Cover Image: With These Hands

With These Hands

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This book is quite a gem! It makes me miss the days when my parents could buy me a bike at a bike shop, and all of my needs for my bike including repairs could be made there.
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With These Hands: Traditional Arts, Crafts, and Trades of Atlantic Canada

Beauteous crafts, handmade into life, are the focus of this lovely book. The author has visited skilled artisans in their home environments, and found baskets woven from porcupine needles (and gentle warnings not to get the needles too hot or they will melt, and rules about roadkill), delicate wood flowers, jewelry from nature, baskets (so many different kinds!), pots, all kinds of items from bushes made by a bushcrafter. . . it is stunning the folk arts and handiwork that is in this world! Arrows, bows, spoons, baskets – if there is a need to meet, someone has not only made the item, they’ve gussied it up into an art piece.

The population of these artisans are from the regions that comprise the lands of Atlantic Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Perched on the edge of a continent, these lands are filled with people who are thinking about water all the time. They build boats, dories, oars, paddles, sails, fishing tools. There are wheels, chicken coops, timber frames, wood carvings of every type, musical instruments. Folk arts that include quilting, weaving, brewing, fabric dyes, artistry of fibres of all types, rugs and rughooking are featured. We haven’t even considered metal, glass and leather, but it’s all there.

Lovely pictures show the artists in their milieu with their crafts about them. I appreciated the fact that so many of these crafts originated with first peoples, pioneers, homesteaders and those who are living close to their materials, and are handing these skills from generation to generation to generation. There is something very bonding and spiritual while doing a task that you knew came from some clever mind and skilled fingers hundreds of years ago. . . .

With These Hands is inspiring to read. A reader gets itchy to find their own scratch. . .what do your hands want to do? It’s in there – find your material and begin to work your art! As for me and mine. . . .I follow the quilters. . . ..and appreciate all others!

A Sincere Thanks to Don MacLean, Nimbus Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review!
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Disclaimer: I was given an advance reader copy of this book by Nimbus Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

With These Hands is a wonderful look into traditional crafts and those who do them.  It gives a glimpse into the passion that goes into these crafts by the people that are preserving them for the next generations.  

As someone who makes my living making things with my hands, I love seeing the passion of other makers.  It always brings me joy reading about those who make and are passionate about what they make.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is a maker or just appreciates makers.
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An overview of traditional crafts, filled with short interviews of master craftsmen. This book is an appreciation of the crafts and traditions in Atlantic Canada. The author genuinely loves handmade, hand crafted items and you can feel that love in each interview. He also touches on the history of these crafts. An enjoyable read that provides you with an appreciation for the skill involved in making. From woven baskets to hand built boats, a wide variety is reviewed. 


Advance digital copy provided by #netgalley but all opinions are my own.
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With These Hands is a book full of short spotlight interviews and bios of traditional crafters and artists from Canada. Released 30th June 2019 from Nimbus publishing, it's 224 pages and available in paperback format.

There is as much contemplation on philosophy and the history of 'plain' crafts and tools as there is biography in this volume and much of what the author says really resonated with me. In the intro, he touches on the differences between art and craft (and trades) and the way that handcrafted tools and objects define and enhance our lives. The introduction alone is full of sources for further reading and I found that the author and I share more than a few of the same watershed books in our lives, such as the Whole Earth Catalog and Robert Pirsig's phenomenal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The book's biographical entries are grouped roughly by category: naturecrafts, wood, folk art, textiles, metal/glass/leather, and sporting crafts. There are a number of featured artists and objects from the First Nations peoples and the author treats all of the crafters with dignity and respect.

Most of the entries are 1-3 pages with a photograph of the subject. It isn't lavishly photographed, but there's a retro vibe with black and white photos which suits the book very well.

The bibliography and included resource links might well be the best and most comprehensive I've come across. There is an astounding amount of info for further reading and research included here.

This is a good overview of traditional crafts, many of which are being lost as the knowledge dies with their practitioners. It is not a tutorial book and there aren't any included instructions.

5 stars. Beautiful and important work.
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With These Hands had some interesting stories and photos. Too many things are mass produced and do not have the love in it.
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Sounded good in the write up, but couldn’t open file to read it. As a quilter I found the concept interesting, and was looking forward to reading and seeing the artistic works of the ones he interviewed.
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