SELECTED BOOK REVIEWS AND CORRESPONDENCE REMARKS
E. Norman Westerberg, Honorary Consul of Finland,
Your latest publication "Essential Passions" has adorned our living room table for several months. Friends and visitors to my office have admired the wonderful pictures of Kyllikki Salmenhaara, Richard Fairbanks and yourself, and photos from your travels in Finland and here. It must be a tremendous asset for art lovers and art historians. I thank you for putting your heart into this effort. I wish you well and worldwide readership.
Marianne Aav, Curator
National Applied Arts Museum,
Thank you for "Essential Passions". It looks gorgeous. You must be very happy after such an effort. Congratulations.
Kenneth R. Trapp, Curator-in Charge,
Smithsonian Renwick Gallery
National Museum of American Art
"Essential Passions" and "Richard Fairbanks, American Potter" are handsome publications and of great interest to all who know American ceramics. ...a few of your late husband’s ceramics are in the collection of the Smithsonian Art Museum. It is my hope that we can add to this small number–important pieces that chronicle your late husband’s evolution as a ceramic designer and craftsman. I have asked that the Renwick Gallery Museum shop, as well as other shops in the Smithsonian Museum complex carry the books.
When I began to work with clay in the early 1960’s your late husband’s pottery was an inspiration. His ceramics always embodied strength, honesty, sincerity and excellent design. My basic design professor Mildred Fischer always used the ceramics of Richard Fairbanks as the model to aspire to and follow.
David Revere McFadden, Chief Curator
American Craft Museum, New York
...two impressive volumes on your husband’s work ["Richard Fairbanks, American Potter" and "Essential Passions". I was delighted to see both, and enjoyed the insightful intimacy of the Fairbanks/Salmenhaara publication. Congratulations on creating such a moving testament to the work of the artists and to a special friendship.
David A. Cane, Managing Editor
Modernism Magazine, New Jersey
I would like to thank you for sending along the two beautiful books on your husband. I found the publications to be of great interest and was impressed by the breadth and the unique nature of your husband’s work over the years.
Marilyn Symmes, Curator of Drawings and Prints
Deborah Shinn, Assistant Curator
Department of Applied Arts and Industrial Design
National Design Museum
We are impressed by Richard Fairbank’s important career in ceramics and we much admired the handsome books you sent. We wish you continued success in bringing Richard Fairbank’s great work to the attention of an ever-increasing audience.
Paola Antonelli, Curator of Architecture and Design Museum of Modern Art
Thank you for forwarding me a copy of "Essential Passions." I will send it on to our bookstore for their consideration, but would also like to suggest that you contact the following people, who I think would love the book and the work, and may be able to help make it public. I wish you all the best with your book. The stoneware heart plate [cover photograph] is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Jennifer Opie, Deputy Curator
Ceramics and Glass Museum
Victoria and Albert
I must congratulate you on the production of two extraordinarily attractive publications. They are a real tribute to your husband and his work and to his clearly remarkable and close friendship with Kyllikki Salmenhaara. It is important that his work is recorded in such splendid illustrations. We shall be delighted to keep [your books] in the library of this department where they may be seen by students and colleagues. I will also look for any opportunity to bring your husband’s work to the attention of researchers–and indeed anyone interested in ceramics.
April 26, 2001 ..."Silent Sunflowers" this latest is another very beautiful and moving tribute to your husband’s work and to his telling engagement with other cultures. He was clearly a very sympathetic, receptive man. We shall be glad to have this latest book in our library–and I shall spend many happy and rewarding hours reading it and using it.
Rita Vermala-Koski, Trustee
National Finlandia Foundation and
Nordic Heritage Museum
I have read "Essential Passions" and find it to be a compelling and, at times touching chronicle of co-mingling of talent, determination and courage.
