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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  203 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In this contemplative short narrative, artist and acclaimed writer Sara Baume charts the daily process of making and writing, exploring what it is to create and to live as an artist.

A short, elegant piece that encompasses images and is itself a significant artifact, handiwork will offer more of the beautiful prose and extraordinary versatility you’ve come to expect from Sa
Paperback, 232 pages
Published March 25th 2020 by Tramp Press
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful miniature, this is a poignant personal reflection on the creative process, losing a parent, birds and the relative values of art and craft. Baume's first non-fiction book is just as impressive as A Line Made by Walking.

The book is a lot shorter than its page count would suggest, as there is a lot of white space. The chapters are divided by pictures of model birds that Baume created using painted plaster and wooden dowel rods. They explore her life and working environment as an artist
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quiet and lovely, a book I thoroughly admire. A life-affirming narrative about art, the creative process, loss, and daily practices. A reminder to notice; to observe your daily birds. Sara Baume is always worth reading and listening to. As always, her perception and interpretation of the world is exquisite. Thanks to Sara Baume and Tramp Press for yet another beautiful read.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, 2020
Almost three years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to resign from my job in the HR department of a large IT company and instead focus (pun intended) on my real passion, photography. I know I am in an enviable position: I get to spend every day doing what I love whilst not needing that activity to make money.

What I most enjoy about this new way of life is the chance to be creative. Indeed, in the three years in which I have concentrated on my photography, I can easily look back and see how
Emily O’Dowd
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A quiet, beautiful work of non-fiction, I will return to passages of this book over and over again. So many beautiful images and thoughts, all of which are very relevant in this time of quiet, of noticing the "daily birds" and of grief. This is the first of Sara Baume's books i've read, but I'm looking forward to reading her fiction now. The photos within the book of her artwork are beautiful as well, and fit in perfectly. She referred to it at the Cuirt festival this year as "barely a book" but ...more
My first read of Sara Baume, having decided to read this work of creative nonfiction before trying her fiction. I stumbled across this after reading the excellent A Ghost In The Throat published by the same Tramp Press, so I bought it hoping for a similar experience.

Handiwork is a pure joy to read, it's a small book, with often only a paragraph on a page, it had a beautifully thought out structure, referencing a number of different texts that the author, who is an artist, a craftswoman clearly h
Paul Fulcher
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Now longlisted for the Rathbone Folio Prize

I have always be felt caught between two languages, though I can only speak in one.

The one I can speak goes down on paper and into my laptop, in the hours before noon. The one I cannot speak goes down in small painted objects, in the hours after.

After the success of her wonderful novel A Line Made by Walking, Sara Baume (as she told the Irish Timess) no longer felt compelled either to write or to continue to pursue the conventional career path of a wri
Ronan Hession
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Handiwork by Sara Baume is a beautiful piece of writing about the habit of art, of noticing. Perfectly-weighted sentences, flawlessly punctuated. She just knows what's interesting. This a book I'll read a hundred times in the years ahead. A collection of short reflections - if that's the right word for writing so alive and spontaneous - about the domesticity of art; its making; its setting; its independence. ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
‘Handiwork’ is Sara Baume’s first non-fiction work. In this book, she reflects on her daily work as an artist, on time and on nature and on her home. She contemplates habit, and the daily flow of life, of both the author herself and other people close to her. The style of ‘Handiwork’ reminded me of her novel ‘A line made by walking’ which felt reflective of life and habit in the same manner. I loved how this book invites the reader to reflect on the text in the way it is presented on the pages, ...more
Steve Ellerhoff
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
She's done it again! This book is an exquisite addition to Sara Baume's already impressive written accomplishments, a nonfiction gift to all of us out here who make things and wonder about our drive to do so. Her first book-length work of nonfiction, it applies to the artistic process her knack for acute observations that open with expansive implications. Such a present this book is for her fellow artists. I imagine it's the sort of read that would prove beneficial for those who don't create, as ...more
Caoimhe White
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
And with that, I have completed my 2021 reading challenge.

This was exactly what I hoped it would be: a lovely meditation on the creative process, encompassing its rituals, its preparations, its dissolution of time, its setbacks, its flow. But it was also more than that, touching on how Sara's loss and grief, and fascination with migratory birds, intertwined with the art project she was writing about.

