In this moving account (endorsed by America's most famous woodworker, Nick Offerman, who calls it "Generous and touching . . .[An] excellent book"), Peter Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution.
Through this beautiful exploration, Korn works to get at the "why" of craft, in particular, and at the satisfactions of creative work, in general - to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects both reflect and refine our own identities? What is it about craft and creative work that makes them so rewarding? What are the natures of those rewards? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal about ourselves? Korn draws on forty years of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently in this personal and revealing inquiry.
Peter Korn writes that his work as a furniture-maker tries to accomplish three goals: integrity, simplicity, and grace. Fortunately, these qualities are also what distinguish his writing. In this book, he gives the reader an almost tangible sense of what it takes to be a creative craftsman, a homo faber, a maker of things, which is one of the central elements of the human condition. But he does much more than that: he explores what the search for self and for belonging entails in our rapidly changing times. --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Peter Korn's brilliant new book resonates with me as a visual artist in a profound way. I share his passion for craft and admire his ability to take a plank of wood and fashion anything he sets his mind to. Throughout the centuries, furniture makers and painters have shared a set of belief systems centered on craft. The pleasure and calm that I get as a painter fashioning a complicated work from colored dirt on canvas is, I believe, the same pleasure and peace that Peter Korn and his students get as craftsmen. --Chuck Close
The style of Peter Korn s lovely, patient and fastidious ode to craft, Why We Make Things and Why It Matters, mirrors the technical precision and style he has used in his career as a furniture maker and teacher. -- Nicole Lamy, The New York Times