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Book of Earth: A Guide to Ochre, Pigment, and Raw Color

Book of Earth: A Guide to Ochre, Pigment, and Raw Color

Heidi Gustafson


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Part anthropological study, part art book, and part how-to, Book of Earth is an immersive introduction into the world of ochre, a naturally occurring mineral used to make pigment. Each chapter delves into Heidi Gustafson’s rare pigment archive and provides a thorough exploration of natural color, while challenging our notions of the inanimate world. Featuring practical advice and techniques for creating your own pigments and applying these skills in everyday life, Gustafson also includes contributor essays offering historical and cultural perspectives on color cultivation and the meaning of pigments to various cultures.

Gustafson was called the “ochre whisperer” by American Craft and noted as the “woman archiving the world’s ochre” in the New York Times. Her personal collection of more than 600 pigments from around the planet is a unique treasure, and her passion and field experience will captivate you from the first page to the last.

About the Author

Heidi is an artist, pigment worker and an ochre/iron oxide specialist based in rainy, volcanic Cascade foothills of northern Washington, with an archive of over 400 ochre pigments from sacred and profane sites world-wide. She makes limited edition and custom pigments for artists and researchers, as well as teaches workshops and consults on-site to forage and find pigment-rich lands. Her intuitive and highly collaborative ochre and iron research projects include work with award-winning scientists, paleontologists, anthropologists, linguists, citizen foragers, artists and friends around the planet.

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