Review published on February 21, 2017.
Nowadays, people spend inordinate amounts of time in front of computers supposedly creating things and, whilst some of these things can be satisfying, quite a lot of the time they aren’t. Peter Korn has had a lifetime of creating objects, beginning his career as he did as a carpenter against his father’s wishes. After a few years doing that, he suddenly had a desire to create furniture, to move from making things to creating things. These changes in career meant relocating to different parts of the States, taking each new venture in his stride and discovering his voice when it came to producing exquisite items of furniture. One thing that certainly wasn’t in the plan though was the discovery of cancer.
He is a fighter though and, thankfully, he survives. But this is more than a memoir of his life and profession and a critique of his creations. He sets about answering the questions that he poses in the title of the book, describing what he and the people that he has taught through the school he established gain from the process of creating functional and beautiful things, and learning from the experience of others. It is quite a philosophical book, with a nod towards Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but much more eloquently written as he explores just how the creative process can bring fulfilment.
Paul Cheney 4/3
Why We Make Things and Why it Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn
Vintage 9781784705060 pbk Feb 2017
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