Publication Date: 13/05/2021 ISBN: 9781472971074 Category:


Anna Ploszajski

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 13/05/2021 ISBN: 9781472971074 Category:




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. With knowledge accumulated over generations through hands-on trial and error, these experimenters and tinkerers understand the materiality of objects far better than any scientist with a textbook.

Anna has the fresh perspective of someone at the forefront of the field. Each chapter centres around an everyday material and features Anna’s accounts of learning from masters of their respective crafts. Along the way, she 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. She visits a female blacksmith artist to see, hear, smell and strike steel herself, explores how working with one of the most primal of materials, clay, has brought about some of the most advanced technologies, and delves down to the atomic scale of glass to find out what makes it ‘glassy’. Handmadeaffords 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.

Publisher Review

By meeting with makers and playing with materials, Anna creates a beautiful picture of what these substances really feel like and what they are capable of. This book will make all your senses tingle. * Roma Agrawal, structural engineer and author * This book is a wonderful journey through the art and science of materials... beautifully crafted and very personal. Highly recommended to anyone who loves 'stuff' and is curious enough to want to delve into its inner secrets. * Mark Miodownik, scientist, broadcaster and founder of the Materials Library *

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations
  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible