By The Hands of Men

Issue 10 Editor's Letter

Editor's letter by Andrew Trotter

I’ve always had a bone to pick with myself, of why I don’t use my hands more. I keep saying I want to make my own furniture, form ceramics and have a workshop stocked with tools. It seems like a new year’s resolution, that each December I realise I still haven’t got around to starting. I know I can do these things, I’m quite pragmatic, and it doesn’t take me long to learn the tricks of the trade but, when will I find the time?

So, with quite a hint of jealousy, and an abundance of admiration, I enjoy meeting people who use their hands, and craft beautiful objects, furniture and art. In this issue we meet a group of men, who, through their own hands, creatively express beauty.

Spending the day with Benoit Pierre Emery, you learn what working with passion really means. Tableware and scarf designer for Hermès for many years now, Benoit Pierre can’t stop drawing; that manual dexterity shows in the precision of each detail. Obsessed by design, he talks us through his collection of 10,000 vintage scarves, that soon will become a book. In the heights of the Peruvian Andes, chef/restauranteur Virgilio Martínez decided to go back to the roots of his country to re-discover edible plants that only grow at certain altitudes. Set near three large craters, where the Incas are believed to have experimented with food, Mil Centro, more of a laboratory than restaurant, is the setting where he can really use his hands to introduce people to the high altitude food ecosystem of Peru.

Inspired by her father’s legacy even while creating her own, we spend the weekend with Mira, who takes us into the world of George Nakashima, woodworker, where the highest level of the furniture making tradition is nourished and expanded.  The Pole Barn, still containing pieces of wood selected by George, is part archive of his design language and part working materials storeroom. It is both touchstone for Mira and the workshop and a revelation for visitors.

We invite you to join us as we visit these contemporary makers, exceptional architecture of past generations, consider community-building hospitality, and explore creative restorations and magical site-responsive dwellings. Run your hands across thick, smoothly-planed slabs of knotted wood, try to catch the ephemeral fluidity of silk, or pick through brittle wild vines and seeds (At least this is what I’m telling myself!)