View Full Version : RIP Bill Coperthwaite

12-17-2013, 09:19 AM


12-17-2013, 02:45 PM
Thank you, Dave.

George Ray
12-17-2013, 06:56 PM
Thanks for mentioning Bill, he made the world a better and more interesting place. Hopefully the 'Yert Foundation' will thrive in the years ahead.


I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.
-William Coperthwaite, from A Handmade Life




"William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.

A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life."

George Ray
12-18-2013, 06:17 AM
Bill 'Friend of the Earth' Coperthwaite came home to the 'Yert Foundation' at Dickinson's Reach on the upper Little Kennebek, Machiasport, ME, USA, Earth, MilkyWay, for the final time just like everything else at the Yert Foundation that wasn't born there such as the earth the plants and his animal friends, all else was imported either on two legs or in a wheel barrow on the long path through the woods or by water in one or both of the 20 foot freighter canoes. The last trip was by canoe, with friends paddling.


12-18-2013, 09:01 AM
Thanks for the heads-up, Dave. I'm very sorry to learn of Bill's passing.
Some years ago I worked under Bill, putting together a small (12' or so max. Dia.?) yurt in Blue Hill, Maine. Interesting group of New Age neo-hippie kids, (there MAY have been 1 hammer to share between the 10 of them) who were there as volunteers, as was I. One of the other volunteers had only recently been released from a "custody", so it was an interesting mix. Nice guy as I remember.
It was the weekend before a blacksmithing class that I was to take @ WoodenBoat School, so I had the trunk packed with the vast majority of my tools. (I have a tendency to carry WAY MORE than I need!)
Bill and I were standing next to my car, talking, and he's asking me about my work experience. During the convo, I open the trunk to pull out some stuff that I think I'll need during the day. Bill takes one look at the full-to-the-lid trunk,
turns to me, smiles, and says "Looks like you're my cutter!".
Three days of scorching sun on the south exposure of an old farmhouse, painted WHITE, and NO BREEZE! But we got 'er done!
I didn't know until today what I missed out on by not spending more time with him. It sounds like he had an amazing life, and had a profound effect on the lives of perhaps thousands of others.
Does anyone know if his book is still in print, and where I can get a copy? I think I'd like to fill in that hole in my education.
My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and students.
Regards, Wes

George Ray
12-18-2013, 11:12 PM
His book is available on Amazon - Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback:
His publisher is Chelsea Green. ( http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/a_handmade_life/ )



A Day with Bill Coperthwaite blog: