Western Washington University Art History alumna Emily Freidenrich’s new book “Almost Lost Arts: Traditional Crafts and the Artisans Keeping Them Alive” profiles artists and artisans working in all-but-forgotten crafts from globe-making to kintsugi - the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with lacquer.
In all, “Almost Lost Arts” examines the labor 20 artisans who have devoted their lives to preserving traditional techniques. In‐depth profiles of the artisans illuminate the philosophies and histories behind their work, while gorgeous photographs transport readers to their studios—in Oaxaca, Kyoto, Milan, Tennessee, and other locations around the globe.
Emily has been giving talks all over the US regarding the book and recently appeared on King 5 to discuss her latest work. She will visit WWU later this year as a guest of the Art & Art History Department to speak about her book.
Outstanding Graduate of the Art & Art History Department
While studying Art History at WWU, Emily earned recognition as the 2012 Outstanding Graduate in her department. She served as advisor to the jury of WWU’s University Advisory Board for Public Art Collections. She was recognized as a student for her “maturity and intellectual depth as a scholar, as well as her capabilities as a collaborator.”
Thinking back to her first week as a freshman at WWU, Emily recalls seeing Untitled (Steam Work for Bellingham) by Robert Morris in the campus outdoor sculpture collection. “Especially when I see art or an art practice that I haven't encountered before, I’ll think about how even steam can be sculpture. That was a pretty mind-blowing concept to me, (even as someone who had always valued fluidity in artistic media) that unconventional materials like the byproducts of a campus utility can be the work. And I carry that with me.”
Approaching her work now, she’ll think about how she would write about a work or practice for Art History Professor Barbara Miller, or how she would talk about a work in its greater sociocultural context with Professor Julia Sapin. “It's important to think, write, and talk about, as well as see and experience art because each of those angles is a different piece of the story. I think my time at WWU gave me that starting point.”
Emily currently resides in Seattle where she works as an art researcher and in book publishing. She’s also published a monograph, “The Art of Beatrix Potter,” which explores Potter's artistic process and reveals the places that inspired her timeless work.