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AROUND HOME : Notes on Perfect Pasta, Closet Space and French Empire Furniture : Catskill Crafts

BY JANE SMILEY

(Crown Publishers; 1988)

THIS CHARMING book describes the creative process as it is found in a remote rural area of New York state. Teacher and novelist Jane Smiley interviews some of the many craftsmen and craftswomen living and working in the small towns and villages of the Catskill Mountains. Some are natives; others have chosen to leave the urban pressures of Manhattan and elsewhere behind. Turning their backs on 20th-Century standardization, they have been true to themselves and to the demands of the particular craft they have chosen--whether it is ceramics, handmade textiles, quilts, stained glass, dollhouse miniatures, carved wood decoys or furniture making. Because the reader inevitably becomes involved with each of the dozen or so artisans, it is a pity that there are relatively few illustrations in the book, with only glimpses of the various products. This is a serious defect in an otherwise splendid book--an intriguing group portrait and a celebration of old-fashioned craftsmanship; $19.95.


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