Last year, during the Lie-Nielsen open house in Warren, Maine, I sat and talked with John Hoffman of Lost Art Press – over a few beers. In our conversation I mentioned to him that one day I would like to write a book on woodcarving. I had thrown this idea around with several people over the previous few months, but never really came to any real solid decision. Maybe it was the beer – maybe it was the beautiful Maine climate – maybe it was John’s profound logic about what makes books successful…
The conversation with John went something like this:
John: What would you like to write about?
John: Yeah, but narrow it down.
Me: I don’t know. There are a lot of beginning carving books out there. I would like to do something more unique and special.
John: Think about that one topic that you are really interested in, the topic that you know a lot about, and the topic where people can sense and see the enthusiasm and love for what you are doing.
Me: Mmmmm… (that’s me thinking)
John: Find that topic, go slightly off the reservation with that topic, and then come back – slightly. (I loved this advice)
Me: Hmmmm… (that’s me thinking some more)
John: Whatever the topic, it needs to be something YOU are definitely interested in and passionate about. Readers will respond to writing that is real. If you’re bored writing it, the readers will be bored reading it.
Me: Yeah… (my mind swimming with ideas)
The conversation ended with my mind considering all the possibilities – a book on basic carving techniques (many good books already out there on this), period furniture carving (already several high quality books out there). But wait… a design I LOVE to carve, I have studied many of them, I have carved many of them, and the varieties of styles are endless, and it is an absolutely beautiful design – the ACANTHUS LEAF!
The possibilities truly are endless. As I prepare the layout of the book, I already have enough different topics and designs to fill a second volume (but I must finish the first one 🙂
At first, I thought it might be too narrow of a topic, maybe too obscure – who really cares about acanthus leaves – really? And who even knows what an acanthus leaf is?
Well, my conclusion was this – it is such a historically significant design – both in architecture and furniture. I really felt an obligation to share the knowledge that I have learned as a traditional woodcarver (and stone carver) to keep this wonderfully traditional design alive.
As I started to imagine the layout of the book, the different techniques I would show, and the vast variety of styles of acanthus leaves, the possibilities seemed almost endless – and yes! I started to get really excited about writing this book!
So I am pleased to say I will be working with Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman of Lost Art Press to publish my first book by fall/winter of 2015. They will be walking me through this adventure (holding my hand?).
When I fall asleep at night I have visions of acanthus leaves dancing in my head!
I’ll be sending periodic email updates about the book.
Follow along as I write my first book.
I will be sending newsletters where I walk people through my experience with this book writing process. Those on the list will get VIP treatment such as opportunities for free things (everybody like FREE things), previews or snippets of part of the book, and opportunities to become involved in the book writing process. Come join in the fun!