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Forgotten Arts and Crafts Hardcover – March 14, 2001


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Hardcover, March 14, 2001
$69.00 $24.98

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: DK ADULT; 1St Edition edition (March 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789458470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789458476
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Originally published in two separate volumes (The Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts), this book brings under one cover the wisdom of John Seymour, a well-known thinker on matters of self-sufficiency, traditional arts, and voluntary simplicity. Seymour is a utopian--he has a vision of a better world where people aren't alienated from their labors. In the introduction he writes, "Are we justified in using articles, no matter how convenient it may be for us to use them, that we know were produced in conditions which bored and even stultified the human beings who had to make them?" This question led Seymour to the research that forms the foundation of the book: rediscovering natural ways of making tools, shoes, furniture, and a variety of other items using methods that follow the grain of wood or the idiosyncrasies of a piece of stone. Seymour respects what he calls "the discipline of natural materials," and he longs for a world free of "mass produced rubbish." Chapters cover an astonishing range: from clog making to spinning to canning. Since this book is intended as a comprehensive survey, don't expect to be an expert on, say, forging metal by reading Seymour's descriptions. He doesn't go into great detail; rather, he gives the basic facts of each forgotten labor of love, and it's up to readers to decide if it's a labor they want to undertake. --Emily White

From Library Journal

Seymour, an expert in self-sufficiency, takes readers back to another age with this combination of the classic titles The Forgotten Arts (1984) and Forgotten Household Crafts (1987). There is something here for everyone: woodcrafts, basketry, soap making, food production, wool production, lace making, and more. As we have come to expect from DK, the illustrations are an attractive asset, featuring numerous period photographs and drawings. If the Y2K premonitions had come to pass, this book would have been worth its weight in gold (and it's a hefty tome). For most public libraries.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

John Seymour is the acknowledged founding father of the self-sufficiency movement. Author of more than 40 books, he draws students from around the world to learn self-sufficiency first hand at his farm in County Wexford.

Customer Reviews

Diagrams, photos and pictures are all clear.
Adrian Black
This is an amazing compilation of various and assorted arts and crafts from the past and current times.
NanC
John Seymour is one of my favorite authors to read.
June

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Black on February 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is simply amazing. It collects within it, the major skills used to make the items one used during every-day life in colonial america and late 19th century england. Items are described in great detail, as well as the trades and craftsmen who made them. Diagrams, photos and pictures are all clear.

This book is not a how-to guide, however. You will need thorough instructions from elsewhere. What it is is an encyclopedia of sadly-forgotten trades from days when everything was made somewhere other than China.

There is indeed nothing about bookbinding as one reviewer mentioned. I was rather bummed about that as well. However, I can easily forgive this, since it's not what I would consider a "survival skill". Forgotten Arts and Crafts highlights trades that contribute to the living and surviving of daily life, rather than the extras such as reading, music, etc, for the most part. Coopers, tanners, butter-making, the care and tending of an old household pre-vaccum and washing, saddle-making, carpentry, farriers and blacksmiths, spinners, weavers, carpenters, etc... were all required to merely subsist in ye old days when everyone in a town or village was generally a deeply-skilled craftsman...those days before we had cars and super-transmorgrified mega-marts. As sad as it makes me, a devopted book-lover, literacy and thus the making of books were not of that skill set.

Anyway, this is a most excellent book for those interested in a project-starting book for ideas, as well as for writers, researchers, and history buffs of all kinds. Heck, *I* don't like history and I loved this one. Fascinating stuff.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Mark C. Josef on November 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is filled to the brim with descriptions on how people have produced materials for their every need before being replaced by inferior (but cheap) mass produced items. Baskets, walls, barrels, baking, smithing, this book has them all--with the unfortunate excepting of bookbinding. Not heavy on the detail side, instead giving a broad scope of now lost skills--accompanied by photographs, excellent drawings, and anecdotes that reveal the warm personality of the author. A wonderful addition to the library of anyone who's ever thought "What happened to quality? Maybe cheaper isn't better!"
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ken Roberts VINE VOICE on February 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been having a great run on historical luck lately, finding books on everyday life of bygone days. The Forgotten Arts and Crafts by John Seymour is the latest in a line of excellent social history books that I have recently acquired, and I must say, for any historian - beginner or seasoned - this book is an absolute must. Broken into two parts (Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts), detailed information on how survival in the past was accomplished by our ancestors is given, written in a very entertaining and easy to read style using both modern and period directions. Sketches and photographs enhance the text greatly, giving the reader full understanding of the subject studied - and the subjects are too numerous to list here. But just to name a few of the occupations and survival crafts from the first half: blacksmithing, becoming a wheelwright, well digging, chair making, coopering, working a millstone, basketry, building an actual wooden house, ladder making - all shown how it was done in an era long past.
The second part of the book details the essentials of home life, such as herb and spice usage, drying and smoking meat, cooking in an open hearth or on a range, making lye and soap, the heating of one's home, the many ways of lighting your home, bathing and toiletry, dyeing, spinning... and on and on and on.
Put the two chapters together and you have quite an overview for living in the past!
Of course, there are other books out there that will give you a "how-to" in much greater detail - this book is more of an aerial perspective, giving the reader a strong idea of life in the past.
DK Publishing has never let me down yet - they seem to have the same passion for history as I do. Lucky for all of us they get the information out there for all to see.
A little pricey, but, to me, well worth it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Xitomatl on January 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somehow I was under the impression that this book would be useful, but I was dead wrong. I see the book is tagged with terms like "permaculture, homesteading, organic farming, survival, country skills..." How terribly misleading!!! Who tagged this book with those terms?!?! I am way into Permaculture and it's myriad disciplines, so I bought this book thinking it might help me make something useful with my hands, but not at all. It has nice sketches of things, but ends about there. A great coffee table book for antique junkies and the likes, though. See the review by Ryan McNabb, I completely agree with him. As he said in his last paragraph,

"These books are a lovely diversion from the cares of modern life, but they won't take you there any more than a book about the space shuttle will put you in orbit. The simple life is attainable, but it will be the hardest thing you ever do, and this book won't help you one bit."

Wish I'd read his review before I bought it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Microbiologist on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book provides a good overview of many forgotten crafts. Since the description for each craft is basically a page or two with line drawings of tools used for each craftand occasional old photos of a craftsman at work, it lacks the detail and step by step instructions necessary to learn any of the crafts directly from this book. It's a very interesting book, but if you're looking for a how-to book, look elsewhere. I'd suggest Storey's basic country skills or the more detailed individual Storeys guides.
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