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Brown Bag Lecture Series

Peter Korn speaks about “Why We Make Things and Why it Matters “

Wednesday, August 20 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: Main Library
Audience: Adults, Seniors

Furniture making, practiced as a craft in the 21st century, is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For woodworker Peter Korn, the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world of one’s own volition—whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace—is exactly what generates the authenticity, meaning, and fulfillment for ows_138869203715874which so many of us yearn so deeply. Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution. This is not a “how-to” book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft, in particular, and the satisfactions of creative work, in general, to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing inquiry.

About the author
Peter Korn is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a non-profit woodworking and design school in Rockport, Maine. A furniture maker since 1974, his work has been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums. In addition to Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman, Korn is the author of several how-to books, including the best-selling Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship (Taunton Press, 2003) and The Woodworker’s Guide to Hand Tools (Taunton Press, 1998). The former has recently been translated and published in both China and South Korea. Korn was born in 1951 and grew up in Philadelphia, where he attended Germantown Friends School and majored in history at the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Series » Art and Authors: A Collaboration between PMA and PPL

This summer, Portland Public Library is teaming up with the Portland Museum of Art for select Brown Bag Lectures to offer three afternoons of literature, art, and discussion. Portland Public Library’s Brown Bag Lecture Series features reading and question-and-answer sessions with authors from Maine and afar. On these select Wednesdays, start at the Library and join the author lectures, then head to the Portland Museum of Art* for free admission and a tour of works that relate to the themes in the books. Conversation continues with tea and cookies at the PMA Café.

6/18: America’s Romance with the English Garden, by Thomas Mickey

7/16: Boon Island: A True Story of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Cannibalism by Andrew Vietze (with Stephen Erickson)

8/20: Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn

*Meet in the Selma Wolf Black Great Hall at the PMA at 1:30pm after the lecture at PPL

About the Series » Brown Bag Lecture Series

Portland Public Library’s Brown Bag Lecture Series features bi-weekly reading and question-and-answer sessions with authors from around the nation as well as those who hail from right here in Maine.

All Brown Bag Lectures are free to the public (unless specifically noted as a fundraiser). Because they usually take place over the lunch hour, guests are encouraged to bring their lunch; coffee provided by Coffee By Design. Special thanks to our Brown Bag Lecture Series coffee sponsor, Coffee by Design, and welcome to our new refreshment sponsor, Whole Foods. Books on sale at each lecture courtesy of Longfellow Books, who generously donates a portion of the proceeds to the Portland Public Library. Questions about our Brown Bag Lectures or to be added to our weekly calendar e-mail, please send us an e-mail.