Free: Download the The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, The Anarchist’s Design Book, The Anarchist’s Workbench & Other Woodworking Texts

For Christo­pher Schwarz, Amer­i­can anar­chism isn’t “about bombs and leather jack­ets; it’s about being an inde­pen­dent design­er.” It’s about work­ing out­side “mas­sive and dehu­man­iz­ing insti­tu­tions” (like cor­po­ra­tions) and design­ing beau­ti­ful objects that last. He writes: “As a design­er of books, tools and fur­ni­ture, I have zero desire to make things that are intend­ed from the get-go to fall apart.” Based in Cov­ing­ton, Ken­tucky, Schwarz runs a small wood­work­ing busi­ness where he hand­crafts beau­ti­ful tables, chairs and oth­er pieces of fur­ni­ture. He also runs Lost Art Press, which pub­lish­es books like The Anarchist’s Tool ChestThe Anarchist’s Design Book, The Anarchist’s Work­bench, and oth­er titles.

His “Anar­chist” series of books “rep­re­sent a 10-year effort to make wood­work­ing more acces­si­ble, afford­able and eth­i­cal – and less com­mer­cial.” Typ­i­cal­ly the print edi­tions run $30-$54. But, to the delight of many fel­low wood­work­ers, Schwarz has made sev­er­al edi­tions avail­able as free dig­i­tal down­loads. This includes (as of this week) The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, which “shows you how you can build fur­ni­ture with only a small kit of high-qual­i­ty tools. The first half of the book explains in detail how to choose the right tools… The sec­ond half of the book shows you how to build a tra­di­tion­al tool chest to hold these tools.” To find a com­plete list of books avail­able as free down­loads, see the list below.


The Fictional Brand Archives: Explore a Growing Collection of Iconic But Fake Brands Found in Movies & TV

Los Pol­los Her­manos, Madri­gal Elec­tro­mo­tive, Mesa Verde Bank and Trust, Davis & Main: Attor­neys at Law—all of these brands come from the Break­ing Bad/Bet­ter Call Saul uni­verse. They also appear in the Fic­tion­al Brands Archive, a web­site ded­i­cat­ed to “fic­tion­al brands found in films, series and video games.” Tak­ing the brands seri­ous­ly as brands, the site draws on research from a new book writ­ten by Loren­zo Berni­ni enti­tled Fic­tion­al Brand Design. And, with its many entries, the site pro­vides a “com­pre­hen­sive view of each fic­tion­al brand, fram­ing them in their own fic­tion­al con­text and doc­u­ment­ing their use and exe­cu­tion in source work.”

Oth­er notable brands include Acme (Looney Tunes), ATN News (Suc­ces­sion), Dun­der Mif­flin (The Office), Fed­er­al Motor Cor­po­ra­tion (Fight Club), both Grand Budapest Hotel and Mendl’s (Grand Budapest Hotel), and Nakato­mi Cor­po­ra­tion (Die Hard). Enter the Fic­tion­al Brands Archive here.

via Messy­Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent 

A Free Dig­i­tal Archive of Graph­ic Design: A Curat­ed Col­lec­tion of Design Trea­sures from the Inter­net Archive

The Let­ter­form Archive Launch­es a New Online Archive of Graph­ic Design, Fea­tur­ing 9,000 Hi-Fi Images

Down­load 2,000 Mag­nif­i­cent Turn-of-the-Cen­tu­ry Art Posters, Cour­tesy of the New York Pub­lic Library

40 Years of Saul Bass’ Ground­break­ing Title Sequences in One Com­pi­la­tion


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Goethe’s Theory of Colors: The 1810 Treatise That Inspired Kandinsky & Early Abstract Painting

I doubt I need to list for you the many titles of the 18th cen­tu­ry Ger­man savant and poly­math Johann Wolf­gang von Goethe, but allow me to add one or two that were new to me, at least: col­or the­o­rist (or phe­nom­e­nol­o­gist of col­or) and prog­en­i­tor of abstract expres­sion­ism. As a fas­ci­nat­ing Book­tryst post informs us, Goethe’s book on col­or, Zur Far­ben­lehre (The­o­ry of Col­ors), writ­ten in 1810, dis­put­ed the New­ton­ian view of the sub­ject and for­mu­lat­ed a psy­cho­log­i­cal and philo­soph­i­cal account of the way we actu­al­ly expe­ri­ence col­or as a phe­nom­e­non. In his account, Goethe describes how he came by his views:

Along with the rest of the world, I was con­vinced that all the col­ors are con­tained in the light; no one had ever told me any­thing dif­fer­ent, and I had nev­er found the least cause to doubt it, because I had no fur­ther inter­est in the sub­ject.

But how I was aston­ished, as I looked at a white wall through the prism, that it stayed white! That only where it came upon some dark­ened area, it showed some col­or, then at last, around the win­dow sill all the col­ors shone… It did­n’t take long before I knew here was some­thing sig­nif­i­cant about col­or to be brought forth, and I spoke as through an instinct out loud, that the New­ton­ian teach­ings were false.

Schopen­hauer would lat­er write that “[Goethe] deliv­ered in full mea­sure what was promised by the title of his excel­lent work: data toward a the­o­ry of colour. They are impor­tant, com­plete, and sig­nif­i­cant data, rich mate­r­i­al for a future the­o­ry of colour.” It was a the­o­ry, Schopen­hauer admits, that does not “[fur­nish] us with a real expla­na­tion of the essen­tial nature of colour, but real­ly pos­tu­lates it as a phe­nom­e­non, and mere­ly tells us how it orig­i­nates, not what it is.”

Anoth­er lat­er philo­soph­i­cal inter­preter of Goethe, Lud­wig Wittgen­stein—a thinker great­ly inter­est­ed in visu­al perception—also saw Goethe’s work as oper­at­ing very dif­fer­ent­ly than New­ton’s optics—not as a sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ry but rather as an intu­itive schema. Wittgen­stein remarked that Goethe’s work “is real­ly not a the­o­ry at all. Noth­ing can be pre­dict­ed by means of it. It is, rather, a vague schemat­ic out­line, of the sort we find in [William] James’s psy­chol­o­gy. There is no exper­i­men­tum cru­cis for Goethe’s the­o­ry of colour.”

Yet a third lat­er Ger­man genius, Wern­er Heisen­berg, com­ment­ed on the influ­ence of Zur Far­ben­lehre, writ­ing that “Goethe’s colour the­o­ry has in many ways borne fruit in art, phys­i­ol­o­gy and aes­thet­ics. But vic­to­ry, and hence influ­ence on the research of the fol­low­ing cen­tu­ry, has been New­ton’s.”


I’m not fit to eval­u­ate the rel­a­tive mer­its of Goethe’s the­o­ry, or lack there­of, ver­sus New­ton’s rig­or­ous work on optics. Whole books have been writ­ten on the sub­ject. But what­ev­er his inten­tions, Goethe’s work has been well-received as a psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly accu­rate account that has also, through his text and many illus­tra­tions you see here, had sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry painters also great­ly con­cerned with the psy­chol­o­gy of col­or, most notably Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky, who pro­duced his own “schemat­ic out­line” of the psy­cho­log­i­cal effects of col­or titled Con­cern­ing the Spir­i­tu­al in Art, a clas­sic of mod­ernist aes­thet­ic the­o­ry. As is usu­al­ly the case with Goethe, the influ­ence of this sin­gle work is wider and deep­er than he prob­a­bly ever fore­saw.

You can find an afford­able ver­sion of Goethe’s The­o­ry of Col­ors on Ama­zon. Or find scans of the book at

Note: This post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on our site in 2013. We have updat­ed the post with new images and links.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Book of Colour Con­cepts: A New 800-Page Cel­e­bra­tion of Col­or The­o­ry, Includ­ing Works by New­ton, Goethe, and Hilma af Klint

A 900-Page Pre-Pan­tone Guide to Col­or from 1692: A Com­plete Dig­i­tal Scan

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Goethe, Germany’s “Renais­sance Man”

Har­ry Clarke’s 1926 Illus­tra­tions of Goethe’s Faust: Art That Inspired the Psy­che­del­ic 60s

