As manufacturing overseas has become widespread, it’s not uncommon to hear people complain that America doesn’t make things anymore. Yet in many areas of the country, economic creativity is alive and well. It just faces unnecessary obstacles. In this issue, we examine some of those obstacles, and some of the bolder ideas for overcoming them. We begin by republishing a story from 2018 on workforce challenges, which turned out to be surprisingly prescient given the current threat of a recession.
For many countries, cultural identity is largely defined by the crafts their artisans have taken to uncommon levels of mastery. Think French cheese or Italian shoes. In this summer's issue, we spotlight some of the less familiar: guitar makers and other artisans in Mexico; an ancient textile operation still working in Italy; an indigenous woolens crusader in Argentina; an uncommon rug maker in India; and a master of soufflès.
As change accelerates, the ways we learn, and adjust to challenges, have lost some of their moorings. Our Spring issue explores how craftsmanship's principles of creativity and patience can help prepare tomorrow's workforce, and rehabilitate people who struggle with challenges like drug addiction. On the lighter front, we also profile a remarkable Norwegian who is saving Nordic sweater traditions.
In our second look at The Craft of Community, we explore how worker-owned co-ops can combat income inequality. We also bring back a story from our Archives about an initiative to rebuild trust between today's hyper-polarized political camps. Then we end with three delightful tales about remarkable artisans, and why craftsmanship matters.
Daily life is changing drastically these days because of a volatile new combination: climate change, rising population pressures, and the unbridled spread of technology. In the chaos that results, the basic human need for a sense of real, physical community only grows. In our Fall and Winter issues, we look at the varied ways that people across the world are trying to meet the age-old need for safety, connection, and self-sufficiency.
Almost every profession has involved some system of apprenticeship, and mastery rarely occurs without it. While some countries have kept this time-honored tradition alive, others have let it fade. We look across the globe at how some traditions in craftsmanship are trying to remain alive, often through various approaches to apprenticeship. We also dive into a few different subjects, like the anatomy of stand-up comedy.
As technology spreads, opportunities for craftsmanship are growing in some unlikely places. Welcome to our series on “Craftsmanship and The Future of Work." In this debut issue, we look into the forces behind today's "wage-less recovery"; whether high technology and craftsmanship can co-exist; a new Renaissance man; a 600-year old tradition of night watchmen; and the world's last, true master goldbeater.
The wafts of consumerism in the air during the holidays are almost impossible to avoid. But there are honorable ways to embrace them, through gifts designed to last a lifetime, and sometimes longer. Welcome to our Winter issue, which features three domains—wool, glass, and fountain pens—where quality stands the test of time. We also give you a rare woodworker's tale, and our first young stars of craftsmanship.
As prices on mass-market clothing drop, and the amount many of us buy continually rises, we can’t help asking: Is eco-fashion really possible? Maybe, but not in the ways you might expect. Welcome to our Fall issue, and discover the secrets to “system” dressing, classic jeans, and how animal rights campaigns against clothing companies are actually hurting many animals. You’ll also meet a rare “jewelry archaeologist” and an expert at restoring classic VWs.
In the peak of summer, what’s better than a slow-cooked meal, cold beer, and fine ice cream? To answer that question, we’re revisiting some of our favorite masters of food and libations. We begin with three: Paula Wolfert, who introduced the West to the magic of old-world clay-pot cooking; the boys of Method Beer, who are pushing the limits of alcohol science; and Andrea Soban, a master gelatiere from gelato’s birthplace--the mountains of Northern Italy.
In today’s overwrought political climate, both in the U.S. and abroad, it can seem as though our capacity for intelligent dialogue has disappeared. Mystified by this trend, we dedicate this issue to how we use language—to understand one another, to record history, and to define our spiritual faith. In our second section, we explore a Venetian island where fine lace is still made by hand; and, for your summer planning, we offer a guide to America's best craftsmanship schools and workshops.
With U.S. commitments to managing climate change wobbling under the new administration, the time for innovation at what is literally the world’s grass roots is upon us. Come meet a collection of fascinating water pioneers—in Australia, Brazil, the American West, and other parched corners of the globe. We also compare vermouth masters on two continents, profile a man rescuing lost films, and bring you our second annual holiday gift guide. All fun. We promise.
Over the years, the time that both children and adults devote to playing with real stuff—cardboard and crayons, hammers and nails, leather and machine parts—has dwindled almost to extinction. In our Fall issue, we visit people who are bucking this trend. In Cuba, at the shops of the inventeros, tinkering has been the key to their survival. In Rhode Island, at a handful of “loose parts” playgrounds, children are learning more durable lessons than they would on a screen. And our topics this issue don’t stop there.
Now that the heat of summer has finally arrived, we can’t help thinking about the craftsmanship of fun. Seriously. To that happy end, we dedicate this issue, first, to a romp through the world of fine bicycles and some efforts to preserve their traditions. Then we move into a few unusual fish tales, and a tell-all visit with an Italian master of gelato, the world’s ultimate frozen treat. What’s not to love about summer?
You see it everywhere now—in tags and marketing campaigns for everything from wallets to clothes to cars. If it’s “Made in America,” by definition it’s supposed to be good, if not superior to foreign competitors. But is it really? Many of these products require skills that virtually disappeared from the American landscape decades ago. In this issue of Craftsmanship, we examine what it takes to retrieve those skills—in a form that’s built to last. We also visit a New Yorker cartoonist, and a gang of science nerds seeking new frontiers with craft beer.
The holidays can make us feel like we’re filling our lives with more junk, so this issue focuses on real toys: building kits for girls, toy theatres, and the outlandish masks that inspire Venice’s legendary Carnival. We also follow a master kitchen knife maker as he discovers the secrets of steel, a Mexican community that’s sustaining its 500-year history of craftsmanship, and the burgeoning revolution in (wait for it) shaving gear. And, of course, an artisanal gift guide.
Something about alcohol seems to inspire creativity. American rum, Mexican mezcal, even our old friend, wine, are each being re-invented. Some of these innovations are purely hedonistic, while some are driven by the limits of our natural resources. Our Fall issue also introduces you to artisans dedicated to the perfect Italian shoe; the traditions of letterpress printing; and a new, quintessentially American approach to the bonsai tree.
While experiments are at the heart of inspiration in music, some of the discipline’s artists push the boundaries more than others. In this issue, we introduce you to a collection of master innovators who have tinkered in corners of the music world that we rarely hear about. You will also meet a master of theatrical puppets, and a vegetable detective obsessing about a toxic "perfect storm."
As the world gets hotter and drier, we have a unique opportunity: Start growing drought-friendly foods, and enjoy the ignored but luscious methods of cooking they inspire. Welcome to our examination of this sorely neglected frontier, along with explorations of several entirely different topics.
The agrarian philosopher Wendell Berry once said that “a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” In today's rapidly warming world, agricultural craftsmanship is more challenging than ever. That's why we've dedicated our inaugural issue to some innovative farmers who are working to redefine sustainability, in order to save your grandchildren's food supply.