Today is an important day for someone who is important to us. It’s the official publication day for Melanie Falick’s book, Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live. It’s an essential book for knitters, and anyone who feels the deep pull to do handwork of any kind.
The message of this book is right there in the title: we humans are meant to work with our hands. That’s why we find such satisfaction in literal handcrafts like knitting, of course, but also in fixing a dripping kitchen faucet or dicing a carrot.
Working with our hands makes us feel at home in our bodies and minds, it brings deep contentment. Yet handwork is rarely spoken of in our hyper, technologically driven culture, or when it is spoken of, it’s trivialized as something to occupy spare time, to keep busy if there is nothing more important to do.
Making a Life makes the case for the vital importance of making by hand. The book is also—as an object that itself was crafted, by Melanie—a glorious celebration of the beauty of handmade things and their makers.
For the past three years, we’ve been looking on from the sidelines as Melanie, the creative director and editor of our MDK Field Guide series, traveled widely and constantly, interviewing thinkers and makers, and making things herself in their studios, homes, barns, and workshops. We knew it would be excellent, elevating, and beautiful—we’ve been fans of Melanie since we first laid eyes on her early gift to the craft of knitting, her book Knitting in America—but we had no idea what to expect. The topic is so broad, and so deep. What words and images would Melanie gather to make her case?
Melanie had me on the first page, with a quote from author Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
This is a statement that makes me feel good when I’m knitting, or putting a pie into the oven, and haunts me when I’m looking at my phone instead of making contact with another human, or even just looking at the world through the bus window. But it’s an excellent point, isn’t it?
It’s a gorgeous book, with photographs by the brilliant Rinne Allen that take us into these makers’ spaces, worlds, and lives, with immediacy and beautifully observed detail. The featured makers include quilters and woodworkers, knitters and welders, and many others. Here’s a peek at what you’ll find inside.
African American Quilt Guild of Oakland.
Keiko Hirosue and the Brooklyn Shoe Space.
Get Your Copy!
We love Making a Life so much that we are carrying it in the MDK Shop. It’s one of the best gifts we can think of, for yourself and for anyone who longs for more meaningful days, and lives.
Congratulations to our cherished editor and dear friend Melanie, on this achievement on behalf of making and makers, and also on Making a Life being selected for the Publishers Weekly list of the best books of 2019. It’s so well deserved, and we are bursting our buttons.
Why Is Making by Hand Important to You?
Melanie wants to know your story. Why is making by hand important to you?
Melanie’s Book Tour Is Coming To You
Melanie will be all over the country in the coming weeks, so don’t miss to chance to meet her, hear some good conversation, and have her sign your copy of Making a Life.
7 November 2019, 7PM
828 Broadway, New York, NY
In conversation with Lotta Jansdotter, Elsa Mora, and Renate Hiller.
9 November 2019, 5:30PM
The Fabricated & the Found ATELIER
4764 Tolt Avenue, Carnation, WA
10 November 2019, 3PM
A Verb for Keeping Warm
6328 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA
In conversation with Windy Chien, Marie Taylor, Kristine Vejar, and Adrienne Rodriguez.
16 November 2019, 2-4PM
Loop London’s NYC Pop-Up @ Here Now Space
132 Perry Street #2B, New York, NY
12 December, 7PM
Imogene + Willie (with Allison Moorer)
2601 12th Ave. S, Nashville, TN
14 December, 3PM
Drop Forge & Tool @ Hudson Hall
327 Warren St., Hudson, NY
In conversation with Katharine Daugherty.