Author: Peter Korn
Publisher: David R. Godine, Boston USA
First published: 2013
Reviewer: David Upfill-Brown, furniture designer/maker

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We contemporary craft practitioners have too few champions. As observers there are the ilk of Soetsu Yanagi, Peter Dormer, Richard Sennett, Edward S. Cooke Jr; as makers David Pye, perhaps James Krenov and a few others.

So when a designer/maker who has been on a similar journey to many of us thinks deeply about why we do make things and why it does matter and expresses himself so clearly, I’m interested.

Peter Korn has written ‘how-to’ books such as the best selling Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship (Taunton Press 2003), but here he delves deeper. Mid-career Peter wrote, ‘My own values became clear when I eventually realised that the words that I used to describe my aesthetic goals as a furniture maker — integrity, simplicity, and grace — also described the person I sought to grow into through the practice of craftsmanship’.

And this book is about values. Peter places us historically as artist, studio designers or makers on solid ground, tumbling us through his particular journey with not a jot of self pity, with cancer, his work in many workshops, from New York City to Anderson Ranch, Colorado where he learned to teach, to his current position at the Center For Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, all the while assimilating values.

And just when we think this might all be taking itself a little too seriously, a twist at the end that will appeal to Australians.
In this book we have a new champion. I believe that all creative people, artists, designers, teachers, makers and managers will find much to hang onto here, especially in this new age of the digital and virtual.

If my ship came in I would give this book to all creative people that I know with the dedication, ‘Yes! This is what binds us’.

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