PEOPLE WHO MAKE THINGS: How American Craftsmen Live and Work by Carolyn Meyer

PEOPLE WHO MAKE THINGS: How American Craftsmen Live and Work

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Meyer profiles a number of American craftspeople -- weavers, quilters, ironworkers, jewelry makers, glassblowers, potters, woodworkers and bookbinders, describing as she does their lifestyles and work habits and dropping in not only a biography for each but, inevitably, a history of each craft from ancient times or earlier. Backgrounds and approaches differ: De Etta Thomas is a traditional Kentucky quilter who learned her trade from her mother; silversmith Olaf Skoogfors chose his specialty early in art school; Mike Snyder, more typically, did a lot of discontented drifting (some of it highly paid) before settling down as a West Virginia blacksmith; and Connecticut woodworker Jeff London came suddenly to his creation of far-out contraptions and his concept of ""Caustic Merriment"" after a motorcycle accident which temporarily blasted his memory. Common to almost all are long hours (seven twelve-hour days a week are not unusual), subsistence-level income (unless the craftsperson is willing to devote much of his time to teaching) and an emphasis on the freedom that comes of being self-employed and self-directed. Through all the sketches Meyer herself provides only middling workmanship and little creative spark, and the black and white photos, though including some of the subjects at or with their work, are otherwise limited to old prints where we'd like to see examples of the objects described. Still the topic has wide current appeal and many of the individuals she visits do well enough as their own press.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1975
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Atheneum