Handmade

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A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making

Title: Handmade

Author: Anna Ploszajski

Year: 2021

Summary:Anna Ploszajski is a materials scientist who decides to go back to the ancient roots of material making, forging and manipulation. Comparing and enhancing her lab based scientific approach to the hands on feel and create approach to better understanding the materials that surround us and have such an effect on how we interact with the world around us. She learns from the trial-and-error wisdom of generations of experts in clay, sugar, steel, glass, paper and more. From atomic structures to theories about magnetic forces, scientific progress has given us a good grasp on the properties of many different materials. However, most scientists cannot measure the temperature of steel just by looking at it, or sculpt stone into all kinds of shapes, or know how it feels to blow up a balloon of glass. Handmade is the story of materials through making and doing. Author and material scientist Anna Ploszajski journeys into the domain of makers and craftspeople to comprehend how the most popular materials really work. Along the way, Anna builds a fuller picture of materials and their place in society, as well as how they have intersected with her own life experiences – from land racing on American salt flats to swimming the English Channel. Handmade affords us a new understanding of the materials we encounter every day and an appreciation for the skills needed to fashion them into objects that are perfectly formed for the jobs they do.

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