The Best Kind of Review


Courtesy: Oldwolf Workshop

I have been following some of the buzz going around about M&T since its release. Although there are a few folks that were hoping the magazine would have been something other than what it is, I would have to say that 95% of what I’ve seen people saying is very positive. For that I am very grateful.

There are also some official reviews that have been published. These are good for folks that have never heard of it and need an introduction. They assess the value of the publication and give a final thumbs up or thumbs down. I find they generally approach the task in a distanced and clinical way. At times, the legitimate desire for objectivity forbids the reviewer’s heart to engage in the discussion.

Then there is a whole other sort of buzz that interests me much more. Because I’ve designed Mortise & Tenon to be an interactive experience, I wanted to lay out some challenges and encourage folks to try these things out and contribute to the discussion. Derek at Oldwolf Workshop has done exactly that. After a very kind endorsement, Derek demonstrates exactly what I hoped to stir in readers: a deep reflection on how pre-industrial techniques are relevant to our work today. Derek writes, “Intentional or not, I caught a theme that hung like a string of lights from cover to cover. Over again I read about the indelible marks left behind by the craftsmen on the work they created. Not a stamp or signature but the marks of a plane, the cut of a dovetail, and the nailing of a batten. All silent signatures left by men screaming across centuries "I was here. I made this.”… It makes me pause and wonder, what fingerprints I leave behind? What telltale marks or habits distinguish my work?”

Seeing this kind of interaction with M&T is the best kind of “review” I could read. Anytime I can see this publication pierce beneath the gray matter and settle into a reader’s heart, I am honored. I would consider that success.


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