Watch Goethe’s Haunt­ing Poem, “Der Erlkönig,” Pre­sent­ed in an Art­ful Sand Ani­ma­tion

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

180,000 Years of Religion Charted on a “Histomap” in 1943

For many, even most of us mod­erns, the cen­tral reli­gious choice is a sim­ple one: adhere to the belief sys­tem in which you grew up, or stop adher­ing to it. But if you sur­vey the vari­ety of reli­gions in the world, the sit­u­a­tion no longer seems quite so bina­ry; if you then add the vari­ety of reli­gions that have exist­ed through­out human his­to­ry, it starts look­ing down­right kalei­do­scop­ic. Or rather, it looks some­thing like the faint­ly psy­che­del­ic but also infor­ma­tion-rich His­tom­ap of Reli­gion above, cre­at­ed in 1943 by chemist John B. Sparks, whom we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture for his orig­i­nal His­tom­ap depict­ing 4,000 Years of World His­to­ry and his sub­se­quent His­tom­ap of Evo­lu­tion.

The Use­fulCharts video below explains Sparks’ His­tom­ap of Reli­gion in detail, but it also cites his His­tom­ap of Evo­lu­tion, an exam­ple of how his world­view fails to align with cur­rent per­cep­tions of these sub­jects. Even the new­er His­tom­ap of Reli­gion is by now more than 80 years old, dur­ing which time schol­ar­ship in reli­gion and relat­ed fields has made cer­tain dis­cov­er­ies and clar­i­fi­ca­tions that nec­es­sar­i­ly go unre­flect­ed in Sparks’ work. But if you bear this in mind while look­ing at the His­tom­ap of Reli­gion, you can still gain a new and use­ful per­spec­tive on how the beliefs that mankind has held high­est have changed and inter­min­gled over the mil­len­nia.

The chart begins in pre­his­to­ry, divid­ing the then-extant faiths into the cat­e­gories “mag­ic and fetishism,” “tabu and totemism,” “ances­tor wor­ship,” “trib­al gods and divine kings,” “pro­pi­ti­a­tion of nature spir­its,” and “fer­til­i­ty cults.” Though Sparks’ infor­ma­tion may on the whole be “based on the­o­ries about the ori­gins of reli­gion which have now been either reject­ed or at least seri­ous­ly revised,” explains Use­fulCharts cre­ator Matt Bak­er, “the gen­er­al ideas expressed by these six types are still some­what valid.” The expan­sion and con­trac­tion of adher­ence to these types of ear­ly reli­gion through time are reflect­ed by changes in the width of the col­ored columns that rep­re­sent them. Fol­low these columns down­ward through his­to­ry, and new, more famil­iar reli­gions emerge: Tao­ism, Judaism, Hin­duism, Bud­dhism, Chris­tian­i­ty both Catholic and Protes­tant.

There­after come oth­er move­ments and fig­ures per­haps not imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­niz­able as reli­gious in nature: “human­ism,” for exam­ple, whose rep­re­sen­ta­tives include Shake­speare and Rousseau. Lat­er, the ideas of Russ­ian intel­lec­tu­als Vis­sar­i­on Belin­sky and Alexan­der Herzen branch off to become, after about a cen­tu­ry, the “cor­rupt phi­los­o­phy” of com­mu­nism, with its “God-less pro­pa­gan­da” sup­port­ing a “police state aimed at world dom­i­na­tion.” Bak­er objects that, if Sparks counts com­mu­nism as a reli­gion, then sure­ly he should count cap­i­tal­ism as a reli­gion as well. This is a fair-enough point, though behold this dense chart of “cults, faiths, and eth­i­cal philoso­phies” long enough, and you’ll start to won­der if every­thing human­i­ty has ever done isn’t, in some sense, ulti­mate­ly reli­gious in nature.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Ani­mat­ed Map Shows How the Five Major Reli­gions Spread Across the World (3000 BC — 2000 AD)

The Tree of Lan­guages Illus­trat­ed in a Big, Beau­ti­ful Info­graph­ic

Joseph Priest­ley Visu­al­izes His­to­ry & Great His­tor­i­cal Fig­ures with Two of the Most Influ­en­tial Info­graph­ics Ever (1769)

