"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 2 (2003)
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Martin Puryear’s respect for age-old techniques and his knowledge of woodworking, masonry and non-western crafts are essential to the archetypal forms he creates. “I’m really interested in vernacular cultures where people lived a little closer to the source of materials...” The artist tapped his carpentry skills to create "Ladder for Booker T. Washington," a sculptural country ladder reaching 36 feet into the air. The segment continues with Puryear on a visit to Northern California where he built a massive stone folly working with a team of masons, and to a stoneyard in China and a sculpture site in Japan, revealing the complex practical and artistic calculations that go into Puryear’s large-scale work.