Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Were Meant to Live


Why do we make things by hand, and why do we make them beautiful? These are the questions at the heart of Making a Life; ones that led author Melanie Falick on a transformative journey. She found herself bevieving a chisel under the instruction of Peter Korn at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine; digging clay straight from the soil outside of a small English village with potter Sarah Jerath; learning about the evolutionary history of handwork with scholar Ellen Dissanayake; and assembling waxed cotton tote bags alongside twin sisters Katie Startzman and Laura Paulette in a tiny cabin in Berea, Kentucky.

In this book, Falick introduces readers to dozens of these inspirational and influential makers, from weavers to woodworkers, shoemakers to fine artists, and explores why working with their hands gives each one of their lives meaning. For some, it connects them to their heritage; for others, it's a way to opt out of the consumer- and technology-driven society they find so alienating. Some have been working with their hands for decades; others are just beginning their creative journeys. Together, they paint a rich and nuanced portrait of the contemporary world of making and the power it has to give all our lives more authenticity and meaning.