Blog — John Ruskin RSS

Build For Ever

  I’ve been staring at the rear post of an antique ladderback chair this morning. This might seem like a mindless thing to do, but there’s a lot to engage with here – this chair is more than 150 years old. How many times does a hand have to touch a turned hardwood finial before a flat is worn? How many people have leaned back into that curved top slat after a long day? I wonder about the lathe those posts were turned on – does it survive somewhere, perhaps in pieces in some dusty barn? Who was the maker, and where did they live? Did their shop tools get passed down through the generations, or dispersed through flea markets and...

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The Stones of Venice

We've been on a bit of a John Ruskin kick lately. In Issue Ten, we printed an excerpt from his classic work, The Stones of Venice, in which he extols the virtues of free workmanship. The opening spread of that article (titled "Savageness") might be my favorite ever. As I wrote in the introduction to that excerpt, Ruskin's impact on the world would be hard to overstate. As a brilliant thinker, social critic, and art scholar, Ruskin's ideas shaped cultural reforms in England, India, France, and many other places.  I managed to track down a beautiful, complete set of The Stones of Venice on eBay for less than $50. This is an 1886 edition, published by George Allen. Allen was an early pupil and friend...

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