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Spring 2023

The Future of Craftsmanship

Look at almost anything you own of real quality, and you immediately see its maker’s commitment to beauty, functionality, and longevity. Those values, which in our mind define works of craftsmanship, are being aggressively tested these days, as more and more material goods exhibit shoddy workmanship, and are not made to last. The trash this creates not only damages our environment, it also erodes the principles of excellence that advance us, both individually and collectively. In this issue, we introduce you to some brave souls and organizations that are fighting to preserve, and expand, the intelligence in our hands.

Ann Morhauser, The Glass Builder

Many artisans struggle to pay the bills, hoping for a little good press along the way. Ann Morhauser started with all of those odds, and then some, in a tiny studio near Santa Cruz, CA. Today, her unique glassware is featured in stores across the country—and in The Smithsonian. How did she get here?

Written by PEGGY TOWNSEND
Photography by SHMUEL THALER

The Apprenticeship Ambivalence

Amidst political discussion about expanding apprenticeships in the U.S., two contradictory realities persist. One is a changing landscape, in both school and work, that increasingly needs a sound apprenticeship system; the other is the refusal by many parents to understand why a formal apprenticeship might make more sense for their children—and their finances—than four years of college.

Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER

Jack Mauch: A New Renaissance Man

Craftsman Jack Mauch, still in his 30s, is already creating breathtaking examples of craftsmanship in everything from furniture-making to ceramics and metalwork. If this kind of range is what it takes to become a master artisan in today’s world, God help the rest of us mere mortals.

Written by NATALIE JONES

The Play Gap

In Providence, Rhode Island, Janice McDonnell started one of the unlikeliest of revolutions. On seven empty lots in the inner city, she set up a new kind of playground—places where kids could build anything they want, break anything they want. Her larger goals? To fight the disappearance of free play brought on by the relentless testing that’s become the norm in today’s schools—and to spread playful opportunities to all children, not just those from wealthy white families.

Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER

Introduction to “The Future Is Handmade” — A Craftsmanship Mini-Documentary Film

A Dutch archaeologist finds artisans and thought leaders who are redefining craft, skill and, ultimately, the real meaning of a knowledge economy: a short film presented by The Craftsmanship Initiative, in collaboration with The Centre for Global Heritage and Development.

Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER

Other Topics In This Issue

Of Dahlias, Devoted Growers, and their High-Stakes Competitions

While many gardeners take their flowers seriously, few devote almost all of their time to growing one breed—the dahlia—then drive hundreds of miles to go mano a mano against other fanatical growers, for nothing more than a blue ribbon. But that’s exactly what Deborah Dietz does.

Written by THOMAS COOPER
Photography by JAK WONDERLY

The Kayak’s Cultural Journey

For millennia, Indigenous peoples across the world have built and used wooden skin boats to fish and hunt, for sport and travel, even for warfare. Skin kayaks are the unique product of Arctic peoples, but non-Indigenous admirers of the craft are making them, too. Does that matter?

Written by SIMON MORRIS

More from this Issue

Field Notes

The American Folk School Movement and ‘Slow Economics’

Written by JOANNE CLEAVER

Podcast

Listen to “The Conductionist”

Written by FRANCIS DAVIS Narrated by MITCH GREENBERG

Field Notes

Berea College Students Craft a Bright Future, Tuition-Free

Written by ROBIN ROENKER

Field Notes

Redesigning an Old Recipe: The School Lunch

Written by JEFF GREENWALD

Podcast

Listen to “The Play Gap”

Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER Narrated by AVANTHIKA SRINIVASAN

Video

Watch “The Future Is Handmade”

By MAIKEL KUIJPERS

Gallery

View “How Carlo Setti Makes a Traditional Leather Mask”

Photography by RICCARDO ROITER RIGONI Written by ERLA ZWINGLE

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