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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lavishly illustrated, sumptuous coffee-table book
I only saw one of the BBC Mastercrafts programs that this book accompanies, however that isn't important as the book only makes fleeting references to the programs and is in addition to the programs, it doesn't repeat them.
Whilst the TV programs concentrated on novices learning each of the crafts the book concentrates on the history and follows a practitioner of...
Published on 20 April 2010 by L Williams

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photography
This book describes, over 250 pages, the history of England's traditional building skills. It covers stonework, thatching, woodwork, glass making, metalwork and weaving, and compliments the BBC TV series of the same name.

There must be around 400 beautiful photo's in this book, which really convey the intricacy and detail of each of the skills.

I'm...
Published on 22 Jan 2011 by Mike J


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lavishly illustrated, sumptuous coffee-table book, 20 April 2010
By 
L Williams "les-williams" (Exeter) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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I only saw one of the BBC Mastercrafts programs that this book accompanies, however that isn't important as the book only makes fleeting references to the programs and is in addition to the programs, it doesn't repeat them.
Whilst the TV programs concentrated on novices learning each of the crafts the book concentrates on the history and follows a practitioner of each of the crafts. The crafts are:-
Metalwork
Woodwork
Stonework
Thatching
Glassmaking
Weaving
Each craft is beautifully illustrated with copious photographs.
The book has a comprehensive list of Trade Bodies, suppliers, practitioners and Training Courses.
It is difficult to define who this book will appeal to, it is essentially a "coffee-table book" to dip into from time to time. Being born in the 50s I did Metalwork and Woodwork at school so I've used a forge, cast metal and turned wood on a lathe so I know how satisfying that can be. I also did a day course on stained-glass making which is highly enjoyable, my wife and I have two stained-glass plaques which hang in our windows! If this book provides the initial inspiration to go out and try one of the crafts, then that's not a bad thing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book to go alongside the TV series, 15 April 2010
By 
A. J. Parkes "sekrapa" (Dudley, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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I liked watching the series on TV, to see how the crafts that were once the way of life for the whole village have all but disappeared with the onslaught of modernistation and technology.

If you have not seen the TV series, there are the crafts of metalwork, woodcraft, stonework, thatching, glass making and weaving where 3 people want to learn the trade. They have 6 weeks to learn the trade from a master crafter and at the end they are judged on their end results. This book goes nicely with the series. Some of the pictures in the book show the trainees and there is a more detailed story about the master crafter.

I found this book to be quite compelling in places, especially when it told the story of how the crafts were in the past and showed photos of the different places as examples of the crafts. However, I thought that the book could have offered a bit more than what it did.

So, overall, a great accompanying book that lacks the finer details of the crafts in talks about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful view into the work of true masters of their art, 11 April 2010
By 
Paolo Sammut - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship

This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in craftsmanship and the work which practitioners of these skills follow to produce the beautiful objects which we see. In this day and age a lot of people are fearing that these valuable skills are being eroded and lost to modern industrial manufacture so I think that books such as this are vital in that they say that these skills are not lost and any one of us can study and practice and learn these for ourselves, not necessarily as a money making exercise (although that is possible) but simply because these bring satisfaction and wholeness to the human spirit. Speaking as an IT person I have gained more enjoyment and satisfaction in the simple wood-work projects I have undertook than anything i have ever done with computers.

The book focuses on six main areas of craftsmanship; Stonework, Thatching, Woodwork, Glassmaking. Metalwork and Weaving. Together these form a very wide band of experise which whilst lost to
modern day living is most definitely not lost in terms of the fact the people to this day practice this skills in the traditional and beautiful ways of old England producing beautiful work which will last.

Each chapter in the book follows more-or-less the same format, first discussing the raw-material from which the art and practice descends. So with woodwork we discuss forests, then trees amd what trees grow in different forests in the UK. From here there is a long discussion on the traditional tools used to work such words. So we can read about tools such as the adze and saw pits; which are a far cry from modern tools available from Homebase. I am always awed by the mastery some people show when they can carve or make such wonderful things using hand-tools when others (such as I) have to work so hard using electric tools to achieve a less than perfect effect.

Moving on from the wood and the tools to work the wood (or the equivilent for other crafts) we need to understand what techniques exist to work the wood. Thus with wood we begin to learn about the various broad categories of skill needed to work; these are the different classes of skill needed to turn the raw material into an object of desire.

Each chapter also features an interview with a Master-crafts man. These are all with people who have spent decades practicing the work and show some of the things they are capable of doing with such skills. These are often all people like any of us who live a tiresome life in the rat-0race and dream of escaping to a simpler less burdened and much more fulfilled life. This is vital is it shows us the first step in understanding that we can make a living doing these things; and to help us do this there is a list of resources.

