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Summer 2016

The Arts of Summer

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?

From bicycles to “pedal steel” guitars: One maker’s quirky frontiers

Ross Shafer made his mark creating a popular brand of mountain bikes, called Salsa, and a line of small but crucial bicycle parts that no one had brought to the market before. Now he’s making what might be the world’s most beautiful “pedal steel guitar.” Might Shafer’s relentless eclecticism offer a model for a kind of second Renaissance?

Primary photography by MIKKEL AALAND

What? A Bamboo Bicycle?

OK, so some of them look silly—brown and fat with oversized joints, like a high-school basketball player who has sprained every limb and wrapped each elbow and knee with ace bandages. But Craig Calfee, the respected (and highly successful) carbon frame builder, swears by the strength, flexibility, and ecological value of the bamboo bicycle.

Story and photography by JEFF GREENWALD

The best bicycle seats on the planet: A factory tour

Anyone who knows bicycles knows Brooks—the legendary, iconic British company that has been making simple, old-fashioned leather bicycle saddles since 1882. In the ensuing years, many have tried to improve on these seats with new designs and new materials. Yet the consensus remains: Nothing can beat a Brooks, which celebrates the brand’s 150th anniversary this year. So of course we had to go see how these saddles get made.

Photography by JAMES DALY

Japan’s Gorgeous, Precarious Fishing Poles

While Japanese master craftsmen command up to $100,000 for turning bamboo into a fishing pole, aspiring younger makers can barely find anyone to take them on as apprentices. And this isn’t the only time-honored Japanese craft at the brink of extinction. How could this happen in a country that, for centuries, has served as a model of hand-made perfection?

Story and photography by YUKARI IWATANI KANE

My Day with the Duchess

The man was having the day of his life—out fishing Idaho’s gorgeous Snake River, accompanied by his gorgeous wife (“The Duchess of Cascading Water”), and a whopper of a rainbow trout teasing him in the depths of a riffle off the far bank. Then suddenly, his day took a very painful turn.

Story and photography by HOPE STRONG

The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master

Gelato, it turns out, is a very different creature from ice cream. And there is a reason that the best gelato tastes so creamy yet still light, so balanced, so indescribably perfect. The secret—according to master gelatieri Andrea Soban of Valenza, Italy—involves patience, exceptional ingredients, and a fine-tuned knowledge of food chemistry.

Story and photography by ERLA ZWINGLE

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