Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage

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Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage

Category: Crafts
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is a coffee table book. It's visually stunning but the text takes it way above the mass-produced - in more senses than one. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 232 Date: May 2011
Publisher: Kodansha International
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-4770031211

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You can furnish a house quite cheaply courtesy of one of the many retailers which operate in that sector. It will range in price from cheap to moderately expensive, will be as functional as you require and might even look good. Unfortunately it is unlikely to appeal to the soul – to touch you deeply – and your piece will not be unique. I hadn't appreciated quite how important this point was until some good fortune a few years ago allowed us to commission two pieces of furniture which have given pleasure on a daily basis – and which look even better now than when they arrived.

David Savage is a master furniture maker and one of the artists featured in the book, so he is not – as he says himself – a neutral observer and nor can he be neutral in choosing who to include in the book. Having said that, the pictures alone will tell you that he has chosen people who create furniture of great beauty and – often – originality. It's the text that makes the book shine, though – as it seeks not to give a critical appreciation of each man and one woman's work, but to look at what makes them tick, what drives them on and how they have handled the good times as well as the bad. It is, if you like, ten in-depth biographies of artists who work in a common medium and ten shorter pieces about those we should look out for in the future.

I've had this book on my desk for a long time – much longer than I would normally allow – but as I've read I've found that I was diverted into showing the photographs to people who came into the office, into doing a little research of my own. I was even sidetracked into rereading the detail of Michelangelo's creation of his statue of David – thought's provoked by the idea of 'pulling something out of darkness'. So – it's not a book to be hurried, or even, necessarily, to be read through from beginning to end. It's a book to look into, to allow your mind to wander over and appreciate.

Three pieces 'spoke' to me – and just seeing them would be a privilege, never mind owning them. I loved the mulberry table by John Makepeace, created from mulberry and robinia and with bronze legs and inlays. It's stunning. The teacup desk by Michael Hurwitz, in ash with a marble mosaic is the antithesis of the traditional western desk and is something which I doubt that I could ever tire of looking at. My favourite – another piece by Michael Hurwitz – is the collector's cabinet in zelkova and silk with epoxy.

Part one of the book covers the master woodworkers in detail. They are:

Thomas Hucker
Michael Hurwitz
Rupert Williamson
Peter Danko
Judy Kensley McKie
John Cederquist
Garry Knox Bennett
Jack Larrimore
John Makepeace
David Savage

The shorter pieces appear in part two and the artists covered are: Joseph Walsh, Daniel Lacey, Michael Puryear, Waywood, Alun Heslop, Yuri Kobayashi, Marc Fish, Tom Loesser, Mark Levin and Matthias Pliessnig.

If you've any interest in what can be achieved in wood then you'll find this book a delight and I'd like to thank David Savage for sending a copy to Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal.

Buy Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Furniture with Soul: Master Woodworkers and Their Craft by David Savage at Amazon.com.


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