John Seymour Forgotten Arts and Crafts

ISBN 13: 9780789458476

Forgotten Arts and Crafts

 
9780789458476: Forgotten Arts and Crafts

"There is not a human skill that was ever developed that is not still practiced somewhere on this planet." -- John Seymour. The Forgotten Arts & crafts brings together in a single absorbing volume two best-selling classics, The Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts, written by the acknowledged "Father of Self-sufficiency" John Seymour. Taking the reader on an evocative journey through the worlds of traditional craftspeople -- from blacksmith to bee-keeper, wainwright to housewife -- Seymour celebrates their honest skills, many of which have disappeared beneath the tread of progress. With characteristic passion, Seymour demonstrates that these country arts and household crafts need never be forgotten. From woodland and building crafts to the tasks of the kitchen and laundry, he explores every aspect of traditional life. Materials and workshop tools are usefully annotated, and techniques evoked in engaging words and pictures. Over 1,700 detailed illustrations and photographs bring to life each craft and skill. In an affectionate and nostalgic account, John Seymour recalls a lifetime of encounters with working craftspeople in different parts of the world and describes the trades and household activities he saw practiced in the countryside of his youth. With a crusading vigor, he commends the joys of noble toil and makes a compelling plea for "virtuous craftsmanship," which may, without vigilance, vanish forever.

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Review:

Originally published in two separate volumes (The Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts), this book brings under one cover the wisdom of John Seymour, a well-known thinker on matters of self-sufficiency, traditional arts, and voluntary simplicity. Seymour is a utopian--he has a vision of a better world where people aren't alienated from their labors. In the introduction he writes, "Are we justified in using articles, no matter how convenient it may be for us to use them, that we know were produced in conditions which bored and even stultified the human beings who had to make them?" This question led Seymour to the research that forms the foundation of the book: rediscovering natural ways of making tools, shoes, furniture, and a variety of other items using methods that follow the grain of wood or the idiosyncrasies of a piece of stone. Seymour respects what he calls "the discipline of natural materials," and he longs for a world free of "mass produced rubbish." Chapters cover an astonishing range: from clog making to spinning to canning. Since this book is intended as a comprehensive survey, don't expect to be an expert on, say, forging metal by reading Seymour's descriptions. He doesn't go into great detail; rather, he gives the basic facts of each forgotten labor of love, and it's up to readers to decide if it's a labor they want to undertake. --Emily White

About the Author:

John Seymour was born in England in 1914. As a young man, he traveled all over Africa and fought in Burma in World War II. Returning penniless to England, he lived in a bus and a sailing barge before settling on five acres of land in the country to lead a self-sufficient life. He continues this lifestyle today with his companion Angela Ashe on the banks of the River Barrow in County Wexford, Ireland. The two have build up a small farm from scratch over the last 19 years. For the last four years, John, Angela, and William Sutherland have been running courses in self-sufficiency from their home at Killowen, New Ross. The courses are taken by students from al over the world, who come to Killowen to learn about John's lifestyle and philosophy at first hand. John Seymour is the author of over 40 books, including the best-selling Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, and he has made numerous movies and radio programs. Most of his later writings and public campaigning have been devoted to rural matters, self-sufficiency, and the environment.

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John Seymour
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Seymour, John
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John Seymour
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John Seymour
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