Lisa Jenks

Fashion Designer; Product/Industrial Designer; Jewelry Designer / United States / Lisa Jenks

Lisa Jenks’s Book List

One of my favorite things (after reading) is to collect design and art books. I will use any sort of excuse to add one if there is the slightest chance that it may be helpful for a particular project. Failing that, if a book is beautifully printed and I am feeling slightly flush, into the collection it goes. I have slowed down as of late, though, since my bookcases are a bit crowded.

I find I am now drawn to books that have scientific, metaphysical, or spiritual leanings. Even though I have some novels on my list, I find that these days they are not catching my eye, but I’m not sure why.

21 books
Zilpha Keatley Snyder

This was my favorite book growing up. Having loved it so much, I saved it for my daughter thinking she’d feel the same. Ha!

Stuart Durant

Nice overview that begins with William Morris and extends through to the 1980s.

Françoise de Bonneville

Puiforcat is one of my favorite designers, and this is a beautiful collection of his work.

I am a huge fan of Maira. I adore her artwork, but even more her perspective on the world.

Peter Noever Editor

After I saw a Josef Hoffmann show at the IBM Gallery in New York eons ago, I was so blown away that I bought this book.

Sylvie Raulet

Gorgeous.

Frances Sherwood

I read this novel what seems to me ages ago, yet it still sticks in my head. It is a fairly historically accurate, novelized biography of Mary Wollstonecraft. She was a champion of the rights of women in the 18th century—quite an early feminist. The book left a deep impression on me because it is such a juicy story with many details of what it was like to live as a woman during that time. It is a compelling portrait of a remarkable woman—what she had to do to survive and what she accomplished despite all that. She is known for having written A Vindication of the Rights of Women in addition to giving birth to author Mary Shelley.

Jean-Dominique Bauby

In this slim book Bauby documents what went on in his mind after his devastating stroke. His courage, poetic language, and fate are unforgettable. Heartbreaking and inspiring.

Marianne Wiggins

A 19th-century Lord of the Flies with girls on a deserted island somewhere in Indonesia. Terrifying and fascinating.

Christian Brandstätter

This is a great overview of the Vienna Workshops movement and all its various products and designers.

Judy Rudoe

Such remarkable work.

Malcolm Gladwell

I love Gladwell’s take on success, with such interesting explanations of his theory—from hockey players to Bill Gates to the Beatles.

Vladimir Tolstoy

I love Russian graphics, design sensibilities, textiles.

Jared Diamond

A fascinating explanation of how and why we all ended up the way we are culturally.

Wendy Burden

Full disclosure: Wendy is a dear friend, but this is a great read. Tragic and funny and shows the inside of a type of life most will never know.

Gerald Berjonneau
Jean-Louis Sonnery

This was the first art book I bought when I was in the midst of designing my initial jewelry collection. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Norman Doidge

Just so fascinating and encouraging. I devoured it. Our brains are so much more plastic than ever thought and can grow throughout our entire lives. Nothing seems impossible!

Muriel Barbery

A gentle story full of philosophy and references to literature and art, and I could not put it down—although I wanted to savor it. A bit of a dilemma. A quote from the book knocked me off my chair, metaphorically speaking: “Yet how exhausting it is to be constantly desiring. . . . We soon aspire to pleasure without the quest, to a blissful state without beginning or end, where beauty would no longer be an aim or a project but the very proof of our nature. And that state is Art. . . . When we gaze at a still life, when—even though we did not pursue it—we delight in its beauty, a beauty borne away by the magnified and immobile figuration of things, we find pleasure in the fact there was no need for longing, we may contemplate something we need not want, may cherish something we need not desire. So this still life, because it embodies a beauty that speaks to our desire but given birth by some else’s desire, because it cossets our pleasure without in any way being part of our own projects, because it is offered to us without requiring the effort of desiring on our part: this still life incarnates the quintessence of Art, the certainty of timelessness. In the scene before our eyes—silent, without life or motion—a time exempt from projects is incarnated, perfection purloined from duration and its weary greed—pleasure without desire, existence without duration, beauty without will. For art is emotion without desire.”

Alastair Duncan
Georges De Bartha

I think this is my favorite of all my design/art books. Such amazing workmanship and design. I covet the books in this book—they are gorgeous.

Anthony J. P. Meyer

A beautiful visual survey of Oceanic art—it brings to mind my favorite rooms at the Met.

David Mitchell

A fascinating novel with an interesting structure—moving forward in time, then reversing itself. It’s a story that unwinds and winds gracefully yet mysteriously.

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