So and So Books

So & So Books Hosts An Afternoon with Frank Harmon – a Book Signing event for The Author and ‘Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See’

Native Places

                                                Frank Harmon (Photo by William Morgan)

November 21, 2018 (Raleigh NC) —  So & So Books, an independent bookstore in downtown Raleigh’s trendy Person Street commercial district, will host a book-signing event for architect/author Frank Harmon, FAIA, and his new book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to Seeon Saturday, December 1.

Beginning at 5 p.m., Harmon will discuss his book and his passion for hand sketching. After a Q&A with the audience, he will sign copies of Native Places, which will be available for purchase in So & So Books.

Delight in Ordinary Places

Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, everyday objects and sites, and nature. The sketches convey the delight he finds in ordinary places. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most take for granted.

Harmon’s goal for Native Places is, in fact, “to transform the way we see,” he says, and to promote his belief that hand drawing offers “an opportunity to develop a natural grace in the way we view the world and take part in it.” He will explain both concepts in his presentation.

Bookstore + design studio

So & So Books shares space with in situ studio. One of the studio’s founders, Erin Sterling Lewis, AIA, will introduce the author at the event. Sterling Lewis worked with Harmon in his multi-award-winning architecture firm for several years before he retired. She considers him her “greatest mentor,” she said recently, and “remains grateful every day for the opportunities he afforded me during my time at Frank Harmon Architect.”

Praise for Native Places

In her review of Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See,, author and entomologist Eleanor Spicer Rice, PhD., wrote, “Like a child picking up fistfuls of seemingly commonplace stones, Harmon gathers places in all their forms and meanings and thoughtfully lays them in his book, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and everyday life takes on a new texture and meaning.”

In a letter to Harmon, Fred Chappell, former North Carolina Poet Laureate, offered, “Native Places…has afforded me happy pleasures, different from any that I have before derived from a book.”

Mike Welton, architecture critic for the News & Observer, called Harmon’s book “delightful” and suggested that it is “destined to change how we see this world.”

So & So Books is located at 704 North Person Street, Raleigh 27604 (919-426-9502). For more information, visit the store’s Facebook page.

For more details on Frank Harmon and Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, visit the book’s website: http://nativeplacesthebook.com.

Frank Harmon

‘Native Places’ is more than a book; it’s a devotional

Review by Eleanor Spicer Rice, Ph.D.

Frank Harmon

Carolina Wren by Frank Harmon

When marveling over Columbus, Indiana’s city structure, Frank Harmon points to the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto’s view that “architecture belongs to culture, not civilization.” In Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, architecture belongs to Frank Harmon, and he gives it to us like a gift.

Each page of Native Places pairs one of Harmon’s charming illustrations with a vignette of his perspective, which magnifies the small (a Carolina wren perched on an excavator, for example), shrinks the large (Kansas and Georgia landscapes seen from an airplane window), and reveals the astonishing, functional beauty of each.

Like a child picking up fistfuls of seemingly commonplace stones, Harmon gathers places in all their forms and meanings and thoughtfully lays them in his book, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and everyday life takes on a new texture and meaning.

In Native Places, architectural marvels can be obvious, like Thomas Jefferson’s Lawn at the University of Virginia, but they also can be the often-unnoticed quotidian, like window boxes along London’s streets. After all, great architects draw lasting monoliths, or they hammer planks on sensible barns. The resulting effect is an enrichment of the reader’s everyday experience, a wonderment over the human hand-sized bricks that stack up to form our homes or the bats roosting beneath the soffits.

Frank Harmon

Window boxes in London by Frank Harmon

Native Places is more than a book; it’s a devotional. The reader can pick it up and open to any page to find a complete and renewing story. It can be read in chunks or a page at a time. It can wait beautifully and patiently for casual readers on their coffee tables, or it can be an important bedside staple.

One last, but important feature of Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is its author. As shorebirds and dustpans have made impressions on him, people across the world have experienced Harmon’s influence as an architect. Harmon’s architectural contributions include the AIANC building, his award-winning residences, and years as a sought-after professor at NC State University. The opportunity to explore a legendary influencer’s perception is a brilliant delight, one guaranteed to leave the reader feeling gratified and with a revitalized sense of awe, if we take the time to look.

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Eleanor Spicer Rice, Ph.D., is Senior Science Editor for Verdant Word, specializing in communicating scientific ideas to a popular audience.