Book of Earth

Abrams Books


There’s quite a bit more to ochre than the deep, golden hue squeezed out of a tube of paint. “Color is tied to matter, as much as light,” Heidi Gustafson told Colossal in a recent interview. “In fact, in the ochres and Earth pigments, it tends to be the metal elements (iron, copper, lead, etc.) that are responsible for our color experience.”

The Washington-based artist and founder of the Early Futures Ochre Archive marvels at the diverse hues of naturally-occurring minerals beneath our feet. In her new Book of Earth, published by Abrams, she takes us on a journey through rare pigments and their landscapes in a celebration of what she describes as the “behavior, capacities, being-ness, language, needs, and concerns” of the material.

Each chapter of Book of Earth is dedicated to an aspect of Gustafson’s archive, which contains more than 600 samples. The volume elucidates the world of natural color, challenging our perceptions of terrain and the inanimate world, and includes practical advice and techniques for creating your own pigments.

  • Published by Abrams Books
  • 224 pages
  • Hardcover
  • 8.31 x 11.09 x 1.02 in

About Heidi Gustafson

Heidi Gustafson is an artist and ochre specialist based in the rainy, volcanic North Cascades of rural northern Washington. Her highly collaborative and intuitive projects include an ochre sanctuary with over 600 earth pigments from around Earth. She has been called the “woman archiving the world’s ochers” by the New York Times, and the “ochre whisperer” in American Craft.