In 1974, I hadn’t yet learned to read. I didn’t know what I was missing. Two books with a similar theme were published in that year, and they are both gems. Both involve married couples traveling thousands of miles to explore the crafts and daily lives of vanishing cultures. They documented, through words and beautiful photographs, the way in which natural materials were used to sustain and enrich the lives of the people they met. These are books that inspire not only with their display of craft, but also with their deep respect for cultures around the world.
If I haven’t convinced you to consider finding an old copy, here are a few samples from each to entice you:
This is a journey to rural villages and farmlands, down dirt roads and up mountainsides, into houses of stone, adobe or wood that are the homes of the people of the land. Most important, it is a journey into their lives — we want to know how they live, what grows in their fields and gardens, about their barns and kitchens.
— Drew and Louise Langsner, Handmade (1974 – Harmony Books)
The work of most artisans is a total involvement of mind and body. Many have found that two hands alone are not enough. They use as much of their bodies as possible.
— Christopher Williams, The Craftsmen of Necessity (1974 – Vintage Books)
So….time for me to put on some Jim Croce and revisit these books.