Thursday, February 23, 2012

Richard Olsen's Handmade Houses lecture and book signing

Craft in America is pleased to present a lecture by Richard Olsen and book signing for Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design

March 24, 2012
5-7pm, lecture at 6pm

Craft in America Study Center: 8415 W. Third Street, LA, CA 90048 (323.951.0610)

ABOUT Richard Olsen: Working as an editor, Richard spent a decade conceiving and shaping books on residential design for others. His credits include Treehouses of the World, Living Large in Small Spaces, The Abrams Guide to American House Styles, The Abrams Guide to Period Styles for Interiors, Craftsman Style, Bungalow Nation, American Country Churches, and Cottages by the Sea: The Handmade Homes of Carmel, America’s First Artist Community. He is the author of Log Houses of the World and a co-author of Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea. Most recently, Olsen was the senior editor in charge of architecture for Architectural Digest. He lives in California.

Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design
By Richard Olsen

What if you could not only build your “dream house,” but you could both find desirable cheap land on which to build—land that you secured without the involvement of bankers—and design and construct it entirely on your own creative terms? During the international back-to-the-earth movement the 1960s and 70s, a time when the trying political, social, economic, and environmental circumstances had prompted a global face-off with the status quo, all of this was possible. Not easy, but at least possible. In the United States, it happened to coincide with the rapid decline of the buildings of our agricultural past—old barns, mills, and country churches stood abandoned. Some of that storied, richly patinated wood and hardware would prove to be still useful, however, as many back-to-the-earth homebuilders would go on to demonstrate. This was the soil from which the modern environmental movement grew, the beginnings of what we now call “green," the origins of a thoroughly idiosyncratic, made-from-reclaimed-materials kind of home that people had taken to calling a “handmade house.” Although times have changed, the handmade-house approach to homebuilding, that well-worn and infinitely warm aesthetic, never really went away. But it did evolve.

From deep in the redwood forests of Big Sur, California, to the craggy, pink-sand beaches of Sardinia, Italy, this book visits a wide selection of the greatest handmade houses built in the last century—houses built during and before and since the back-to-the-land movement, houses in which cost-cutting DIY improvisation, eco-consciousness, art, and craft harmoniously converge. It’s a book about real people building real houses—some for as little as $1,000 but always with a wealth of creative inspiration and determination.

CRAFT IN AMERICA is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and advancing original handcrafted work, through educational programs in all media, accessible to all. The CRAFT IN AMERICA project includes a national primetime PBS documentary series, a 300-page companion book, traveling museum exhibitions, and an extensive website with teachers' guides and video clips of artists at work. The Study Center is an extensive craft-focused library, an archive of video footage, and a gallery space with rotating exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists who work in craft media.

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