NC Literary Hall of Fame












Sawdust and Soul by William J. Everett and John W. de Gruchy

Wipf and Stock
$14.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6256444633
December, 2014
Memoir: Spiritual
Available from your local bookstore or

"The title and subtitle are exactly right. This is 'A Conversation about Woodworking and Spirituality' in which 'sawdust flies in all directions, but the soul also takes wings.' So, reader, prepare to pause often to reflect on your own life journey as you listen to Everett’s and de Gruchy’s. This is wisdom beautifully communicated."
—Ecological theologian Larry Rasmussen

"This absorbing and often moving conversation about friendship, faith, and the woodworker’s craft invites us to explore the inner journeys that accompany the working and shaping of wood. The obvious joy of the authors in the soul-deepening craft will strike an immediate chord with fellow woodworkers—and invite some who have not yet felt the warm texture of newly planed wood grain under their fingers to go out and buy their first tools."
—Bishop Peter Storey of South Africa

"In Sawdust and Soul I felt like I was standing across a workbench from two friends reminiscing, philosophizing, and reflecting about woodworking, the influence it has on their lives and their relationship. The journey I experienced with Bill and John resonates with my own."
—North Carolina woodwork designer and craftsman Gregory Paolini

An American ethicist and a South African theologian reflect on their work with wood and how it has helped them find creativity and meaning in experiences of both loss and transformation. Through their friendship, correspondence, and work together they have developed a rich narrative about the way this craftwork has shaped their relationships with family, friends, and their natural environment. Their conversation invites both craftspeople and religious seekers to join them on a spiritual journey toward fresh insight and inspiration. The book is enhanced with numerous photographs of the authors’ work as well as with line drawings by Isobel de Gruchy.

William J. Everett taught Christian ethics in graduate schools for over thirty years before turning to woodworking. In addition to his academic books and articles, he is the author of Red Clay, Blood River, an eco-historical novel, as well as Turnings, a collection of his poetry. He lives in the hardwood forest of western North Carolina.

One of South Africa’s most celebrated theologians, John W. de Gruchy is also a woodworker, with pieces in many churches, schools, and homes throughout the country and abroad. Among his recent books are Confessions of a Christian Humanist and Led Into Mystery. He and his wife Isobel are members of the Volmoed Christian Community near Hermanus, South Africa, where he writes, gives seminars, and does woodworking, while Isobel paints and writes poetry.

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