half as good as this selection of graphic design and illustration from the mid 20th century. Read more here >>
In the Secret Lives of Colour, Kassia St Clair fills your mind with stories about colour that will enrich your experience, changing the way you see colour for ever. Just read about “Mummy Brown” to realise that ordinary things are often a lot less ordinary when you scratch the surface. Aren’t books amazing like that? Read more here >>