Just a quick note to THANK YOU for your book, Handmade. I enjoyed it so much that I read it twice, and extracted even more wisdom on the second reading! The only other 2 books I have ever read twice are Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Catcher in the Rye! I have also gifted it to several friends and recommended it to many. Thank you for enriching my life!" Mary Ann Carmack
Handmade is a narrative nonfiction book on creativity, practice, and inspiration in this time of attention
disorder. It argues for the value of doing things well, the need to work with our hands, and for using them
to help us think and engage with the world.
The book argues for the need for individuals, for cultures to remain creative, to stay curious, and to keep
engaged with the physical world as a means of thinking more clearly.
I don't want to cut corners. I want to add corners. I want shadows and places to hide. I want light hidden and mystery. I don't need the sleek lines of modernism speeding me to some new place. I want spots where my eye stops. Where it can rest. I have had enough of velocity, enough speed for another day of my life. The days go by too quickly now as it is. I want places where I can be quiet. I want what novelist Junichiro Tanizaki says about a Japanese room, that in its dim light it has "the magic of shadows."
This contrasts with our world where everything must be lit up, brightened, so that no one can rest away from the light. It is fine in its way in a shopping mall or office but it is also tiresome. Let there be places where I can sink into shadow and rest there, “the darkness seen by candlelight”. Does the darkness make the candle burn brighter? Does the space around an object make it stand stronger? The negative space creating the positive. The darkness helping the light. I need to be quiet, I need to be silent with my own desires. In this silence my work, my self grows stronger.
"This is a book to inspire anyone who wants to do work that has meaning and purpose. It is also about becoming
a creative, compassionate, and forgiving person through the pursuit of excellence in one’s chosen vocation;
the journey to craft mastery becomes a journey of self-realization."
-Philip Koomen, U.K. designer, furniture maker"Gary Rogowski leads us gently but surely upon the path to a type of success we may not have previously considered.
(Hint: it involves blisters)."
-Nick Offerman, author, woodworker, actor