It's definitely not for everyone - some may even find it boring - but I have come to realise tha
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about making. Making in the sense of creating, and in the sense of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the 19th century. Baume's father and grandfather were makers. Her father worked in a quarry and built machinery to do his job. Her grandfather built elaborate railroad displays.

Baume is fascinated by birds, and their migrations. This is also a topic that I am intrigued by. The tiny arctic tern migrates the distance of half the globe twice a year. She creates small wooden sculptures
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In between psychological thrillers and sagas, historical fiction and romance, a book like Sara Baume's 'handiwork' is a balm to the soul. A gentle flowing short narrative mix about life and art, creation and creating. Down to the brass tacks of it, making things from scratch, the idea, the vision, the project, and then living amidst it all, every day, finding beauty in each fabric, raw material; finding meaning in each tiny finished piece. I loved this book, its meanderings, its freedom, its nat ...more
May 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Braine
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wee book that's a kind of love song for those who have an urge to create so strong that it's as natural as the migratory instinct of birds. I'm totally jealous of her life. All I want to do with my time is to consume and produce art. I would love to be able to make a living from that. ...more
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting little read, it paints an insight in to how the writer goes about her craft and how simple affairs of family and daily life can influence her thought process. I look forward to her next novel as she continues to mature in text and thought.
Shailee Basu
Can't say I loved it in its entirety, but I did love some parts! ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
Part reflections on making and creating, part grief, part songbirds—all subtle and tender and poignantly beautiful. Sara Baume is one of my favorite writers working today.
Bart Van Overmeire
I'm in love with Sara Baume's writing. ...more
read for uni
Catriona Shine
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
What a gem! An invaluable insight into Sara Baume’s creative everyday life: a life intensely lived.
Dee Courtney
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful and unexpected. I could read it again and again and again. Sara Baume is a stunning writer.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful meditation on the flow and creation of art within an artists world.
Anne Cunningham
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sara Baume’s first non-fiction book is a slim little volume about the making of art. It’s also about grief and about the daily minutiae of living and creating, about writing and crafting, about work and responsibility. And it’s about holding ourselves accountable for the time we have been gifted. It’s small and sometimes stark and unfalteringly beautiful.
“I have always felt caught between two languages, though I can only speak in one” she writes. “The one I can speak goes down on paper and into
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a deeply beautiful book. I read both of Baume's novels, and loved them both. I met her once in Galway and found her to be insightful. When I heard she'd written a non-fiction book about art and life I wasn't sure what to expect, other than that the prose would be lyrical and affecting. It certainly is those things and more. The writing is sort of a blend of prose-poem, memoir, philosophy, and nature writing. I'm a naturist myself, with birds as the aspect of nature with which I'm most en ...more
Tanya Farrelly
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
A meditation on the art of creating and a reflection on the importance of objects, places, people, and the compulsion to produce, Handiwork is a joy to read. I loved Baume's minute observations and the concise language she uses to draw us into her workspace. The analogies with birds, with nesting and flight are thought-provoking and well-placed in terms of considering the artist's journey, not only during the making of this particular exhibition, but in a much broader sense. ...more
Taylor Allgeier-Follett
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very lyrical and reflective prose, with a clear and engaging style. I really enjoyed reading this book, although it was difficult to find time to read it because the subject matter and prose seem to almost demand a certain peaceful environment and clear mind to fully concentrate and read it as it deserves to be read.
Frances Wilde
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful revery on crafting and being. I do love a William Morris quote.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely enthralling. Warning to all of those who have lost a parent too soon: you will weep.
Rob Brennan
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book will be a benchmark going forward in how I approach my creative process when playing music. Thank you Sara for a fresh perspective.
Daisy Dee
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it
satisfying, privileged, organised.
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Sara Baume is an Irish novelist.
Her father is of English descent while her mother is of Irish descent. As her parents travelled around in a caravan, Sara Baume was born "on the road to Wigan Pier". When she was 4, they moved to County Cork, Ireland. She studied fine art at Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design and creative writing at Trinity College, Dublin from where she was awarded her MPhil.

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