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 American Folk School Movement and ‘Slow Economics’
Rather than looking to big corporate employers like Walmart for economic stability, could more rural communities in the U.S. welcome a slower growing, more sustainable economic partner? Editor’s note: This story was originally published in our Winter 2022 issue. This version includes updated statistics and other factual information. (Top photo courtesy of John C. Campbell…
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
Watch “Jack Mauch Making a Door with Hand-Roasted Veneer”
In this 4-minute video by Jesse Beecher, watch craftsman Jack Mauch make a wooden door, hand-roasted slat by slat.
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
Paula Wolfert and the Clay Pot Mystique
A gastro-scientific investigation of why cooks believe food tastes better (note: much better) when it’s cooked in a ceramic pot. Tour guide: Paula Wolfert, the legendary queen of American clay-pot cooking.
Written by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG
Intentional Inhalations: Why Natural, Handmade Incense Stands Apart
Incense has been around for millennia, and is relatively simple to make. It can be purchased at any gift shop for a few dollars, so why spend more for the handmade, whole-plant version? Mike Paré, one of very few traditional incense makers in the U.S., explains to our author why his craft still matters. My…
Listen to “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.” Could Shafer’s relentless eclecticism offer a model for a second…
Listen to “The Value of Time”
When an American-made quartz watch costs up to $1,500 and its counterparts from other countries, including Switzerland, range from $50 to more than $50,000, what’s the difference between them?