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Elmo Baca & M. J. Van Deventer - Native American Style

This beautiful book is an excellent showcase of some of the finest contemporary Native American arts and crafts. There's also some marvelous examples of older work.

The magnificent photograph on the dust cover of the book is a superb example of how to attract chi to the front of a building. Beside the front door are five HUGE strands of fresh red peppers (over seven feet tall) hung out to dry. Chi is happenin' here! The peppers look vibrant, natural, and spontaneous. There's a display of pottery below the peppers that looks like - well, a display. That was a disappointment throughout the book, that so very many of the pictures look arranged "just so" - like a museum exhibit.

The book teaches a lot about Native American art, but the main design idea that comes across is buy and display Native American (and Native American inspired) art and craft. Some of the photos do give lovely examples of art and craft in contemporary interiors, but none has the vitality of the dust cover photograph.

There are about a dozen pictures of room interiors. The rest are pictures of singular pieces (paintings, pottery, jewelry, blankets, furniture, etc.) or groupings of pieces.

Gibbs Smith, Publisher, (800) 748-5439, www.gibbs-smith.com, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1999, 0-87905-789-0, 143 pages, color photographs, hardback, $39.95

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