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Gibbs Smith, Publisher

YoshikofuschiaThis is not a book review, per se, but rather a publisher review. I've got a stack of relatively recent books on the Arts & Crafts movement in general to review, and this is sort of an appetizer for the many upcoming book reviews that we'll be printing throughout the next several weeks.

Gibbs-Smith, located in Layton, Utah of all places, give their corporate motto as "to enrich and inspire humankind." This may be the kind of thing you expect to read on the letterhead of a big art book publisher, but they do strive to meet these lofty goals.

pictured: one of Yoshiko Yamamoto's letterpress-printed cards

Inside Gibbs-Smith's thick and well-illustrated catalog are a number of gems, including a whole bunch of excellent books tailored to those of us interested in the movement & working on our own A&C homes. However, I found a few surprises: for instance, this company is the publisher of a number of projects by the Arts & Crafts Press, the firm founded by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto, previously of Berkeley, California. Yamamoto's letterpress gift and notecards, mostly in floral motifs, are among the most perfect examples of contemporary graphic arts in the Arts & Crafts style. Her Apricot design was recently used to advertise the Live Oak Crafts Fair in Berkeley, and Gibbs-Smith carries these and several other designs, all of which look from the reproductions in the catalog to be excellently designed and well printed.

Gibbs-Smith also carries a whole line of William Morris-designed / -typeset cards, and many other letterpress-printed cards by a range of designers and printers.

You're probably familiar with some of their titles; the Jane Powell and Linda Svendsen Bungalow series [ Bungalow Bathrooms; Bungalow Kitchens; the very recent and truly remarkable Bungalow: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home ], for example, are all complete, well-designed and entertaining, not to mention quite useful for the decorator, renovator, collector and builder. However, they also publish a number of other A&C related books that I had not seen at my local bookseller's: the lavish Frank Lloyd Wright: Stained Glass & Light-Screens (2000) and the more recent Arts and Crafts Cabin by Robbin Obomsawin and Roger Wade are both worth a look.

Coming soon: reviews of a number of recent Gibbs-Smith titles - keep your eyes out for that. And let us know if you've seen something in a bookshop recently that you'd like to write about for H&H!