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review Why We Make Things and Why it Matters The Education of a Craftsman 103 Ð In this moving account we follow Korn's search for meaning as an Ivy educated child of the middle class who finds employ ment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket morphs into a self employed designercraftsman of fine furniture takes a riThe satisfactions of creative work in general to understand their essential nature How does the making of objects both reflect and refine our own identities What is it about craft and creative work that makes them so rewarding What is the nature of those rewards How do the products of creative work inform socie. In his beautiful book Why We Make Things and Why It Matters Peter Korn invites us to understand craftsmanship as an activity that connects us to others and affirms what is best in ourselves Matthew Crawford author of Shop Class as Soulcraft What is the point of craft in a completely mass produced world Peter Korn's life as told here holds an answer This fascinating account offers insights into the significance of the handmade object for the maker as well as for society as a whole Martin Puryear Peter Korn writes that his work as a furniture maker tries to accomplish three goals integrity simplicity and grace Fortunately these ualities are also what distinguish his writing In this book he gives the reader an almost tangible sense of what it takes to be a creative craftsman a homo faber a maker of things which is one of the central elements of the human condition But he does much than that he explores what the search for self and for belonging entails in our rapidly changing times Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Peter Korn's brilliant new book resonates with me as a visual artist in a profound way I share his passion for craft and admire his ability to take a plank of wood and fashion anything he sets his mind to Throughout the centuries furniture makers and painters have shared a set of belief systems centered on craft The pleasure and calm that I get as a painter fashioning a complicated work from colored dirt on canvas is I believe the same pleasure and peace that Peter Korn and his students get as craftsmen Chuck CloseHere furniture maker Korn shifts from how to guides to a philosophical approach to woodcraft This book documents Korn's personal philosophy interweaves art and existence and is based on a strong belief in his work An uplifting title for artisans novice or skilled who will benefit from the ideas of a kindred spirit Library Journal

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In this moving account we follow Korn's search for meaning as an Ivy educated child of the middle class who finds employ ment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket morphs into a self employed designercraftsman of fine furniture takes a right turn into teaching woodworking and design at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Art. ‘Why we make things’ is an elouent and deeply felt memoir that puts our capacity to creatively bring forth novel and beautiful things at the center of the good life Peter Korn started out as a carpenter a craftsperson but found his calling in his work as a creative applied artist a furniture maker His priorities were thrown in even sharper relief when he was diagnosed with Hodgkins’s Disease a cancer of the lymphatic system From then onwards furniture making became a true vocation The author is not only a master in woodworking but also in organising and presenting subtle ideas His reflection on the nature of craft and its contribution to a good life are crisply articulate particularly in the first half of the book; the latter half is somewhat loosely organised The book confidently engages in conversation with writers such as Richard Sennett Matthew Crawford Robert Pirsig and John Ruskin amongst others For Korn the essential structure of creative practice is threefold discovery embodiment and communication Correspondingly it is an activity that harmonizes intellect manual skill and character and provides a powerful platform for self transformation The product of that craftsmanship however mundane is something that utilises a language of materiality that is simultaneously visual tactile stylistic spiritual functional and political It is an object and a dynamic multidimensional thought marker It is a source of meaning for both maker and respondent But in the real world the good life does not only involve producing beautiful objects in the splendid isolation of the artist’s workshop It necessarily also entails building and maintaining relationships and making a living Painfully through illness divorce and lack of financial success Korn had to reappraise the basic assumptions upon which he had founded his artisan life He reframed his ideal of the craftsman away from an existence as solitary self employed artisan to a person who functions as an extension of society a cell within a larger organism The reframing allowed him to come to terms with a position of administrator in a woodworking school It is craft’s capacity to contribute to a continuous reappraisal of our most fundamentally held beliefs that defines its essential contribution to humanity

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Why We Make Things and Why it Matters The Education of a CraftsmanS Center and finally founds a school in Maine The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship an interna tionally respected non profit institution teaching design furniture making and related arts to over 400 students a year This is not a how to book in any sense Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular and at. Peter Korn may be a skilled craftsman or whatever but this book didn't feel like it delivered on the titleI'm an amateur woodworker I've got a bunch of tools I'm learning to use I've made a desk a bookcase an armoire knife holders a display case etc My wife's grandfather is a skilled woodworker and I've been learning a lot from him I thought this might be a good philosophical look at the intrinsic value of making things vs purchasing them Some deep journey through `maker culture` vs consumerism Instead I felt like I got an autobiography about some guy I'd never heard of before who occasionally said Making things is deeply spiritual and then talked about getting cancer againFrom the start of the book he presents himself as someone who chased after passion instead of stability but by the end of the book his 'passion' has suspiciously transformed into a desk job from which he derives just as much fulfillment as furniture making despite rejecting office work as essentially soulless His definition of 'making things' expanded until it covers essentially every action a person takes which means this book was attempting to answer the uestion what is the purpose of life spoiler alert it didn't Overall it lacked a feeling euivalent to its title I wouldn't read it again or recommend it to anyone else If I'd paid than 2 for it I'd be looking for a refund