Once again I am amazed with you, your courage and talent. THANK YOU for the copy of "Essential Passions." It is a gorgeous piece of work. My mother wanted me to tell you the same thing, she was very impressed too. [Kyllikki Salmenhaara’s niece]
Garth Clark Gallery
"Essential Passions" has been beautifully produced and I very much enjoyed being able to open the envelopes and take out the facsimile correspondence. It brought the reader into an act of participation with the correspondents.
Margaret Carney, Ph.D.
The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art
Alfred University Alfred, New York
What an honor to have been part of your special book project. "Essential Passions" is beautiful and so creative. February, 2001 ...congratulations on the new publication "Silent Sunflowers"...and the copy of the article about Richard’s work in Ceramics Art and Perception. I wish I had your energy and ability to get things done. You are amazing and doing a wonderful job of securing Richard’s place in ceramic history.
Gretchen Adkins, critic
Dixie Parker-Fairbanks, an energetic and loving widow who researched, compiled and arranged the material and provided the narrative fill-in, is the driving force behind this publication "Essential Passions"...the editorial connections she provides are spirited and add a refreshing punch to the book....the handwritten letters, a most intriguing aspect of the book...by unfolding and reading the reader is more involved with their lives...then he might be reading a printed transcript.
Jacqueline Vodoz et Bruno Danese
Association De La Loi De 1901
"Essential Passions" is truly an outstanding publication in the lavishness of its documentation and in the story it tells. Also very fine and didactic is the book about the work of "Richard Fairbanks, American Potter." We are in the process of creating a consultation center for scholars and students, which concerns the work done by us in the sphere of Italian design. If we can keep the books, we could put them into our reference library.
Dorothy Twining Globus, Director
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Thank you for sharing these wonderful books with me. Being an avid maker of journals and scrapbooks I was especially moved by "Essential Passions." My congratulations on the book, your extraordinary friendship and the work.
Inger Edwards, President
Finlandia Foundation Trust
Hampton Roads, Vermont
I have read "Essential Passions" and I am very touched by the experience. The book is very rich, both in terms of the contents and continuity of the letters, and in terms of your approach and final interpretation of the close relationship between these two fine artists though all those years.
Janet Mansfield, Publisher/Editor
Ceramics: Art and Perception
Thank you for sending the beautiful books on your husband’s work. It was a life story in ceramics and art. I am wondering what is the best that I can do...I would like to do something about the work of Richard Fairbanks.
New World Finn
Parker-Fairbanks has developed a memorable book "Essential Passions" of the journals, newspaper articles and above all the long, written “conversations” of the artists, with their colorful descriptions of their private and professional daily activities. Exchanges which also describe vividly their many study trips through Scandinavia, Europe and the Far East. Fairbanks and Salmenhaara understood the importance of enriching even the most mundane parts of life, with very real, very beautiful objects, among these–the handwritten letter.
Ralph Munro, Secretary of State
I was so pleased to learn that a third book, "Silent Sunflowers: A Balkan Memoir" is being published to once again demonstrate the outstanding work of Richard Fairbanks. Richard is one of those newly discovered gems of Washington state. He was a native of the Pacific Northwest and had the opportunity to spend most of his life here. Now, he receives growing national and international attention through newly created publications and exhibits. It is important to remember that, although Richard was enthusiastic about his farflung European research trips, he found nothing elsewhere in the world to equal his love for our own state of Washington. Here, he found happiness, as well as inspiration and opportunity to create most of his works. I am so pleased that the world is discovering Richard Fairbanks.
Denise Clark, Rights Manager
University of Washington Press
The University of Washington Press is pleased to submit "Silent Sunflowers: A Balkan Memoir" for Washington State Book Award 2000.
Reference & Research Book News
"Silent Sunflowers" This lovely book is a personal account of an artist couple’s 1986 sabbatical trip to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary in search of folk art and artists. Dixie Parker-Fairbanks, a painter, and Richard Fairbanks, a potter, recorded the trip’s ups and downs in journal entries, art, and photographs, many of which are reproduced here. They detail objects and ornamentation in architecture, household items, clothing, and rituals, as well as Soviet-era life in the villages and cities the couple visited.