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Summer Beam Books

Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft

Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft

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Author: Ross A. Laird

Walker & Company, 2001

Laird, a poet and Vancouver native, reflects on the rewards and frustrations of woodworking in eight pensive chapters ingrained with sensual, sinuous language and an intuitive understanding of the topic's metaphoric possibilities. Whether describing the construction of a wooden hand plane (toolmaking, Laird says, is a particular marker in the evolution from apprentice to craftsman) or the transformation of Brazilian purpleheart wood into a reliquary for his wife's grandmother's remains, Laird artfully conveys his appreciation for natural beauty and spontaneity, his reverence for hardwoods, tools and woodworking methods and his espousal of the Taoist principals that have sustained and nurtured his creative life. Indeed, his burnished prose style counterbalances what otherwise would have been an austere memoir of one man's discipline, dedication to craft and Rilke-like embrace of solitude through work. Because of his temperament, the ongoing restoration of his in-laws' summer house becomes a "sustained immersion in the life of a family"; the construction of a marimba for his two children in the chapter "Deep Water" becomes a "creative journey... to a shadowland of doubt, fear, frustration, and depression." Drawing on past experience, he explores the intersection of creativity and depression and offers insight into confronting its enigmatic challenges. Illustrated with Taoist trigraphs and photographs of his handiwork, this meditative book provides an inspiring glimpse into the creative process.

ISBN: 9780802713896

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