The Magic of Wood
For thousands of years, wood has been a mainstay for humankind’s creations—for our tools and homes, as well as the beds we sleep in and the chairs we sit on; for early weapons and, to this day, musical instruments; for our gardens and fences and our works of art. Sometimes we’ve honored this magical material, which assumes massive size and strength from nothing but a seed that’s fed by dirt, water, and sun. And sometimes we’ve abused it. This issue, we hope, will do justice to all of wood’s twists and turns.
In his new book “Material: Making and the Art of Transformation”, master furniture maker and designer Nick Kary explores the roots of craft, through stories of makers and their essential materials.
By WILLIAM BRYANT LOGAN
A review of “Material: Making and the Art of Transformation,” by Nick Kary (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020)
Brian Boggs is a fine furniture maker in Asheville, N.C., and he just can’t seem to leave a good idea alone. The result has been a lifetime of tinkering and experimentation, leading to a line of innovative woodworking tools, and some of the world’s finest, and most comfortable, hardwood chairs.
By JANINE LATUS
Photography by MICHAEL OPPENHEIM
Centuries ago, a fleet of rowboats called Whitehalls plied the waters of the San Francisco Bay, helping the chandlers at their helms ferry goods to and from the giant sailing ships working the city’s port. Today, descendants of those early crafts are being built, rowed, and occasionally put to work on the same waters.
A documentary short by WENDY “PEPPER” SCHUSS
Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
When a Disney film, “Coco,” spotlighted a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars, it suddenly made ornate, white guitars famous. Underneath the new pop icon, however, lies a variety of much finer instruments—and a rich craft going back generations.
Story by LAURA FRASER
Photography and videography by ANDREW SULLIVAN
Since the 16th century, Cremona’s luthiers—including Stradivari himself—have been using an unusually resonant wood from Paneveggio, known as Italy’s “violin forest,” to handcraft the world’s finest string instruments. Then a 2018 storm decimated the forest. A band of experts in Cremona is now rallying to save this iconic tradition. A documentary short.
Film by LUISA GROSSO