Craftsmanship Quarterly is the first venture of The Craftsmanship Initiative. Our mission is to explore how the principles of master craftsmanship can inform the future of creativity, invention, and sustainability.

With our programs, and the original content in this journal, we aim to foster a new generation of men and women who are inspired about what they can achieve with their own hands. As time goes on, we will build our pursuit of these goals through apprenticeships, scholarships, events, and other opportunities that blend industry and science with the arts.

To inspire you to consider such achievements, we use these pages to focus on individuals who have already exhibited unusual levels of mastery. Some of these people can be found in dusty, old-world shops scattered across the globe, others in gleaming laboratories and manufacturing plants chasing the newest of the new. Yet in each case, their work, and often their lives too, illuminate what we call the architecture of excellence.

That architecture arises, we’ve discovered, from a set of principles that often get forgotten these days. At its base is a deep well of knowledge, an eye for detail, and a commitment to quality before profit. It finishes with a capacity for shrewd experimentation and a determination, sometimes even an obsession, to create something, as the old saying goes, that is built to last.

This value system seems to matter today more than ever. As the U.S. has risen to become the world’s dominant economic model, it has also become its leading throwaway society. And our primary export, if anything, has been a consumer economy based on planned obsolescence. These developments have turned the fundamental concept of quality into an idea that seems either out of reach for most of the world’s population, or merely an esoteric topic of discussion.

As the importance of manual work has declined, it has eroded an entire culture of physical skills that once brought creativity, meaning, and a visceral sense of satisfaction to the lives of millions.

We believe there is a way out of this downward spiral, and that promising routes are being found by the artisans and innovators in our pages. As you will see, their quests are at their best when they are marked by a respect for a master’s traditions of patience and perseverance; and by a faith in the enduring connection between functionality and beauty.

Craftsmanship Quarterly is a nonprofit publication of The Craftsmanship Initiative. Our fiscal sponsor is Independent Arts & Media, a San Francisco-based 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to support people and projects that build community through media and the arts.