Title: I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings
Author: Elizabeth Spires
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Concepts: scarcity, poverty, jobs, consumers and producers, discrimination, economics of art
Review: William Edmondson, the child of freed slaves, spent most his life working hard in a variety of low-paid jobs, including field hand and janitor, before Divine intervention changed the course of his life. When he was about 57 years old, religious visions directed him toward the vocation of stonecutting. He began carving and selling tombstones, and then moved on to garden ornaments, birdbaths, and stylized human figures. Completely self-taught and often needing to use small, irregular stone pieces that he could buy cheaply or scavenge, Edmondson slowly gained notice in the art world and wound up becoming the first African American artist to have a solo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In this stunning book, Elizabeth Spires has created a series of moving poems that give voice to the images of Edmondson and the figurines in the accompanying photographs. Yet this book is no ordinary art book, with the poems, photographs, and detailed author’s note all communicating a powerful set of economics ideas related to Edmondson’s life and his work.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children