Posted on

New book: Intelligent Hands

Quickthorn are pleased to announce a new book for this autumn, Intelligent Hands: Why making is a skill for life.

The intelligent hands of artist Cleo Mussi photo: Carmel King

Intelligent Hands is the work of authors Charlotte Abrahams and Katy Bevan, both of whom have a background in the world of craft and design. Recent years have seen a decline in craft and creative education in schools and a shift from practical to theoretical learning models in higher education. Young people are leaving school with no idea that craft-based careers are even possible, and graduates of craft-based degree courses are entering the workplace with so few hand skills that their employers must train them from scratch. 

Where did the idea come from that white-collar work should be rewarded more with money and status than that of a blue-collar worker? Intelligent Hands looks at this phenomenon, the historical precedents that led us here and why hand skills are crucial in education and for lifelong learning. 
The authors are on a mission to enlighten the uninitiated and persuade the nay-sayers who dismiss craft as no more than a nice hobby or believe that doing things with your hands is for those who can’t use their heads. And for the converted, we offer more grist to your mills, ammunition for funding applications, inspiration for those who plan school curricula and further reading for your speciality. 

Intelligent Hands brings existing research and information together in an accessible format for those for those who don’t have time to trawl through all the information that is already out there. With a brief look at the history of practical education, we have collated some of the research that has been done in disparate fields to show that combining physical ways of learning with the conceptual in education is the way forward. 
We include the personal stories of ten people who have discovered that working with their hands has improved their quality of life. Through the three sections of the book, we look at how physical labouring became separated from academic study, how we became divorced from the materials that surround us and the important role that the crafts and creativity play in education, not just for the lower streams, but for everyone. In short, how making is a skill for life. 

Intelligent Hands will be published in September 2023. To find out about our latest news and events please sign up for the newsletter below. We don’t get around to posting very often so you won’t be inundated with emails 😊



Posted on

Book events coming up

We’ve had a busy few weeks with some great book events. It’s been so good to make contact with real people. For the many who couldn’t get tickets to hear Freddie Robins and Celia Pym at Loop, there is a film of the whole thing, so grab a cup of tea and settle in for a listen. If you have any more questions for Celia and Freddie, just drop me a line. There’s lots more planned so sign up to the newsletter and follow on Instagram to be the first to know.

1 December
The authors of When Words are Not Enough: Creative responses to grief, Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds, will be in conversation with Sophie Pierce, one of the contributors to the book. Sophie lost her son Felix and talks about how she has managed to carry through cold-water swimming and the letters she writes to him. Dartington Trust Bookshop, Totnes, Devon. 1 Dec, 6pm More information and booking here.

Sophie Pierce Photo: Dan Bolt

2 December
Celia Pym, author of On Mending: Stories of damage and repair, will be online hosted by the lovely Tatter Library in Brooklyn, New York. Discussing individual stories from the book, she will explore mending as small acts of care; mending and the body and why the softening of clothing to take on the shape of its owner can be moving. After the talk Celia and Jordana Martin from Tatter will be in conversation about care and repair in textiles and the body. More information and booking here.

Elizabeth’s Cardigan, mended by Celia Pym
Judith Kleinman at Ink84, North London

4 December
Finding Quiet Strength has been highlighted by Juno Magazine as one of their top picks for Christmas books to gift. It’s such a beautiful hardback object.
Author Judith Kleinman will be at Highbury bookshop Ink84 to give an introduction to Finding Quiet Strength, the philosophy that underpins her new book. Bring your yoga mat to get involved. Sunday 4 Dec, 11am. More information and booking here. Judith will also be hosting a longer residential retreat at Hawkwood College, Stroud, 20–22 January. Something to look forward to. More information and booking here.

Posted on

Talking about grief

Jane Harris, Jimmy Edmonds and Dr Kathryn Mannix
talking about grief
Talking about grief

We’re not often comfortable talking about death and grief, so we’re delighted that ‘When Words are Not Enough’ is part of Stroud Book Festival that this year includes luminaries such as Ali Smith and Ian McEwan. Authors Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds will be talking about their experience of bereavement and how they responded to it with foreword writer, Dr Kathryn Mannix, bestselling author of ‘Listen’ and ‘With the End in Mind’.
When Words are Not Enough will be launching as part of the Good Grief Festival, with an online event 28 Oct, 6.30pm. The Good Grief Festival is a virtual festival of love and loss. On October 28 and 29 Oct, their first mini-festival will take place on the theme of Grief + Memory.

The book includes the stories of thirteen other bereaved people and how their creativity helped them to survive. We’ve had such lovely reviews about the book, so don’t just take our word for it.

‘The word I keep coming back to with this book is beautiful, not a word I would usually associate with grief. But this book is rich in detail and compassion, it is authoritative and kind. Through their immense loss and pain Jane and Jimmy have done an extraordinary thing and redefined grief as love turned inside out. They make grief less scary. I have not read a better book on grief.’ Annalisa Barbieri, The Guardian

When Words are Not Enough offers that rarest of bereavement resources – a visual and verbal feast and a sustained look into the heart of grief that both acknowledges the raw anguish of tragic loss and invites the reader to share a fascinating and varied gathering of responses to it. I recommend it highly to all those who mourn, and all those who strive to accompany them through the experience.’ Prof Robert Neimeyer, Director, Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Pick up a copy of the book and get it signed, for yourself or as a gift for someone you may be supporting. Book tickets for 5 Nov 2022, 3.30 Lansdown Hall, from the Sub Rooms or through the link below.

Posted on

When words are not enough

Everyone grieves for someone at some point in their lives. But how do we deal with the silence that often surrounds grief?  How do we find ways to express painful feelings when words are not enough?  In this deeply personal and beautiful reflection on grief Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds draw on their own experience of loss, and how the death of their son Josh has led to a creative response that is more than word bound. It also tells the story of thirteen other bereaved people who have found a creative response to their grief. 

The nature of grief
Here’s author Jane Harris talking with Dr Elaine Kasket, author of All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data, in a lovely down-to-earth way, about the nature of grief and how you don’t think you’ll be able to cope, but usually you don’t have a choice, so you have to get on with it. 

Jane and Jimmy’s new book, When Words are Not Enough: Creative responses to grief, explores the myriad creative ways that the bereaved find to express their loss. With a foreword by Dr Kathryn Mannix and contributions from thirteen other bereaved people. There have been some generous endorsements for the book too, so don’t just take my word for it. Published 5 Oct 22.

‘In the absence of any collective rituals or words with which to express their loss, this wonderful and very personal book offers those who find themselves in an agonising wilderness of grief, a kind of creative map to find a way out of the isolation.’ Juliet Stevenson

When Words are Not Enough shows us that searing loss isn’t necessarily the end, but a possible beginning.’ 
Greg Wise

‘Such an inspiring book – full of moving stories of people who have found active ways to respond to their grief, from photography through to (my favourite) cold-water swimming.  Jane and Jimmy’s ten ‘lessons learned’ about the loss of their child wisely reject any idea of ‘moving on’ or ‘closure’.  Indeed, this beautifully designed creation is itself an example of what the book is all about.  Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

This is a book about sorrow, yet it is brimming with hopeThis is a book about loss, but it overflows with love and generosity.’  Dr Kathryn Mannix