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Re-reading 'The Wheelwright's Shop'

Bullard, P. (2019) Re-reading 'The Wheelwright's Shop'. In: Olding, S. (ed.) Shoulder to the Wheel. Craft Studies Centre, Farnham, pp. 25-30. ISBN 9780957021297

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At first sight *The Wheelwrights Shop* looks like a how-to book: a manual of handiwork, or a catalogue of mechanical forms and functions. But it contains barely a sentence of direct instruction. What its author George Sturt describes instead is a complex network of relations between craftsmen, animals, landscapes and objects. He shows how these actors are drawn together into a common field of knowledge by human necessity, by human skill, and by human sensation. *The Wheelwright’s Shop* feels so modern today because, while its subject is every-day, its method is oblique. It tells a story, not of technical triumph, but of how Sturt fell short of becoming a master craftsman. In the process of not quite managing to learn his trade, Sturt’s attention was educated into an extraordinary sensitivity to his materials, his place of work, the town it served, and the particular environment of woodland and farm-scape that surrounded it.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:86266
Publisher:Craft Studies Centre

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