A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity

A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity

Paperback

By (author) William Coperthwaite, By (author) Peter Forbes

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  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 224mm x 226mm x 15mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 9 May 2007
  • Publication City/Country: White River Junction
  • ISBN 10: 1933392479
  • ISBN 13: 9781933392479
  • Illustrations note: Color Photos, Black and White Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 100,637

Product description

William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being. A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.

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Author information

William Coperthwaite is a native of Maine who has traveled the world in search of folk-art techniques and subsistence skills. Impressed by the beauty and intelligence of the traditional Central Asian nomadic tents called "yurts," Coperthwaite adapted and introduced to North America yurt design and construction. In the past four decades has participated in building more than three hundred yurts for family homes, schools, camps, and outbuildings. Awarded a doctorate from Harvard University's School of Education for his work with Eskimo villagers, Coperthwaite has taught in a variety of innovative educational settings. His organization, the Yurt Foundation, now serves to promote sensible and economical self-reliance through workshops, lectures, and publications. Peter Forbes is a longtime leader in the American land conservation movement, both through his work with the Trust for Public Land and his talks, writings, and photography. The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people, to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. John Saltmarsh is one of the founders of The Good Life Center, the Nearing's former homestead in Harborside, Maine. He is an associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston with a joint appointment in the departments of Cooperative Education and History. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Feinstein Institute for Public Service for Providence College. He resides in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Review quote

Publishers Weekly-Serene and thoughtful, this rambling scrapbook by Maine native and yurt-house builder Coperthwaite provides a vision of a life lived simply and self-sufficiently. From violence to education to how to build a "democratic chair" or make an axe, Coperthwaite covers an abundance of topics as he describes his version of a "handmade life" and explains why such a life is desirable. Never quite didactic, Coperthwaite meditates on topics-such as the idea of employment as exploitation-more than he preaches about them, moving glibly from idea to disconnected idea. A recipe for "a bread so good to both the palate and to health that a diet of bread and water would be a delight" is placed next to an anecdote about a young Eskimo girl named Maggie, for example. And the author's own poems, along with poems by D.H. Lawrence and Emily Dickinson, intersperse the narrative. Peter Forbes' engaging color photographs illustrate Coperthwaite's concepts-no easy feat given their breadth and diversity. 67 color photos, 10 b&w illustrations. (review refers to an earlier edition of the book)