4000 Years of His­to­ry Dis­played in a 5‑Foot-Long “His­tom­ap” (Ear­ly Info­graph­ic) From 1931

10 Mil­lion Years of Evo­lu­tion Visu­al­ized in an Ele­gant, 5‑Foot Long Info­graph­ic from 1931

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

The Cover of George Orwell’s 1984 Becomes Less Censored with Wear & Tear

1984 before

In 2013, Pen­guin released in the UK a series of new cov­ers for five works by George Orwell, includ­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly bold cov­er design for Orwell’s best-known work, 1984. Accord­ing to Cre­ative Review, the design­er, David Pear­son, made it so that the book’s title and Orwell’s name were debossed, then almost com­plete­ly obscured by black foil­ing, leav­ing just “enough of a dent for the title to be deter­mined.” No doubt, the design plays on the whole idea of cen­sor­ship, “ref­er­enc­ing the rewrit­ing of his­to­ry car­ried out by the novel’s Min­istry of Truth.”

Years lat­er, you’ll have dif­fi­cul­ty buy­ing new copies of Pear­son­’s design. They’re in pret­ty short sup­ply. But any­one with a well-worn copy of the book might dis­cov­er what one Red­di­tor has also observed–that the cov­er design “becomes less cen­sored with wear.” Com­pare the “before” image above to the “after” image down below. Was this all part of Pear­son­’s long-range mas­ter plan? Or some­thing of a design flaw? We’ll prob­a­bly nev­er know. But if you’re look­ing for a book that gets bet­ter with age, then this is one to add to your list.

1984 after

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the Very First Adap­ta­tion of George Orwell’s 1984 in a Radio Play Star­ring David Niv­en (1949)

Free Down­load: A Knit­ting Pat­tern for a Sweater Depict­ing an Icon­ic Cov­er of George Orwell’s 1984

George Orwell’s Har­row­ing Race to Fin­ish 1984 Before His Death

Aldous Hux­ley to George Orwell: My Hell­ish Vision of the Future is Bet­ter Than Yours (1949)

Can You Crack the Uncrackable Code in Kryptos, the CIA’s Work of Public Art?

It can be chal­leng­ing to parse the mean­ing of many non-nar­ra­tive art­works.

Some­times the title will offer a clue, or the artist will shed some light in an inter­view.

Is it a com­ment on the cul­tur­al, socio-eco­nom­ic or polit­i­cal con­text in which it was cre­at­ed?

Or is the act of cre­at­ing it the artist’s most salient point?

Are mul­ti­ple inter­pre­ta­tions pos­si­ble?

Artist Jim San­born’s mas­sive sculp­ture Kryp­tos may inspire var­i­ous reac­tions in its view­ers, but there’s def­i­nite­ly a sin­gle cor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion.

But 78-year-old San­born isn’t say­ing what…

He wants some­one else to iden­ti­fy it.

Kryp­tos’ main mys­tery — more like “a rid­dle wrapped in a mys­tery inside an enig­ma” to quote Win­ston Churchill — was hand cut into an S‑shaped cop­per screen using jig­saws.

Image cour­tesy of the CIA

Pro­fes­sion­al crypt­an­a­lysts, hob­by­ists, and stu­dents have been attempt­ing to crack the code of its 865 let­ters and 4 ques­tion marks since 1990, when it was installed on the grounds of CIA head­quar­ters in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia.

The hands-on part fell well with­in Sanborn’s purview. But a Mas­ters in sculp­ture from Pratt Insti­tute does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­fer cryp­tog­ra­phy bonafides, so San­born enlist­ed Edward Schei­dt, the retired chair­man of the CIA’s Cryp­to­graph­ic Cen­ter, for a crash course in late 20th-cen­tu­ry cod­ing sys­tems.

San­born sam­pled var­i­ous cod­ing meth­ods for the fin­ished piece, want­i­ng the act of deci­pher­ing to feel like “peel­ing lay­ers off an onion.”

That onion has been par­tial­ly peeled for years.

Deci­pher­ing three of its four pan­els is a pelt shared by com­put­er sci­en­tist and for­mer pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Cryp­togram Asso­ci­a­tion, James Gillo­gly, and CIA ana­lyst David Stein.

