Making and the Art of Transformation
By Nick Kary
An important book, brimming with insight. Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer
Material is generous, wise, fascinating and fundamentally humane. Dan Richards, author of Outpost
Throwing a pot. Building a bench. Sewing clothes. Creating a linocut illustration. Carving a spoon. What does it mean to make things with your hands in a digital age full of mass market, disposable items?
Through beautifully-crafted writing filled with memorable makers, landscapes, stories and scenery, Material is a rich celebration of what it means to imagine and create. Nick Kary champions the voices of artisans across the English landscape, from potters to woodworkers, and reminds us of the rich vein of knowledge and skills that defines our common human heritage.
Much in the vein of bestselling authors Lars Mytting, Robert Macfarlane and Barn the Spoon, craftsman Nick Kary explores what it means to be a maker, where the fluid creative act becomes manufacturing, and what it means to create in a world where consumers are disconnected from the creative and material process. He tells the stories of craftspeople, asking them why they make, and the challenge of making a living out of a practice that was once a necessity; and underlying his visits to meet fellow makers are the author’s own reflections about what and who influenced him to value and make using materials from the earth for the past forty years.
Perfect for fans ranging from Countryfile to Norwegian Wood, Material is a rich, inspiring read for woodworkers, potters, craftspeople, bibliophiles and anyone who enjoys working with their hands.
Reviews and Praise
“[Kary’s] inquiry goes to the soul of what ‘making’ with our hands is, and how artists entwine physically and emotionally with their materials. An enlightening exploration.”
‘In Material, Nick Kary mines the deep knowledge of makers and creatives, and the resultant nuggets from carpenters, weavers, smiths and masons are often gold. This book offers a timely retort to a world in thrall to fast, ephemeral fashions. A marvellous mix of the heuristic, didactic and expedient; a celebration of the local, old-school and hands-on, Material is generous, wise, fascinating and fundamentally humane.’—Dan Richards, author of Outpost
‘A profound and personal delving into the ancient connection between man and matter and our increasingly tenuous relationship with nature. An important book, brimming with insight.’—Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer
‘Nick Kary understands that to be a maker is to be a seeker – creating to a personal standard not only out of the material of the earth but of memory, one’s relationship to place and history, the force of time. The work of our hands affirms a stewardship of the land that is also an imperative. Material is a quiet, heartfelt assertion of why craft so deeply matters.’—Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces
‘It was as if Nick Kary’s outstretched hand took mine and, tucking my arm under his, gently led me into an enchanted world. There is an exquisite poignancy in this book, an honesty, a fearless enquiry that shifts from sunlight to shadow, along paths mostly hidden from a world grown weary of beauty. Material meets maker in a sensuous weave of insight, wonderment, ordinariness, and deep humanity. I will read this book again, and slowly, in the way I might cup hands and, dipping them to clean spring water, pause to drink.’—Mac Macartney, author of The Children’s Fire: Heart Song of a People
‘With grace and humility, Nick Kary has crafted a deeply felt and intimately observed portrait of a magic English landscape of authentic makers working amidst the remnants, scars and generational stories of forgotten crafts and industry. Material: Making and the Art of Transformation beautifully weaves together the pathos and promise of traditional materials and methods, and the intimate bonds that form between artisans and their medium as they bring meaning to their making. Nick Kary has gifted us, giving eloquent voice to thinking and feeling with one’s hands.’—Christopher Bardt, author of Material and Mind