cover image A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning

A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning

Eric Gorges, with Jon Sternfeld. Algonquin, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61620-836-3

Metalworker Gorges, who has profiled artisans of all stripes as host of the PBS series A Craftsman’s Legacy, revisits some of his favorite interviews in this invigorating survey. He highlights woodworkers, blacksmiths, and even a maker of high-end blue jeans to learn about their approaches to and appreciation for their crafts. Without resorting to banal platitudes, Gorges weaves the various stories together to explore the philosophical aspects of working with one’s hands. In discussing his own experiences as an artisan, Gorges illustrates the therapeutic qualities of craftsmanship: finding solace in the rhythmic thrum of a potter’s wheel to ease the pain of his mother’s recent death, and how working in his garage offered him safe harbor from debilitating panic attacks. Digressions on the very real dangers of many of these jobs, the challenge of determining price, and the often circuitous path many artisans take before finding their place (as well as the role of failure in that path), satisfyingly round out the book. This is an impressive and emotionally rich appreciation of the work often taken for granted. Agent: Alison Fargis, Stonesong. (May)