A Sense of Place
As the world re-opens from Covid, some of us will travel in search of specialty, must-taste foods or beverages; others for some rare handmade item, whether it be a fine guitar from Paracho, Mexico, or an ornate tablecloth from a tiny town in Italy, where textiles are rust-printed and stone-pressed the same way they have been for centuries. These exquisite creations—and their makers—open windows into the different values and aesthetics that define the world’s myriad cultures, and distinguish them from each other. To honor these remarkable traditions, we offer you a collection of stories with a strong sense of place.
Led by the Nose
If you’re tired of smelling like everyone else, you can say ‘no’ to the big perfume houses, and their overpriced, generic scents. In a growing number of kitchen labs and small shops around the globe, small-scale perfume artists are bottling a world of intoxicating new scents. Some seem to give new meaning to the concept of time travel.
By BARBARA TANNENBAUM
Italy’s Book Doctor
In the city of Bologna, home to the world’s oldest university (as well as some of Italy’s finest cuisine), Pietro Livi has developed an unusual machine shop. Part artisanal and part high-tech, his operation is a kind of Renaissance workshop, built to restore damaged ancient texts to their former glory. And then came Venice’s historic floods of 2019.
By LUISA GROSSO
The Soul of French Invention
Woodworker and author Gary Rogowski makes the case for the Musée des Arts et Métiers as Paris’ best museum, and offers a guide to its extensive holdings.
By GARY ROGOWSKI
The Reed Artist
A writer searches Istanbul’s cafés and alleys for the king of the ney, an enigmatic — and at times, endangered — flute that has long been a mainstay of Muslim musical traditions.
By ROLLO ROMIG
Washington, D.C.’s Homegrown Funk: Go-Go Music
In honor of Black Music Month, take a tour through the history—and the sounds—of the musical culture that has been a cherished folkway in and around the nation’s capital for decades.
By ALONA WARTOFSKY
India’s Rug Saint
Nand Kishore Chaudhary has built one of India’s most successful handmade carpet ventures by forging close ties to a community that most businesses on the continent shun: the poor, largely uneducated caste of citizens long referred to as “Untouchables.” To help his business grow, he’s also had to develop an apprenticeship system around India’s chronic battles with child labor. To Chaudhary, navigating these issues is the only way to honor the true meaning of sustainability. During a visit to the Jaipur Rugs company, our correspondent tries to figure out how all these pieces come together.
By CATHRYN JAKOBSON RAMIN
Greece’s Secret to Perfect Honey
While the United States and other prosperous countries have struggled to keep their honeybees alive, Greece—a country suffering from a decade of intense economic troubles—continues to produce what many consider the world’s finest honey. What’s the Greeks’ secret? And why can’t honey producers in wealthier countries keep up?
By ROB WATERS