Out of the Woods

A wonderful exploration of woodworkers along the Salish Coast of British Columbia.

Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods

PUBLISHER:Heritage House
AUTHOR:Pirjo Raits
FORMAT:Softcover, 224 pages

I've always found it informative, interesting, and inspiring to read about craftspeople – in particular the 'why' of what they do. So, I was quite intrigued when this new book arrived, given its subtitle "Woodworkers Along the Salish Sea". That just happens to be in my back yard. For those of you who may not know, the Salish Sea is the somewhat new name for the area that encompasses the Strait of Georgia (that bit of water between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland), the Juan de Fuca Strait (the waterway between the south of Vancouver Island and the north of Washington state), and Puget Sound (the estuary at the north of Washington state).

There are 26 woodworkers featured in the book – some have been working wood for decades, others are relatively new to the craft; some are professional woodworkers – it puts the butter on their bread – others would be considered avid hobbyists. There's a blend of furniture makers, sculptors, woodturners, luthiers, and architectural woodworkers. It was a pleasure to see that the author included women (three in fact) in an otherwise male-dominated craft, along with four First Nation carvers.

What unifies the profiles in this book, in my mind, is the profound respect these craftspeople all seem to have for the material they work and the deep fulfillment they get from the creative process – taking something that was once alive, and giving it new life through the synergy of heart, mind, and hands.

If you're looking to get a small, yet intimate, glimpse into what it's like to lead the life of a craftsperson, you'll want to read this book. The photography is first class, and the text light and engaging.


John Marston, Mask in progress

Jeff Letain, Guitar

Phoebe Dunbar, Bowl
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