By Walt Harrington
“This selection of profiles approximately nice American craftsmen is itself the handiwork of an excellent American craftsman.” --David Grogan, This outdated condominium journal.
For Acts of construction, award-winning journalist Walt Harrington travels the US looking for the paranormal nexus of craft, expertise, and mastery that offers delivery to a practical paintings of art—and leaves its maker with a feeling of delight and success recognized good to fantastic craftsmen around the a long time.
A builder of huge fireplaces in Maine. a cupboard maker in Maryland. A millwright in Virginia. A locksmith and a home framer in Ohio. A hardwood ground guy in Indiana. A blacksmith in Illinois. A stone carver in California. none of the fourteen craftsmen and girl profiled believes he's operating basically to construct a home, to renovate a watermill, to solid a plaster medallion. every one imbues his paintings with grander purpose—Michael Seward wishes the folk who purchase his furnishings to event an emotional connection; Chuck Crispin wishes his clients’ lives to be evoked in his flooring designs; Charles Keller wishes the hugely expert international to understand the complex genius of not just high quality blacksmithing yet all effective craftsmen.
The profiles in Acts of production support to reclaim where of workmanship in a consumerist period that locations better price on revenue and branding than it does on committed excellence. those craftsmen supply not just classes approximately craftsmanship, but in addition approximately existence.
“Acts of construction is a beautiful number of literary journalism, written by way of a grasp of the shape. Walt Harrington’s gracefully nuanced prose, choked with feeling and finely saw element, splendidly conveys the realm of craftsmen in all its crafty integrity. within the grand culture of Tracy Kidder, John McPhee and Joseph Mitchell, Harrington deals us a desirable and enduring homage to males at work.” --Barry Siegel, Pulitzer Prize winner, director of the Literary Journalism application, college of California, Irvine
“Acts of construction is an instance of what occurs whilst a top-notch author, laboring in solitude with purity of function, places the ideal phrases within the correct order.” --Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize winner, writer of Uphill Walkers: Portrait of a family members
“A compelling tribute to american citizens who paintings with their arms -- and hearts.” --Pete Earley, writer, loopy: A Father’s seek via America’s psychological health and wellbeing insanity.
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Extra info for Acts of Creation: America's Finest Hand Craftsmen at Work
I looked at lamps, at a ledger, at a marvelous curly cherry secretary. I looked at oval boxes and blanket chests and simple Shaker beds, at rugs, at a mirror, at all the products of Shaker craft on display there. Then in the hallway that connected the rooms, I studied each of the over-sized black-and-white photos of 19th-century Pleasant Hill Shakers that hung there, trying to get a sense, via these images, of who these people had been. The rooms were quiet, the silence broken only by the faint sounds of my feet moving across the wood floors.
Indd 60 11/29/06 11:07:03 AM This illustration shows the complicated joinery in the base of the large blanket chest. ) maker of this chest packed that corner with a huge number of pins and tails. This significantly increased the amount of time and effort required to cut and fit the joinery, an increase you probably can’t explain simply by taking into account the amount of abuse the chest was likely to receive. Then why? Why cut all those pins and tails? Why not lighten the work load with a distribution more like that found on the miniature blanket chest.
Cock beading provided an appealing detail to highstyle furniture, but it represented a significant investment of time, an investment that makers of simpler county furniture could not always justify. As a result, country furniture makers in Kentucky, and elsewhere, often created a simulated cock beading around drawer fronts. In the case of very large drawer fronts, that cock beading might be created with a side-bead plane (a kind of molding plane), but much more often, the craftsman would use a shop-made tool called a scratch stock.