Gillo­gly arrived at his solu­tion in 1999, using a Pen­tium II.

Stein reached the same con­clu­sion a year ear­li­er, after chip­ping away at it for some 400 hours with pen­cil and paper, though the CIA kept his achieve­ment on the down low until Gillo­gly went pub­lic with his.

The fol­low­ing year the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency claimed that four of their employ­ees, work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly, had reached an iden­ti­cal solu­tion in 1992, a fact cor­rob­o­rat­ed by doc­u­ments obtained through the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act.

(On a relat­ed note, I got Wor­dle in three this morn­ing…)

This still leaves the 97-char­ac­ter phrase from the final pan­el up for grabs. Crack­ing it will be the penul­ti­mate step in solv­ing Kryp­tos’ puz­zle. As San­born told NPR in 2020, “that phrase is in itself a rid­dle:”

It’s mys­te­ri­ous. It’s going to lead to some­thing else. It’s not going to be fin­ished when it’s decod­ed.

The pub­lic is wel­come to con­tin­ue mak­ing edu­cat­ed guess­es.

San­born has leaked three clues over the years, all words that can be found in the final pas­sage of decrypt­ed text.

BERLIN, at posi­tions 64 — 69 (2010)

CLOCK, at posi­tions 70 — 74 (2014)

NORTHEAST, at posi­tion 26 — 34

Have you solved it, yet?


Don’t feel bad…

San­born has been field­ing incor­rect answers dai­ly for decades, though a ris­ing tide of aggres­sive and racist mes­sages led him to charge 50 bucks per sub­mis­sion, to which he responds via e‑mail, with absolute­ly no hope of hints.

Kryp­tos’ most ded­i­cat­ed fans, like game devel­op­er /cryptologist Elon­ka Dunin, seen ply­ing San­born with copi­ous quan­ti­ties of sushi above in Great Big Sto­ry’s video, find val­ue in work­ing togeth­er and, some­times, in per­son.

Their dream is that San­born might inad­ver­tent­ly let slip a valu­able tid­bit in their pres­ence, though that seems like a long shot.

The artist claims to have got­ten very skilled at main­tain­ing a pok­er face.

(Wait, does that sug­gest his inter­locu­tors have been get­ting warmer?)

Dunin has relin­quished all fan­tasies of solv­ing Kryp­tos solo, and now works to help some­one — any­one — solve it.

(Please, Lord, don’t let it be chat­G­PT…)

San­ford has put a con­tin­gency plan in place in case no one ever man­ages to get to the bot­tom of the Kryp­tos (ancient Greek for “hid­den”) conun­drum.

He, or rep­re­sen­ta­tives of his estate, will auc­tion off the solu­tion. He is con­tent with let­ting the win­ning bid­der decide whether or not to share what’s been revealed to them.

“I do real­ize that the val­ue of Kryp­tos is unknown and that per­haps this con­cept will bear lit­tle fruit,” he told the New York Times, though if one takes the mass­es of peo­ple des­per­ate to learn the solu­tion and fac­tors in Sanford’s inten­tion to donate all pro­ceeds to cli­mate research, it may well bear quite a healthy amount of fruit.

Join Elon­ka Dunin’s online com­mu­ni­ty of Kryp­tos enthu­si­asts here.

To give you a taste of what you’re in for, here are the first two pan­els, fol­lowed by their solu­tions, with the artist’s inten­tion­al mis­spellings intact.

Encrypt­ed Text

Decrypt­ed Text
Between sub­tle shad­ing and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlu­sion.


Encrypt­ed Text

Decrypt­ed Text
It was total­ly invis­i­ble Hows that pos­si­ble? They used the Earths mag­net­ic field X
The infor­ma­tion was gath­ered and trans­mit­ted under­gru­und to an unknown loca­tion X
Does Lan­g­ley know about this? They should Its buried out there some­where X
Who knows the exact loca­tion? Only WW This was his last mes­sage X
Thir­ty eight degrees fifty sev­en min­utes six point five sec­onds north
Sev­en­ty sev­en degrees eight min­utes forty four sec­onds west ID by rows

View step by step solu­tions for the first three of Kryp­tos’ encrypt­ed pan­els here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Enig­ma Machine: How Alan Tur­ing Helped Break the Unbreak­able Nazi Code

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence May Have Cracked the Code of the Voyn­ich Man­u­script: Has Mod­ern Tech­nol­o­gy Final­ly Solved a Medieval Mys­tery?

