Furniture making, once a way to earn a living through an arrangement between makers and clients, has been discovered, like a rosy-cheeked girl plucked from a Nebraska farm and made over into a big-city model.
For many of us, making furniture and cabinetry is still a way to earn a living, however marginal. We may do what we love every day, to paraphrase the marketing pitch of a well-known school, but as with most long-term love, ours deepens from the passion of new romance to the mature familiarity of marriage: sometimes tedious, occasionally exasperating, as much taskmaster as muse.
The day-to-day realities of those who make things for a living get scant attention compared to the potential satisfactions of craft as avocation. But they are every bit as important – especially for those actively considering exchanging the lecture hall, office, or operating room for a woodworking shop.
Honest, earthy, and wryly humorous, this collection of tales drawn from more than 30 years of experience at shops in England and the United States is thought provoking as well as entertaining. We follow Hiller as she stumbles into furniture making after dropping out of Cambridge University, finds employment in one, then another, English workshop, grapples with monotony, sexism, and self-doubt, attempts escape, and eventually makes peace with her vocation.
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