From tools and devices to construction and artistic expression, Max Adams explores wood – the material that shaped human history.
A passionate and imaginative exploration of wood – the material that shaped human history.
As a material, wood has no equal in strength, resilience, adaptability and availability. It has been our partner in the cultural evolution from woodland foragers to engineers of our own destiny. Tracing that partnership through tools, devices, construction and artistic expression, Max Adams casts light on our own history as an imaginative, curious, resourceful species.
He begins with the material properties of various species of wood, and the influence of six basic devices – wedge, inclined plane, screw, lever, wheel, axle and pulley – before investigating the myriad ways in which wood has been worked across the millennia of human history. From the simple bivouacs of hunter-gatherers to sophisticated wooden buildings such as stave churches; from the decorative arts to the humble woodworking of rustic furniture; Max Adams fashions a lattice of interconnected stories and objects that trace a path of human ingenuity across half a million years.