Sad news — Bill Coperthwaite, a modern role model for folks striving to live simpler, more handmade, more just lives, died in a car crash on an icy road earlier last week. Bill was best known for his work in promoting the building of yurts and living simply. But that is something of an understatement.
“It’s the best way I know,” Coperthwaite said in a 2003 interview, describing his lifestyle on a 400-acre tract with waterfront along the serene harbor. “Each of us tries to live in the best way we know how. I want to contribute to the problems of the world as little as possible. I really believe we must find simpler ways to live or society will collapse.”
I have not had the pleasure of reading his book, A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity, but I was fortunately able to meet him briefly at the 2009 Natural Building Colloquium, where he gave an inspirational and varied presentation about carving spoons and bowls, building, how to live more lightly, and everything in-between. A lot of what he discussed in his talk has still stuck with me today, from things like how to hold a hook knife, and how important the element of design is in all that we do. The issue of good design is something I now really strive towards understanding — meaning, I love to dissect what makes something “good”, from everything to how a room is arranged, to something as seemingly mundane as a sink basin.
Anyway, he will be missed by many. My condolences to all friends, family, students, and acquaintances of this most influential individual.
Here is a nice post from Peter Follansbee, too.