“As the pressures of a fast-paced, modern-day life weigh on people, many seek solace in more manual, artful practices that take us out of ourselves and produce something beautiful and useful.”

 

For us here at Canopy Press, it is great to witness the revival of heritage culture in contemporary society. Investing in artisanal or handcrafted items is becoming far more appealing than supporting the mass-produced, “throwaway” culture that has been dominating the world. Buying from crafters (or creating your own items!) also offers a welcome alternative to the stories of the sometimes appalling working conditions experienced by the employees of faceless corporations.

In our first publication, Forge & Carve, eighteen talented crafters from around the world share their passion and motivations which turn their art into a sustainable living. As these centuries-old skills have been handed down through generations, we want to continue passing this valuable knowledge on, especially in these hectic modern times where we feel we need it most.

We wanted to share a little preview with you before Forge & Carve goes to pre-order on 20th August.

Coming soon!

Based in Worcester, UK, we are lucky enough to be next door to what seems to be a heritage crafts hot spot – the green county of Herefordshire. This meant we had the chance to meet a few of our contributors in person. We had a wonderful day with Ben and Lois Orford in their stylish workshop with stunning views, talking craft over tea and cake. Peter Faulkner was also a treat to meet, pulling our leg at every turn or suddenly stopping in his tracks to recite some poetry or sing a folk song. What stood about about each of them – and each of the contributors in the book – was their enthusiasm for their craft and their willingness to share. It was infectious, we ended both days wanting to go home and start crafting!

Meet our crafters and learn the stories behind their work. Clockwise from left to right: Lois Orford – Leather worker (image © 3dtotal.com Ltd); Simon van der Heijden – Bow maker (image © Renske de Kinkelder); Peter Faulkner – Coracle maker (image © 3dtotal.com Ltd); Franz Josef Keilhofer – Woodturner (image © Herzflimmen – Nadine Schachinger); May Tove Lindås – Basket maker (image © Anne Siri)

“I feel like the luckiest man in the world to be able to do what I love, to express myself in my creations, and to even earn a living while doing it” – Forge & Carve contributor John Neeman, Autine Tools

 

From blacksmithing and basket making to spoon carving and shoe making, Forge & Carve offers insights and practical advice on a wide range of traditional crafts so that our readers may just find that creative outlet, connection to nature, or escape from modern life that they were looking for. Each chapter shares how and why a crafter began their journey in their trade, and the challenges they face in the twenty-first century.

Inner pages of the book. Clockwise from top left: chapters by Ben Orford; Franz Josef Keilhofer; Mitch Iburg; Carréducker

These crafts may have been around for centuries, but there are still endless opportunities to explore (and things to make!). Whether that’s forging a new hobby or carving out a career, we urge you to join us on our mission of preserving these crafts while preserving your own well-being.

We would like to thank all of Forge & Carve’s contributors for sharing their stories and showing us what is possible.

Some of the crafts explored in the book. Clockwise from top left: © Éamonn O’Sullivan; © Louie Sal-long; © Yoav Elkayam; © Anne Siri; © Carréducker