Get ‘Em While They’re Fresh New Books for April 2015

“Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake” (Sennett, p.  9). Enjoy three very different discussions of craftsmanship in the following books available through the DePaul Library.

Why We Make Things and Why it Matters Book CoverLike many of his contemporaries who were college graduates in the turbulent 1970s, Peter Korn was determined to live a meaningful life.  And like many who chose not to follow a traditional career path, he had no map for guidance.  He began his journey to a well-lived life as an apprentice carpenter on Nantucket and early on his intuition told him he was headed in the right direction.  Four decades of a life practicing craft has continually confirmed his belief that engaging in craftsmanship is transformational.  Why We Make Things and Why It Matters follows the author’s journey of self-transformation from a carpenter to a furniture maker to a teacher to a writer to an administrator and to a founder of a non-profit school, the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine.  DePaul Loop Library, Call Number:  745.501 K846w2013Hippie Homesteaders cover

Traditional West Virginia crafts were in danger of disappearing in the 1950s and 1960s when many young natives left the Mountain State to seek employment. But an opposite movement of young adults into the state in the 1960s and 1970s in search of a simple life preserved and strengthened the West Virginia craft heritage.  While some of these back-to-the-landers brought skills with them, those who were novices learned their skills from the local experienced craftspeople in order to carve out a living.  Carter Taylor Seaton, a West Virginia native and sculptor, spent two years interviewing forty-five of these artisans who remained and call West Virginia home.  Hippie Homesteaders: Arts, Crafts, Music and Living on the Land in West Virginia explores why these individuals chose West Virginia and how their craft and their lives evolved over the decades.  DePaul Library, Electronic Book

The Craftsman Book CoverI decided to slip in a not-so-new book by Richard Sennett (2008) because of his important contribution to the literature on craftsmanship. Sennett, a sociologist, discusses craftsmanship through the lens of pragmatism.  The Craftsman “focuses on the intimate connection between hand and head” (p. 9).  One premise of this work is that as an individual develops mastery of a skill, ethical issues can also develop.  Mastery of a skill generates pride in the skill and in the work produced, and pride can obscure.  Sennett believes in the importance of reflection during the work process—pausing at different stages, taking stock, and thinking through the ethical considerations before the work is complete.  John T. Richardson Library, Call Number:  601 S478c2008

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