Books For January

The dead zone of winter, that’s what I term the first six weeks of the new year. It’s too snowy, too dark, too wet, and absolutely too cold for many of the activities I enjoy. The basement shop is a cheery forty (Fahrenheit), and the greenhouse carving shop barely hovers at 34 most days. So not much carving is done unless there is an order to be finished ASAP.

So these are the weeks that I plan prototypes of carvings and read. I try to focus on something new to me or a potentially helpful tangent. So this month’s reading list includes a book by a friend of mine, Barbara Merry of the Marlinspike Artist, and The Pocket Universal Principles of Design.

Barbara’s book is full of knots and projects for knot tying. I have no intention of becoming a marlinespike artist, but I’ve found that little knowledge goes to waste, and the best time to acquire it is before you have an immediate need for it.

The book on design principles covers things you may never have thought about – apparent motion, the 80/20 rule, and the IKEA Effect. 

It’s essential to get a bit out of your field every once in a while. And an otherwise slow period is an excellent time to do it; there are no excuses you can offer for not exploring a bit.


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