Design Book Update

Like a load of lumber dumped off the back of a truck bed, our manuscript for “By Hand and Eye” is off to Chris Schwarz at Lost Art Press. Hopefully Chris won’t need a hatchet, to make a book out of it. I learned a few lessons along the way I’ll share with you:

  1. If your computer is old, sick, or a bit wheezy, bite the bullet and upgrade. It’s a major suck to have it crash FOUR TIMES going down the home stretch.
  2. Don’t agree to a big deadline in early June. The whole world welcomed spring by frolicking in sunshine and doing back-flips over tulip beds, while I hunkered over a drawing board in a cave. Intense hunkering should be reserved for February.

All joking aside, the really profound lesson we’re most excited to share, has to do with the different levels of sight. Both Jim Tolpin and I are absolutely convinced that with a little effort, anyone can make huge strides in their ability to visualize and imagine designs with clarity.

We all have the ability to look and intuitively make judgments with our eye. For many of us this is that vague sense that the work of our hands looks compelling or as is often the case lacking, yet often not being able to put our finger on the reason. For the vast majority this is the normal state, accepted as our lot in life.

It’s an energizing leap to go from looking to seeing. This is a whole new world where the eye is awakened to the forms and proportions within a design and the ability to unpack a composition. This ability is dramatic, akin to the difference between the bystander watching someone kayak and climbing aboard to experience the frothy waves. It forever changes the way we interact with the world around us.

Yet there’s more. We each have the ability to go beyond looking, beyond seeing and begin to clearly visualize with our designers eye. This is much more than simply unpacking a design, this is the ability to see it in your inner eye with clarity. It’s like developing a sixth sense. One can go beyond unpacking a design and actually begin manipulating it on the blackboard in your head. Doubly exciting because it’s timeless and universal, giving you the ability to clearly find your inner vision or voice, and finally unshackle your creative impulses.

Both Jim and I can’t wait to see you run, dance, chisel, saw, carve – heck, even sprout wings and fly with it.

George R. Walker

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About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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7 Responses to Design Book Update

  1. rob campbell says:

    Nor can I wait to read it! Really loved the By Hand and By Eye workshop with Jim and would love to take the longer format one with you, as well, if my schedule will tolerate it.

  2. Tico Vogt says:

    Congratulations on reaching the end of what sounds an exhausting but rewarding process. Really looking forward to this book!

  3. ejcampbell says:

    I am also looking forward to the book. I am hoping for help on th ewhole design process from visualizing the design to discussing design merits/shortcomings to translation to wood.

    • walkerg says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. Jim and I wrote this as a practical design workbook for the shop. I cover the theory (the why) and Jim Tolpin demonstrates the theory put in practice. We incorporate drawing exercises to train the eye as well as a number of projects where Jim walks through both the design process and transferring ideas to the work at the bench. I’ll have more to say about this in coming weeks but suffice it to say we are truly excited about this book!

      George

  4. Looking forward to it! Although I look at this as the golden age of online learning by internet, there’s still something to be said for holding the book in your hands 🙂

  5. Agreed Mike. The Internet is a marvellous invention but it’s much easier to read a book in my workshop. 🙂

  6. amosswogger says:

    This book is on my list to buy, especially after reading your articles in PW. Thanks for the update.

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