By Peter Forbes
A tale of friendship, encouragement, and the hunt to layout a greater world
A guy aside is the story—part relations memoir and half biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow's longtime friendship with invoice Coperthwaite (A hand-crafted Life), whose strange lifestyles and fierce beliefs helped them research and comprehend their own.
Coperthwaite encouraged many by way of dwelling with reference to nature and towards modern society, and was once frequently in comparison to Henry David Thoreau. very like Helen and Scott Nearing, who have been his associates and mentors, Coperthwaite led a 55-year-long "experiment in residing" on a distant stretch of Maine coast. There he created a domicile of wood, multistoried yurts, a sort of structure for which he was once recognized all over the world. Coperthwaite additionally embodied a philosophy that he known as "democratic living," which was once approximately empowering each person to have corporation over their lives that allows you to create a greater group.
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Additional info for A Man Apart. Bill Coperthwaite's Radical Experiment in Living
The first thing I noticed about Bill’s being gone was that our energy, unbounded by the lack of his presence, seemed so different than his. I had to leave the Library Yurt and walk down to the quiet rhythms of the receding tide at Mill Pond. Sarah noticed this, too, and talked the next morning above his pine box about how the big old yurt finally stopped creaking and popping with all our activity and came to a rest. And then, only then in the deep quiet, did she feel Bill. Sarah reflected on the difference between our experience that one night of a crowd of us, talking, shifting, asking questions of each other, speculating, all our scattered energy bouncing off every curved wall, and what Bill experienced for the far majority of his eighteen thousand nights in that yurt: the slow coming on of dusk, the crackling of a fire, the turning of a single page, the silence of a shooting star racing across the dark night sky.
On his desk was often a melee of various papers and projects, clippings from articles he’d been reading, lists of projects and research to do, and jotted quotes from books. He did a lot of cutting and pasting as well as drawing. Above his desk in a little slot made of bent copper bands fastened between two ceiling boards were his fine Japanese scissors, and next to them his old drawing compass with its tiny pencil kept shaved to a perfect point. On his desk was his roll of cello tape, not in the usual plastic holder but in a sturdy wooden one he had made, to me emblematic of Bill’s unique ability to see even the most ordinary of objects as a call to think about better design, a higher aesthetic, to pay attention to the way the world was made, how we use it, and why.
As an editor I found it satisfying to have a hand in helping him publish his book, A Handmade Life, but most of what I wanted to learn from him had to do with my hands. More recently I had started to ask him questions about design—how he designed, what he thought about when he sought to create something where beauty and utility were aligned, what appealed to him in native artifacts and handcrafts, what made something feel authentic, what was beauty and proportion. Those conversations were opening doors in my mind.