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Listen to “The Puppeteer”

Michael Montenegro is driven to put the products of his imagination into tangible, active forms. After he builds them—often in life-size form, with a rag-tag collage of materials—he becomes them, lives inside them, then delivers them to us with a zany vigor.

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?

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

Listen to “The Glass Builder”

Ann Morhauser started with nothing but debt in a tiny glassware studio in Watsonville, a coastal community in central California. Now her work is in stores across the country—and in the Smithsonian. What is her secret to artisanal success?

Listen to “The New Sign Painters”

The commercial signs of yesteryear, which were all painted by hand, offer a kind of beauty, personality, and longevity that today’s industrial signs have been unable to duplicate. While exploring what’s left of the old sign-painting traditions, we stumbled upon small but lively seeds of revival.

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