Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book of Forgotten Crafts-ed. Felix, Ellis, Quinn

Book of Forgotten Crafts-ed. Felix, Ellis, Quinn

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 256
gender: M+F
nationality: UK
year: 2011
non fiction

This title reveals the fascinating history of British craftsmanship in a series of interviews with leading crafters at work in Britain today. Many crafts survive in the hands of just a few individuals whose rare skills date back as far as 1,000 years. They are part of our history, part of a past of craftsmanship, skill and attention to detail that most of us probably thought had vanished forever. It features such people as the trug maker, cricket bat maker, thatcher, hurdle maker and a rope maker. It also includes the mentors from the Mastercrafts series. "The Book of Forgotten Crafts" records and celebrates the best of these ancient crafts, before they disappear and, more importantly, to record the lives of the crafters themselves.

I was once described as someone with a foot squarely in tradition while being relentlessly modern. It struck me as a particularly apt description of the contrasts in my personality and hobbies. It is also probably why I'd enjoy a book like this so much. It offers you just enough information to understand what they're doing-something to intrigue you with some lovely photographs of the craftsperson at work.

Set up as a series of clear and fairly concise interviews with the last full time craftsmen (and craftswomen) who practice 'old fashioned' crafts, this is not a how to guide. This is a good thing, quite frankly, you'd not want to learn blacksmith from a book that also taught you bobbin lace making. Some of the crafts, I'd argue, are not at all forgotten as I've tried my hand at them (I'd also argue that there is an omission of handmade book binding if paper making was allowed in!) but some are crafts I've genuinely never heard of! Bee skeps indeed! Others I'd never really thought about as much and enjoyed the interview. I found myself really considering the different ways to create the ubiquitous stone wall found all over the island. I'd never realized there were two ways to do so until I read through that section. If you love fairly useless information like how many parts make up a wooden wheel, this is definitely the book for you.

In conclusion, I think I know now from who I want to buy my pair of clogs from!

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