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For Immediate Release: Pre-Orders Open On Kickstarter

The Center for Art in Wood, in partnership with The Emil Milan Research Project, is publishing the first illustrated biography of legendary artist, designer, and woodworker Emil Milan



Philadelphia, PA — October 17, 2017: After more than a decade of research, including more than three years of writing, editing, design, photography, and illustration, The Center for Art in Wood (Philadelphia, PA), along with the Emil Milan Research Project, and Wonderfull Design (Minneapolis, MN) has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish the highly anticipated biography of Emil Milan (American, 1922–1985) — a highly influential designer, artist, and craftsman who was a major contributor to the studio craft movement in the 1950s and 60s. Milan’s signature designs of bird sculptures and fish- and leaf-shaped bowls, trays, and serving ware represent the very essence of midcentury modern design. The publication, Emil Milan Midcentury Master, is filled with history, stories, artifacts, and photographs — along with the largest collection of Milan’s work, including dozens of his finest creations. The book also contains insight into the late artist’s process, methods, and teaching practices.

The Kickstarter campaign launched on the morning of October 17, 2017 and is fueled by a passionate group of Emil Milan students, devotees, and followers who aim to share Milan’s story with a broad audience and elevate him to his rightful place in American art history.

Emil Milan stood with now legendary artists and designers like Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof, Wendell Castle, Charles Eames, George Nakashima, and Bob Stocksdale (among others) in the most important exhibitions of fine craft in America. His wares were tailored for and sold in high-end retailers such as Hammacher Schlemmer, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the original Pottery Barn store in Manhattan. Milan was also a teacher, mentor, and role model for dozens of successful artists and woodworkers who found inspiration in his classes.

Emil Milan and his work were influential beyond measure and this publication fills a void in art and design history.

If you would be interested in featuring a story or post on Emil Milan, we are also happy to provide more tailored, custom content along with handpicked images, excerpts and/or sample spreads.

About The Project, Author and Publisher:

The Emil Milan Research Project has been a decade-long passion project between four artists, all connected to Emil Milan. In February of 2008, artist Norm Sartorius initiated The Project. He wanted to learn more about the roots of his own work by investigating the life and work of his earliest influence, Emil Milan, whom he never met. At first the goal was documentation alone, the collection of biographical information where little was available. It quickly became clear that Milan’s role as an artist had been significant and The Project’s mission evolved to include exhibitions, new museum acquisitions, and eventually a definitive publication on the life and work of this important American artist. 

The Emil Milan Research Team

Author, Craig Edelbrock, was born in Portland, Oregon and holds a bachelor's degree from Western Washington State College and a doctorate from Oregon State University. The author of more than 100 research articles and academic publications, he is a Professor and Dean at the University of Alabama. Craig is also a woodturner and spoon carver under the mentorship of Norm Sartorius. Because of this lineage, he considers Emil Milan his “great grandfather in craft.” He is passionately interested in the evolution and current status of both folk art and fine craft in America. He has served on the Boards of the Wharton Esherick Museum, The Center for Art in Wood, and the Collectors of Wood Art. Craig initiated, designed, and hosted the solo exhibit of Emil Milan’s work at the Henry Gallery in Malvern, PA in 2014. Working collaboratively with the team, he created the Wikipedia article on Emil Milan and wrote the text for Emil Milan: Midcentury Master.

Publisher, Albert LeCoff, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director, Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia. For at least four decades, Albert LeCoff, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Art in Wood, has been involved in wood art as a turner and organizing creator of opportunities for artists who express themselves in turnings and sculptures. Albert and his associates at the Center have generated scores of exhibitions and their documentations that explore the evolving field of art in wood, and occasionally other materials. For the Emil Milan Research Project, Albert encouraged and helped shape the production of the comprehensive exposition and appreciation of Emil Milan’s life, work, and inspiration.

Designers, Erika Brask and Dan Saal of Wonderfull Design are multi-disciplinary designers with a passion for storytelling. For more than 20 years, they have each collaborated with clients and artists all over the world, bringing their unique stories to life. With each project, the pair thoughtfully pushes the boundaries of viewer experience and relevancy. Their passion for helping clients tell stories has expanded to include both design and self-publishing management. Their expertise helps elevate the work of artists who may not have the resources of a major publisher, institution, or endowment. They are also collectors of Emil Milan’s work.