The Code of Charles Dick­ens’ Short­hand Has Been Cracked by Com­put­er Pro­gram­mers, Solv­ing a 160-Year-Old Mys­tery

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Watch a 106-Year-Old Wizard of Oz Book Get Magically Restored … By Cutting the Book’s Spine, Washing Pages & Recoloring Illustrations

Author, edu­ca­tor and book restora­tion expert Sophia Bogle is in a con­stant race against time. Her mis­sion: to res­cue and restore ill-treat­ed books before their lam­en­ta­ble con­di­tions can con­sign them to the land­fill.

To the untrained eye, many of these vol­umes appear beyond repair, but Bogle has nerves of steel, preter­nat­ur­al patience, sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion, and over thir­ty years of expe­ri­ence.

In the Wired video above, she uses a 106-year-old first edi­tion of Frank L. Baum’s The Lost Princess of Oz to demon­strate some of the steps of her craft — from cut­ting open an old book’s spine and wash­ing dirty pages to repair­ing tears and recol­or­ing illus­tra­tions.

Pri­or to tak­ing the final step, she scrawls a hid­den mes­sage on the back­ing mate­r­i­al of the spine:

I do love the fact that there’s the sto­ry in the book, there’s the sto­ry of the restora­tion of the book, there’s the sto­ry of who has owned the book and now, I’m just in there just a lit­tle bit more.

This play­ful bit of hard-won license is a far cry from some shady restora­tion prac­tices she men­tions in an inter­view on the Wel­come to Lit­er­ary Ash­land blog, in an attempt to arm the gen­er­al pub­lic with tools for spot­ting poten­tial fraud:

I am not sure that there is any­thing in the world that can­not be twist­ed with evil intent…Swapping out pages with pub­lish­ers infor­ma­tion in order to make the book appear to be a more valu­able edi­tion. Scratch­ing out/removing num­bers or words for the same pur­pose. And last­ly, swap­ping out pages to insert the author’s sig­na­ture. None of those things can be done with­out intent to defraud and it is the intent that mat­ters most. 

Bogle plies her trade using all sorts of spe­cial­ized pro­fes­sion­al equip­ment — two sewing frames, a job backer, a gold fin­ish­ing stove, a nip­ping press, a Kwikprint stamp­ing machine and draw­ers full of stamps and dies — but she also offers free and low-cost vir­tu­al book repair cours­es to those whose binderies have yet to be estab­lished.

One reward for Kick­starter back­ers who helped her pub­lish Book Restora­tion Unveiled: An Essen­tial Guide for Bib­lio­philes was a bind-it-your­self print­able pdf of the book.

Reat­tach­ing a paperback’s cov­er or deodor­iz­ing a musty old book may rep­re­sent the extent of your hands on impulse.

Book lovers who have both the time and the tem­pera­ment for book­bind­ing, as well as Bogle’s pas­sion for pre­serv­ing cul­ture one book at a time, might con­sid­er apply­ing for a Save Your Books schol­ar­ship.

See more of Sophia Bogle’s book restora­tions on her Save Your Books YouTube chan­nel.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

How to Res­cue a Wet, Dam­aged Book: A Handy Visu­al Primer

How Obses­sive Artists Col­orize Old Pho­tographs & Restore the True Col­ors of the Past

The Art of Restor­ing a 400-Year-Old Paint­ing: A Five-Minute Primer

Watch the Painstak­ing and Nerve-Rack­ing Process of Restor­ing a Draw­ing by Michelan­ge­lo

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

My Neighbor Totoro Inspires a Line of Traditional Japanese Handicrafts

We sup­pose it’s con­ceiv­able that a gift of a wood­en Totoro fig­urine, hand-carved from a sin­gle block using 50 dif­fer­ent kinds of chis­els, might spark a rev­er­ence for tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese craft and nature in the next gen­er­a­tion…

Or, they may be left wish­ing you’d giv­en them a vast­ly more hug­gable machine-made plushie ver­sion, espe­cial­ly if you can’t help suck­ing in your breath every time they start fum­bling with that exquis­ite­ly craft­ed ¥330,000 yen heir­loom-to-be. (That’s $2341.81 in US dol­lars.)

