Monday, March 31, 2008

Book review - Amy Butler's Midwest Modern

On a soggy soggy Saturday the poor mailman braved the downpour to drop off yet another fun package at my door. This time it was the books I won, sent from Christina at Chronicle Books. I haven't perused the project books yet, In Stitches and the Stitch-it Kit. I was way too distracted by this beautiful book:

First of all, the cover doesn't really do it justice. It's a cute picture, but the overprint of Amy's pattern doesn't show up well and it really makes the whole thing very impressive. Plus it's a really thick book. Wasn't expecting that. From the heft alone it's worth the $35 cover price, but amazon has it super cheap so it's a steal!

Anyway, the inside is ridiculously inspiring. This isn't a project book, mind you. There are a few DIY instructions, but mostly it's a primer for your creative spirit. The book is chock full of pictures taken by Amy's husband David and features their home and studio, their garden, Amy's sketches and designs, and many items made up in her fabrics.

Written in first person, Amy shares her personal philosophies on design, and on life: "I think that in everything we do, in every style of life, there is art to be found. Not just in the studios of talented artists, but in the gardens, homes, relationships, spirits, voices, and fashions of people you see everyday."

I'd have to say that the most inspiring part of this book is how it shows the creation of a home aesthetic that is an ever changing reflection of the people inside and the world outside. If you hadn't picked up on the nature influences in Amy's design before, you'll be able to recognize it when you see her designs pictured alongside the plants, flowers, and objects that inspired them.
Apparently Amy also has an enviable knack for finding and incorporating vintage items into her home and design. I obviously had no idea where to look when I lived in Ohio! Amy includes some of her local sources...if anyone knows of cool places like those in Nashville I'd love to hear about them.
The photography is stunning, and each page is visually dense without being overwhelming . I spent most of the weekend pouring over this book, and I know I'll be back to it soon for more inspiration. I've already rearranged our mantle to make use of some cool vintage glass the boy had hidden away in a dusty corner!

Not wanting to step on any copyright toes, the above images are all from Amy Butler's website. I did want to share the one thing that I'm lusting after the most from the book, which happens to also be on the back cover:

LOVE! I'm on the hunt, armed with many, many ideas from this lovely book!


  1. Do you want the bag or the hand?? Both are pretty cool!

  2. Heehee, I want the hand to hold MY bags...although I certainly wouldn't turn down that cute bag either :)