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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?

Listen to “Shrine and the Art of Resilience”

Pandemic, political strife, poverty, war. In times of extreme upheaval—global or personal—can the act of art-making ease suffering and strengthen resilience?

Listen to “A New Renaissance Man”

Meet Jack Mauch, the newest member of our growing family of “Craftsmanship’s Young Turks.” At age 32, Mauch is already creating breathtaking examples of craftsmanship in everything from furniture-making to ceramics and metalwork.

Listen to “The Revival of Nero’s Wine”

Throughout history vintners used clay vessels to age their wine, until the French discovered the marvels of the oak barrel. Now—for fun, for distinctly different flavors, and to save some fine old trees—a few wineries are giving clay a second chance, Roman style.

Tomorrow’s Library

In a simple, residential neighborhood in San Francisco sits a former church for Christian Scientists. The building’s white exterior and massive columns give it a stately, antiquated look. But behind its doors sit stacks of servers, which contain billions upon billions of web pages, media, and other delights. This is the Internet Archive. In today’s…

Straw Bale Construction: The Ultra-Ecological House

Every few years, discussions about using straw bales as a building material come up again. As our environmental challenges mount—from wildfires to hurricanes—straw bales seem to offer a sustainable answer. And as we in the American West seem to find ourselves in “fire season” earlier with each passing year, it’s time to ask: Has the humble straw bale’s moment finally come?

By MEA MCNEIL

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

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