Peter Korn – Why We Make Things and Why it Matters

I’m the sort of guy that can’t really do very much in the practical end of things. I wouldn’t have a foggy notion about how to make anything, fix anything or bring much to the table in terms of craftwork. In this book Peter Korn looks into the reasons why we make things, the value of doing so and the relevance in the modern world.

As a craftsman Peter feels he’s able to pursue quality. He knew from the day he first picked up a hammer that making things with a commitment to quality would lead to a good life. He’s passionate about his belief that craft offers a holistic experience that many people lack in their lives. It’s encouraging to see that design is something that can be taught as Peter recounts his stories of teaching people to produce things of lasting substance.

This is a deeply meditative book, with Peter saying that fulfilment is better than happiness and every man-made thing is thought made substance. He had some lonely years at the start of learning his trade but he found spiritual fulfilment in making things. It’s a great feeling learning to stand on his own two feet, being known as a furniture maker and creating individual items for people. Peter says he thought you settled to be a steady person after you become an adult, not really changing. Only when approaching adulthood does he realise it’s a state of constant becoming.

He also learns the craft of writing and I think people will be really won over by the way he talks about the process of his work and the struggles he faced in making a living out of it. His writing on his experiences with cancer is deeply moving and will resonate surely with everyone that reads it. This book is a joy to read and I’d recommend it highly, even those that think they don’t have the slightest interest in woodwork.


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