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Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delightsby Jessica Kerwin Jenkins
Synopses & Reviews
From the Palladian columns of our government buildings to Victorian-style taxidermy and terrariums, highlights from past decorative eras frequently resurface in our modern lives. In Past and Present, Design*Sponge managing editor Amy Azzarito presents 24 pairs of essays and craft projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends. From a Wedgwood-inspired headboard made using molding from the hardware store to an art nouveauand#150; style tree-branch chandelier, the projects celebrate their roots yet fit perfectly into our contemporary living spaces. The projects have been contributed by some of todayand#8217;s best-known arbiters of design, such as Todd Oldham, Jonathan Adler, and Grace Bonney, adding extra allure to an already fascinating topic.
Praise for Past and Present:
and#147;Spend 15 minutes D.I.Y.-ing this cute action station and we promise youand#8217;ll never hear the phrase, Honey have you seen my keys? again.and#8221;and#151;Redbook Magazine
and#147;Azzarito does a fantastic job applying the past to a modern context. For example, in the section on Palladian style, the DIY project is a Palladio tote bag that features a geometric pattern that is quite contemporary.and#8221; and#151;Anthology Magazine
and#147;Complete with entertaining essays, whimsical illustrations and gorgeous DIY projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends, this book is not only a DIY staple and a wealth of decorating history but also looks pretty enough for a coffee table.and#8221; and#151;About.comand#8217;s Budget Decorating
and#147;In design, everything is influenced by something else. It is nice to see the direct correlation between a trend and where it stems from historically.and#8221; --Michele S Blog
and#147;Part design history and part do-it-yourself book, Design*Sponge managing editor Azzarito has combined her love of the decorative arts with projects they inspire. The decorative accessories (e.g., Wedgwood pottery and Native American trade blankets) and design movements (e.g., Rococo and Art Nouveau) are spotlighted with a two-page description of that item or movementand#8217;s importance in the history of decorative arts. DIY projects created by some of Azzaritoand#8217;s favorite contemporary designersand#151;including fashion designer Todd Oldham and Hurley art director Timothy Lilesand#151;are included with the essays that inspired them.
VERDICT:and#160;Beginning DIYers will find the projects easy to accomplish and those with more experience will be inspired to create their own decorative items from the historic background provided for each.and#8221; and#151;Library Journal
and#147;Amyand#8217;s new book . . . is full of dinner party-worthy factsand#151;things you might not know now, but will be glad you learned.and#8221; and#151;HGTV.com
and#147;The branch and crystal chandelier is a stunning take on the Art Nouveau period that took cures from natural elements.and#160;This chandelier is a little playful, a little glam, and a whole lot of wonderful.and#8221; and#151;The Makeshift Society
and#147;Complete with entertaining essays, whimsical illustrations and gorgeous DIY projects that explore the connection between decorative arts history and present-day design trends, this book is not only a DIY staple and a wealth of decorating history but also looks pretty enough for a coffee table.and#8221; and#151;About.comand#8217;s and#147;Budget Decoratingand#8221;
and#147;History buffs and weekend warriors will get a kick out of our latest book obsession, Past and Present.and#160;Penned by Design Sponge Managing Editor Amy Azzarito, this new book connects influential design eras to current decorating trends. Fascinating (but digestible) essays fill in the historical context, while easy-to-follow DIYand#160;projects created by top design talent reinterpret them for the modern home.and#8221; and#160;and#151;PopSugar.com
and#147;Shannon Murrayand#8217;s project is based on the eighteenth-century Federal style. She designe
Voted a Best Book of 2014 by Library Journal
There is untold wealth in library collections, and, like every good librarian, Jessica Pigza loves to share. In BiblioCraft, Pigza hones her literary hunting-and-gathering skills to help creatives of all types, from DIY hobbyists to fine artists, develop projects based on library resources. In Part I, she explains how to take advantage of the riches libraries have to offer—both in person and online. In Part II, she presents 20+ projects inspired by library resources from a stellar designer cast, including STC Craft authors Natalie Chanin, Heather Ross, Liesl Gibson, and Gretchen Hirsch, and Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney. Whatever the quest—historic watermarks transformed into pillows, Japanese family crests turned into coasters, or historic millinery instructions worked into floral fascinators—anyone can utilize library resources to bring their creative visions to life.
Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the Francophile and the Anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art lover. It’s an homage to the esoteric world of glamour that doesn’t require much spending but makes us feel rich.
Taking a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the sixteenth century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, Jessica Kerwin Jenkins’s Encyclopedia of the Exquisite focuses on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace, and the delightful. A compendium of style, it merges whimsy and practicality, traipsing through the fine arts and the worlds of fashion, food, travel, home, garden, and beauty.
Each entry features several engaging anecdotes, illuminating the curious past of each enduring source of beauty. Subjects covered include the explosive history of champagne; the art of lounging on a divan; the emergence of “frillies,” the first lacy, racy lingerie; the ancient uses of sweet-smelling saffron; the wild riot incited by the appearance of London’s first top hat; Julia Child’s tip for cooking the perfect omelet; the polarizing practice of wearing red lipstick during World War II; Louis XIV’s fondness for the luscious Bartlett pear; the Indian origin of badminton; Parliament’s 1650 attempt to suppress Europe’s beauty mark fad; the evolution of the Japanese kimono; the pilgrimage of Central Park’s Egyptian obelisk; and the fanciful thrill of dining alfresco.
Cleverly illustrated, Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is an ode to life’s plenty, from the extravagant to the eccentric. It is a celebration of luxury that doesn’t necessarily require money.
About the Author
JESSICA KERWIN JENKINS was formerly the European editor of W and a senior editor at Women’s Wear Daily. She currently writes for Vogue. She lives in Maine.
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