A couple of weeks ago, I visited a friend who is a very good textile artist. She is often inspired by books on a variety of subjects, many of them very different from the images she uses in her work. On her coffee table was a remarkable example: Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees by Cedric Pollet.

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Written by a French landscape designer and photographer with an amazing eye and the ability to develop his pictures using the silver-process photography technique, the book–in the author’s words, “a homage to the tree”–is a revelation  From among 15,000 images, Pollet chose 81 trees, from 5 continents, to feature in the book. Each tree is described in detail. The author comments on the tree’s historical uses, its likelihood of survival in the current ecosystem, and the medicinal properties contained in its bark, seeds and leaves.

Accompanying each description are many photographs of the tree and especially its bark. And what bark! The photographs depict bark of every imaginable color, shape and texture. Artists looking for inspiration for surface design techniques or paintings could spend hours with this book. A Google search with the title and author will bring up dozens of images.

This book will be on my Christmas list for sure.

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