From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-After spending 12 years living with the Inuit and learning how to carve stone and ivory, the author joined the Steuben glass company as a designer of glass sculptures. In this simply told, autobiographical vignette, he expresses his feelings about moving from the Arctic to New York and discusses how he translated his memories, the elegant simplicity of Inuit art, and regional motifs into glass. Houston's respect for the team of artisans who helped him bring his concepts to fruition is clear. Full-page stunning photographs of the glass pieces against black or gray backgrounds and pen-and-ink sketches illustrate this handsome, unique volume.Kathryn Kosiorek, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is an extraordinary combination of art, wildlife, natural history, and exoticism, written as if a well-loved old uncle were sharing his stories. Houston lived for years among the Inuit, studied their art, and taught his own. He left the Arctic in the early 1960s to design for Steuben glass. In simple, vivid sentences, he describes how different his life was in New York. Then he describes in general terms how his drawings get translated into glass and sculpture, and how glass is made at the great Steuben glassworks. The pages are full of color photographs of Steuben bears, trout, dolphins, and exquisitely detailed animal portraits in etched crystal. Houston describes the dance of the cranes ("wearing their bright, red-feathered helmets"), illustrated in one of his designs, and relates the tale, without giving away the secret, of how hard it was to replicate Excalibur, King Arthur's sword, in the Steuben glass sculpture. Besides the photographs, many of Houston's drawings are reproduced, so readers can see a sketch turn into a completed work of art. This hard-to-classify title will amply reward those who find it. GraceAnne A. DeCandido