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Listen to “A Woodworker’s Tale”

In today’s automated world, why bother toiling with hand tools and sawdust? In his new book, Gary Rogowski—a master furniture maker in Portland, Oregon—ruminates about lessons he’s learned “at the bench,” and the quest for mastery and creative focus, no matter what your calling.

The Bug Whisperer

Mark Sturges doesn’t advertise and clients have to find him by word of mouth, but find him they do. He’s become a master of an agricultural art as old as agriculture itself: basic compost.

By KRISTIN OHLSON
Photography by MARK STURGES and KRISTIN OHLSON

The West’s Rural Visionary

The town of John Day sits in the middle of Oregon’s High Desert country, threaded by an abused river, surrounded by a dying timber industry, and getting hotter and drier every year. Enter Nick Green, a new city manager, with grand, out-of-the-box ideas about rural sustainability. Can his vision survive?

by JULIET GRABLE

Listen to “The Rawhide Artist”

Bill Black has poured his life into refining a simple piece of handmade horse gear called a hackamore. Although the device is rarely used anymore, it can teach a horse to work cattle with unusual brilliance, and beauty.

Listen to “The Bonsai Kid”

A young Oregonian believes that he can create a uniquely American form of the Japanese bonsai tree. And he is literally betting the farm on the idea that if he builds it, they will come.

A Woodworker’s Tale

In today’s increasingly automated world, why bother toiling with hand tools and sawdust? And what makes someone a master craftsman, or craftswoman? In a new book, Gary Rogowski—a master furniture maker and the founder of Northwest Woodworking Studio, in Portland, Oregon—ruminates on the four decades he has spent “at the bench,” the “magic” in old tools, and the principles of mastery and creative focus, not matter what your calling happens to be.

By GARY ROGOWSKI

The Rawhide Artist

Bill Black, a master “rawhider,” has poured his life into refining a simple piece of horse gear called a hackamore. Sometimes used in lieu of a bridle, the device has largely fallen into disuse. But it can teach a horse to work cattle with unusual agility, grace, and sophistication—if managed by a knowing pair of hands.

By ANDY RIEBER

The Search For The Perfect Leather Bag

Boutiques selling hip shoulder bags seem to be all the rage these days. Some look rustic enough to take into the woods, some more suited to the streets of Manhattan. With all these offerings, how does an eager consumer judge quality? Herewith, a visit with four contrasting American leathercrafting shops. And a little story about Marv Obenauf, a former firefighter turned master artisan of leather dressings.

Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by ROMAIN BLANQUART, SCOTT CHERNIS, SHAWN LINEHAN, and courtesy of L.P. STREIFEL

The Bonsai Kid

At six o’clock on a July morning, during one of the hottest stretches in northwest Oregon’s recorded history, Ryan Neil trots out the door of his hilltop home and down a short gravel path in his nursery to check on more than a million dollars worth of small, delicate trees. Neil is a professional bonsai…

By NANCY LEBRUN

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