Speaking as someone who sadly missed the TV series, I think that this well-produced book would make an excellent present for anyone interested the above subjects. It is readable and informative and illustrated with copious photographs which show the depth of research understaken for this book.

Really really recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mastercrafts, 7 April 2010
By 
Mr. B. W. Haynes "b & e haynes" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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This book is an interesting summary of disappearing crafts of the British Isles, each craft is outlined with some practical background from experts in each of the crafts together with a detailed history of each. Illustrations are detailed and interesting, particularly if you have watched the BBC programmes. I found that there was no stuffiness about the writing which is relaxed and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traditional Crafts, 5 April 2010
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
This is a fabulous book for dipping into. It's full of interesting information about traditional crafts that are in danger of being lost to us. If it inspires anyone to take up any of these skills then the author's work will not have been in vain. I hesitated to get a copy as I haven't seen the tv series but am glad I now own this book. It's a delight to both read and browse through.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book, 20 Mar 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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I must admit that when I had the chance to get this book for free I wasn't originally going to get it. I have watched some of the tv series that this book accompanies, but I thought that the book would just be all about the series. When I happened to mention that I had been offered this to my mum she immediately asked if I could get it for her. Of course before passing it on I had to read it otherwise I couldn't have written a review.

This book is informative and I must admit I found it very interesting (I am wondering whether to keep it for myself and buy another copy for my mum). Illustrated throughout with some wonderful photographs there is more than enough to keep you interested. Don't worry like I did that this may just be full of stills from the tv series, there are only a few, and it isn't about the people having a go at the skills for the first time. This book delves deeper into the crafts shown on the tv, with a more deeper look into the subjects. For instance there is a concise discussion on how far the various crafts date back to, with pictures showing arifacts that have been found. Also you can see how these crafts have developed through the many centuries and are still practised and incorporated into today's world.

From using the correct tools to do the job this also explains finding the correct materials, after all there are more than one type of stone and wood for example. One of the programs was about stained glass window making, but the section here is much more exhaustive, it takes a much greater look into the history of glass and how it has developed and covers much more than the series. I am still amazed with the number of times I have passed the studio where the super-talented Sophie Lister Hussain makes her glass windows without realising what went on in the building.

I think that like me you have probably seen glass being blown, thatchers at work, and woodcraft being used in one sense or another, but it is lovely to read about the actual crafts and find out more about them. Also reading this I loved the fact that there were places mentioned that I have actually visited, giving it greater impact.

If you loved the tv seires, then you will go crazy over this book. Also included is a section at the rear where you can find web addresses etc of where you can study the arts mentioned in this book and the series, as well as places of interest where you can see some great examples. If the great William Morris was alive today you would surely see him with this book. Who knows, reading this it may inspire you to do something different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book, 15 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
Definitely one to keep to hand and dip in and out off. I enjoyed the tv series and this book ensures that enjoyment continues.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful photography, 22 Jan 2011
By 
Mike J (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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This book describes, over 250 pages, the history of England's traditional building skills. It covers stonework, thatching, woodwork, glass making, metalwork and weaving, and compliments the BBC TV series of the same name.

There must be around 400 beautiful photo's in this book, which really convey the intricacy and detail of each of the skills.

I'm not a big history buff and I don't possess any manual skills, but I enjoyed the book all the same.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative accompaniment to the series, 24 Nov 2010
This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book before receiving it but I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. As a book to accompany the series it is great, it covers the same areas but is not just a rehash of the information from the programmes. The quality and choice of photographs is also very good, I would put this book in the informative coffee table book category. Well worth a read if you enjoyed the series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into real craftsmanship, 8 Nov 2010
By 
josie82 (Fife, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship (Hardcover)
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This is a really delightful book based on the BBC series of the same name. I had only managed to catch a few of the episodes when they were on the telly but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book at all so I doubt it would matter if you've seen all the tv series or none.

The book concentrates on the masters that featured in the series and the crafts that they are experts in. For each craft it tells you everything you need and want to know about it - how it came about, the history, the techniques and tools used and so much more. Each craft focussed on has its own chapters which are Stonework, Thatching, Woodwork, Glass Making, Metalwork and Weaving.

The pictures in the book are amazing and you could find yourself getting lost just looking at the large amount of them. The text is also fascinating and although when I first started reading I assumed I would like some sections much more than others, I actually was fascinated by every section and craft.

Although this is a book that details the tools and techniques, it is in no way a `how-to' book and you won't be able to copy any of the crafts just from reading the book. That said, there is a fairly extensive list of links and contacts at the back of the book which would help you learn more about whichever craft took your fancy.

Overall, if you, or someone you know, is interested in traditional skills and craftsmanship then this is a book I would recommend. It's fascinating, absorbing and very detailed and I enjoyed reading it. 5 stars.
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Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship
Mastercrafts: Rediscover British Craftsmanship by Tom Quinn (Hardcover - 12 Feb 2010)
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