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We’ve been shortlisted

Intelligent Hands: Why making is a skill for life has been shortlisted for an award for indie publishers by Book Brunch. The announcement will be at the London Book Fair on 12 March and I’ve already booked my train ticket. It’s a long shot or course, but it’s great to be recognised 😊

Meanwhile, Intelligent Hands will be available in the USA from IPG books from 27 February, that’s tomorrow!

We’ve had some great endorsement’s for Rag Manifesto already, this from Kate Fletcher, author of the Craft of Use.
‘This special book deals with the urgent need to find ways of relating with textiles that, instead of contributing to social injustice and environmental degradation, actively contribute to the world. Stories change the future. The stories in this book are already changing things. They are about caring and repairing our places and communities with imagination, action and each other.’ Professor Kate Fletcher, Royal Danish Academy.

The artwork on the front cover is Shoulder Boulder, by Rachael Matthews, woven almost entirely from waste created in the making of socks at a friendly sock factory, Socko.

Rag Manifesto is Published on 1 March, preorder yours now.

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Events coming up

It’s always good to have something to look forward to and there are lots of lovely events happening this spring connected with Intelligent Hands: Why making is a skill for life.

Authors Charlotte Abrahams and Katy Bevan will be talking with Daniel Carpenter of Heritage Crafts at the Dartington Trust Bookshop in Totnes on 8 February

As part of Stroud Film Festival we are talking about Intelligent Hands and showing a number of short films related to craft and making with Paul Harper. Monday, March 4, 2024, 7:30 – 9.30 PM at Victoria Works Studio, London Road Chalford, Stroud GL6 8HN  (map)

We will be at the Craft Festival in Cheltenham on 8 March giving a talk about the book. It’s really worth a trip to see all the great makers and a chance to talk to them directly about their work.

On 7 May we’re both excited to be at the Court Barn museum as part of the Chipping Campden Literature festival along with lots of great writers.

Meet Make & Mend

The next darning session with Katy and Kat in Stroud will be Monday 5 Feb, 7–9pm, so come and join us for sustainable sewing and chat at the Stroud Trinity Rooms, opposite the Hospital on Field Road. We’ll be in the smaller room around the back.

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Book reviews make a difference

So often I read a book because it has been recommended to me by a friend. Occasionally, a book review is so good that I buy the book. If you love a book, do gift it or tell a friend. If you are able to write reviews online or share them on social media, that will help lots of people to choose what’s right for them. It also helps small independent publishers like Quickthorn.

Here’s a few that we’ve had recently for Intelligent Hands: Why making is a skill for life. This book really seems to have hit a nerve, with creatives and teachers particularly and is flying off the shelves. We’ve been reviewed in Juno, Embroidery and Quercus magazines, with articles pending in Resurgence and Cotswold Life.

My favourite review has been on the Art Educator’s blog on the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) website. Lesley Butterworth, former General Secretary of NSEAD writes:
“This beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully researched book will be of interest and help not only to NSEAD members employed in formal education, but to people working in museums, galleries, and the healthcare sector.
To be clear, Intelligent Hands is not a book that offers practical ideas to teach various craft forms. More importantly, this book clearly explains why these skills are important to many people at different stages of their lives. To be clearer still, this is one of the best texts advocating for the value of craft and making skills that I have read.”

How good is that? You can buy our books on , convenient, quick and not Amazon 😉

Embroidery Magazine Nov/Dec 2023

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Reading around craft

Did you know that you can buy our books on, a marvellous innovation over the last couple of years, that is an effective alternative to buying on the more familiar online routes (you know who I mean).

After the marathon of writing and editing Intelligent Hands, I’ve created a reading list of books on that are mentioned in the book. That way, if you’re interested you can find the books and benefit local independent bookshops at the same time. If you click on the links below you’ll see how it works.

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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 😊

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