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From the former director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, a timely and passionate case for the role of the well-designed object in the digital age. Curator and scholar Glenn Adamson opens Fewer, Better Things by contrasting his beloved childhood teddy bear to the smartphones and digital tablets children have today. He laments that many children and adults are losing touch with the material objects that have nurtured human development for thousands of years. The objects are still here, but we seem to care less and know less about them. In his presentations to groups, he often asks an audience member what he or she knows about the chair the person is sitting in. Few people know much more than whether it’s made of wood, plastic, or metal. If we know little about how things are made, it’s hard to remain connected to the world around us. Fewer, Better Things explores the history of craft in its many forms, explaining how raw materials, tools, design, and technique come together to produce beauty and utility in handmade or manufactured items. Whether describing the implements used in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, the use of woodworking tools, or the use of new fabrication technologies, Adamson writes expertly and lovingly about the aesthetics of objects, and the care and attention that goes into producing them. Reading this wise and elegant book is a truly transformative experience.
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