Today, contemporary artists can find everything they need at an art supply store. Whether they are looking for a new shade of paint or a set of colored pencils, they are spoiled for choice. However, before you could buy paint, creatives had to make their materials themselves. Artist and ochre specialist Heidi Gustafson's Book of Earth provides a scientific guide to creating color with naturally occurring pigments.
Featuring an array of vibrant photographs and examples from Gustafson's personal collection of 600 rare pigments, there is a lot to unpack in this book. It walks readers through a thorough exploration of color “while challenging our notions of the inanimate world.” In his review, author Jason Logan says of the book, “This is real information. Crucial information. Life in death and death in life kind of information for our moment. Prayers and Pills. And all tucked into a beautiful book of craft, edged by handmade carpentry holders of pigment and secrets.”
Each chapter explores a type of ochre and earth pigment, including biogenic iron, hematite and specularite, goethite and limonite, celadonite, and many others. “Structurally, Book of Earth follows humankind’s oldest art material, a full spectrum of ochre and earth pigments made with soil, stone, and land, from rock to paint to creative potency,” Gustafson says in the preface. The dreamy layout of this book will surely have readers walking away with a deeper appreciation for color.
Scroll down to see more stunning images from this book, and then you can pick up a copy on Bookshop.