Of course, direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki’s 1988 ani­mat­ed fea­ture My Neigh­bor Totoro has legions of fans of all ages, and some will con­sid­er them­selves quite lucky if they win the lot­tery that grants them the abil­i­ty to pur­chase such a trea­sure.

They’re not only carved by skilled arti­sans in Ina­mi, the city of wood­carv­ing, but the wood is also that of a cam­phor tree — the nat­ur­al habi­tat of the mys­te­ri­ous, mag­i­cal Totoro! (It’s also con­sid­ered holy by prac­ti­tion­ers of the Shin­to reli­gion.)

Still, if it’s unclear that the recip­i­ent will tru­ly appre­ci­ate such thought­ful­ness, you’re prob­a­bly bet­ter off going with anoth­er offer­ing from Stu­dio Ghibli’s Totoro-themed col­lab­o­ra­tion with Nak­a­gawa Masashichi Shoten, a pur­vey­or of tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese crafts.

Per­haps a¥4180 bud vase fired in Ure­shi­no City’s Edo-peri­od Yozan Kiln, fea­tur­ing Totoro or a clus­ter of susuwatari, the pom pom-like soot sprites infest­ing the Kusak­abe fam­i­ly’s new home, who also play a part in Spir­it­ed Away.

Maybe a tiny Totoro bell amulet, mold­ed by crafts­men in Odawara, cel­e­brat­ed for the qual­i­ty of their met­al­work since the ear­ly 1500s, when they out­fit­ted samu­rai with weapons, armor and hel­mets?

What about a Totoro-embla­zoned trea­sure box from Yat­suo, made of sten­cil-dyed hand­made washi paper? There’s noth­ing inher­ent­ly wrong with stash­ing your acorn col­lec­tion in an old Altoid’s tin, but this ves­sel comes with his­toric pedi­gree:

As one of the lead­ing towns along the trunk road, Yatu­so flour­ished through … pro­duc­tion of wrap­ping paper for the nation-wide famous “Toya­ma Med­i­cine”. At its gold­en age, from the Edo Era to the begin­ning of the Mei­ji Era in the 19th cen­tu­ry, many peo­ple were engaged in paper­mak­ing by hand­work in their homes. Yat­suo Japan­ese paper was expect­ed to be unbreak­able because it was used as pack­age for expen­sive med­i­cine and at the same time it should look bril­liant. It had to be thick and stout so that it could be imper­vi­ous to water and the label print­ed on the sur­face would not be smeared.

The list of Totoro-inspired tra­di­tion­al crafts is impres­sive. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­pling:

Chusen-dyed tenugui hand­ker­chiefs and t‑shirts…

Dish­tow­els made from five lay­ers of Kayaori fab­ric that “was intro­duced to Japan dur­ing the Nara peri­od and is said to allow wind to pass through but keep mos­qui­toes out”…

Tiny Ari­ta ware acorn plates that reward mem­bers of the clean plate club with a view of the Cat­bus 

View the col­lec­tion and learn more about February’s lot­tery for a chance to pur­chase a Cam­phor wood Totoro here.

Hands-on fans may pre­fer to cul­ti­vate an appre­ci­a­tion for tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese hand­i­crafts by attempt­ing a DIY Totoro.

Via Spoon & Tam­a­go/Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Stream Hun­dreds of Hours of Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Movie Music That Will Help You Study, Work, or Sim­ply Relax: My Neigh­bor Totoro, Spir­it­ed Away & More

A Tour of Stu­dio Ghibli’s Brand New Theme Park in Japan, Which Re-Cre­ates the Worlds of Spir­it­ed Away, My Neigh­bor Totoro, and Oth­er Clas­sics

Build Your Own Minia­ture Sets from Hayao Miyazaki’s Beloved Films: My Neigh­bor Totoro, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice & More

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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