Can a book teach someone to sing?
Throughout this book, George Walker and Jim Tolpin use music as a metaphor to explain the mechanics of design. The metaphor is helpful in understanding their material, but I wondered if the metaphor exposed a weakness in their method. Namely, that design, like music, is something you can develop only through the act of doing it and gauging the response of others to your work.
But as I read the book for the third time during the editing process, I realized that Walker and Tolpin have indeed created a book that can teach you to sing. And they have done three things that no other book on furniture design has accomplished.
1. They refuse to accept that furniture design is a system of secret codes and numbers that merely need to be applied at the drafting table to create beauty. Or that design is innate and un-teachable.
2. They reveal a much simpler system – similar to notes on a scale – that can guide your efforts to train your hand, eye and mind to create pleasing forms.
3. They give you a roadmap (instead of a plane ticket) for you to follow in the journey ahead. They show you the musical scales you need to practice. They show you how the instrument works. And they even play a few of the scales to show you the results.
The next steps, however, are up to you. Take this book, try the exercises and see if they can teach you to sing at the drafting board. The trip ahead might be long, but with this book (and some traveling music, perhaps) you won’t ever get lost.
“By Hand & Eye” by George R. Walker and Jim Tolpin is now for sale in the Lost Art Press store for $34 with free domestic shipping until May 30, 2013, which is when the book is scheduled to ship from the printer.
You can read more about the book and order a copy here.
You can download a sample chapter in pdf format using the link below.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. We will be offering 26 leather-bound copies of “By Hand & Eye” this summer for $185, and we’ll also offer electronic versions in both ePub and Kindle versions. We do not know if any (or all) of our retailers will carry the book. As always, it is their call – not ours.
“By Hand & Eye” is 200 pages long with full-color illustrations printed on heavy #80-pound matte coated paper. The book is casebound and Smythe sewn so it lasts a long time. The hardback boards are covered in cotton cloth with a black matte stamp. Like all Lost Art Press books, “By Hand & Eye” is produced and printed entirely in the United States.