It's hard to talk to people about beauty and building. Last fall, a friend of a friend came by to see our house-in-progress. He looked appreciatively at our modest but well-built structure -- which I have been ornamenting by cutting curves in rafter tails and support brackets -- and said, "why are you spending all this time to cut fancy shapes when you have a house to build?" Before I could reply, he said, almost to himself, "Oh, you're an artist," as if that explained otherwise aberrant behavior, like a diagnosis of disease. For years I have taken offense at what felt to me . . .
A review of A Man Apart, Bill Coperthaite's Radical Experiment in Living, by Peter Forbes & Helen Whybrow A Man Apart, Bill Coperthaite's Radical Experiment in Living, by Peter Forbes & Helen Whybrow I met Bill Coperthwaite in 2007. I had recently read his book, A Hand Made Life, and was deeply impressed by his stories and practice, and the way he was trying to live out an answer to questions that, by our denial of them, define our culture: “Can you have ‘culture’ without violence?” “Is beauty useful?” “Are justice, democracy, and peace possible if most all of our . . .
Rusty Orner, of Quiet Creek Farm, in PA, took the idea of insulating an oven floor with recycled beer bottles and applied it to a yurt he was building as a classroom and bunk space for students and interns. On leveled ground, they made a rubble trench, covered with gravel bags and capped with mortar and slate, to support the lattice walls of the yurt. They filled the thirty foot diameter donut with packed shale, a thin layer of sand, and then 5,000 beer bottles. The empty bottles provide four inches of insulation and a thermal break to keep cold from migrating into the floor. Rusty . . .