*Starred Review* Edgar Miller (1899–1993) was an innovative master of “dozens of disciplines and multiple styles.” Believing that humankind “should respect and learn from nature,” he created supple animal and plant motifs, as well as human figures, for his intricate bas-reliefs, wood carvings, ceramics, stained-glass windows, murals, and tiles. He decried waste and so used recycled materials and transformed old buildings into exuberantly decorated architectural marvels. Phenomenally gifted and prolific, Miller was renowned, even legendary, and then he was forgotten, except by those who dwell in his wildly original homes. Cahan and Williams, the team who resurrected the life and work of architectural photographer Richard Nickel, vividly recount Miller’s story of genius and audacity, from his Idaho youth to his meteoric rise in Chicago. Architectural photographer AlexanderVertikoff’s sharp and lustrous images elegantly capture the extraordinary details, rich colors, and profound connectivity of Miller’s spectacular creations. Miller’s fecund imagination, virtuosity, and epic energy produced vibrant architecture in which every element from ceiling to floor is alive with arabesque imagery, entwined patterns, and an aura of aspiration. Miller intended for each space to be a “total work of art,” the perfect description for this unique book. --Donna Seaman
On 400 varnished pages, pictures by the architectural photographer Alexander Vertikoff reveal multistory planes of windows with diamond-shaped colored panes, smudgy frescoes of jungles and ziggurat-shaped newel posts.
--Eve Kahn, New York TimesThis beautiful volume, by the authors of
Richard Nickel's Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City, is a singular, admirable tribute to a brilliant creative talent of the American Arts and Crafts movement who has been forgotten for far too long.
--Library JournalIn a city bursting with pride over its architecture, it may defy logic that such a talent as Edgar Miller could be so overlooked, so absent from the lexicon of Chicago. This glorious book, with 400 color plates, celebrates Miller's imagination.
--Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago TribuneAlexander Vertikoff's beautiful, scrupulous, comprehensive new photographs of those residences--more than 200 pages of them--form the core of
Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home. --Tony Adler, Chicago Reader
"A place to live is a place to live. Walls, ceiling, stairway, kitchen, porchmankind has to have them if he is to continue his ordered habits. Sometimes it makes no difference whether they are beautiful or not. There is a kind of decent comeliness that suffices very well for many homesthe clean cheap rug, the comfortable chairs, the uninspired covering of a wall with loopings or bedraggled flowers. If you feel that a home should be only this, and a springboard to leap lightly toward movie or baseball game, stay away from the Edgar Miller studios on Carl Street and Wells Street. For they will fill you with the haunting surety that you are missing something remarkable and lovely in this world." Alice McKinstry, written in 1930