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The Soul Of Community

Like many American cities, Durham, N.C. has been turning once-abandoned factories into tech hubs and microbreweries. Over the decades, it has also been building a shared commitment to the poor, the disenfranchised, and people of color. Barry Yeoman, a veteran journalist who has lived in and loved Durham since 1985, digs into the city’s soul. And he discovers an architecture underneath this community with some unusual layers.

Photography by ALEX BOERNER

Straw Bale Building Resources

The community of straw bale enthusiasts (or baleheads, as they call themselves) is vast and passionate. If you’re interested in building your own straw bale home, want to explore a workshop, or just feel like exploring the terrain, here are some of the best places to start. David Arkin and Anni Tilt, of Arkin/Tilt Architects…

Interesting, and Lucrative, Apprenticeships: A Few Suggested Resources

If you’re game for a career path that involves something a bit more unusual (and less costly) than the typical routine—four years of college, maybe grad school, then the first job you can find in high tech or finance—there are literally hundreds of paths available to you. Many begin with some kind of formal system…

The Art of the Joke

When you watch masterful stand-up comics perform, it seems like they are just naturally hilarious. Don’t kid yourself. This is hard work, requiring hours and hours of trial and error. To its masters, the art of comedy is a craft, not unlike the careful, step-by-step work required to make a fine piece of furniture.


A Guide to Sources for “The Workforce Dilemma”

Beyond our own study of automation, workers, and the changing workplace, Kristin Sharp and I relied on a range of articles and other experts to draw our conclusions. Here are links to our main sources, arranged by topic. The looming recession, and its possible causes One of the most recent articles — both comprehensive and…

Interested in High Tech? Training Opportunities Abound

As a child, Shelly Schoppert was drawn to video games and computers and loved “the thrill of figuring out how to make things work.” But her parents discouraged her from pursuing a job in IT; so she got an associates degree in general studies and worked for 15 years in the healthcare field, as a…

The New Workforce Dilemma

In early 2018, after the release of a positive national jobs reports, some experts said the glowing numbers couldn’t be trusted, and actually indicated a “wage-less recovery.” No wonder. For the last few decades, both the private and public sectors have gradually weakened the support structures that have nurtured the American workforce for generations. Two experts connect the dots on this new dilemma, and look for solutions.


A New Renaissance Man

When we went looking for the next member of our new and growing family—“Craftsmanship’s Young Turks”—Jack Mauch was an easy choice. At the age of 32, he’s 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.


Is Digital Craftsmanship an Oxymoron?

Almost hidden on a funky old pier along San Francisco’s waterfront, Autodesk, a world leader in digital tools for makers, is running a prototype shop that seems more like a high-tech playground for grown-ups. In between contracts to make, say, a steel ship propeller with a massive 3-D printer, the company takes in sculptors, engineers, and architects who are pushing the boundaries of their own work. The effect of all this energy is a level of innovation that is expanding—and perhaps redefining—the meaning of craftsmanship.


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