Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cottage Industry

The MHRC is pleased to announce its publication of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gardener’s Cottage at the Martin House Complex, a new book on the Martin family gardener’s cottage (1909), part of the Martin House Complex.  Written and produced by Karen J. S. Tashjian, AIA, the book is the first-ever publication exclusively about the smallest and simplest structure in the array of Wright buildings at the historic site.
Tashjian’s book is comprised of a visual essay of images accompanied by short quotations, primarily by Wright himself.  Tashjian’s photographs document the house through the eye of a painter and compel the viewer to take a closer look at the building’s details.  The quotations invite the reader to contemplate the ideas behind the physical reality of the structure.   The book also includes an essay on simplicity, and a history and dialogue on the issue of authenticity as it relates to the expanded and renovated cottage.

Tashjian’s inspiration for the book came from visiting the site as a tourist "in her own backyard.”  As she describes this experience:  “I was enchanted by the richness of this small structure.  It demonstrates many ideas which I believe are essential to good design, as well as qualities of a small structure that make it graceful rather than confining.  As interior photographs are not permitted, I went to purchase a book on the cottage so that I might linger in some of these spaces.  There was no such book available, so at that moment this book was conceived: a small volume about a small Frank Lloyd Wright structure.”

Frank Lloyd Wright held many philosophical beliefs about materials, light, circulation, and spatial experience that inspired his work.   All of these ideas are evident, to varying degrees, in the gardener’s cottage.  Though the spaces are small, they are rich haptically, inviting interaction and the imprint of experience, rather than detached observation. 

The author will be signing books from 10 am to 2 pm during our Holiday Sale at the Wisteria Shop on December 4.

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