“A roughly made bench serves the same purpose as an elegant Hepplewhite chair and has its own beauty. But how wonderful that the learned hands of humankind can fabricate something that has real craft and hard-won beauty.”
— Robert Genn
There are many reasons to take up design, but the one that applies to every artisan at every level is quality. In our modern sense, design is often coupled with creating something unique or new. But for much of our history this wasn’t the case; quality was the hallmark of good design.
Woodworkers who craft reproductions seldom think of themselves in that modern design context. Yet one somehow recaptures the light and fire of an original masterpiece, while another builds a lifeless copy. Sort of like the difference between a masterful rendition of a great concert piece and the mechanical sound coming from a player piano. The difference is usually in the design knowledge brought to each workbench.
Regardless of whether you create original furniture designs, interpret masterful works from our tradition, or simply make small changes to make your furniture sing; design is the one ingredient that combines with our toolset and skillset to make a whole greater than the sum of it’s parts. Simply put, design is that final piece that enables you to do your best work.
— George R. Walker
Editor’s note: ‘By Hand & Eye” is now at the printer. We are continuing to work on the very complex cover I’ve devised, which is why we haven’t put the book up for sale in the store. Look for it early next week for $34 and free U.S. shipping.