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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.

By DAVID MUNRO

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.

By KRISTIN SHARP and MOLLY KINDER

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.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

View “Studies in Marquetry and Parquetry”

Wool: Suggested Resources and Gift Ideas

WOOL GIFTS FOR THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS: The wool in The North Face’s Cali Wool Beanie comes from a Northern California sheep ranch dedicated to methods of land management that are proven to regenerate the soil instead of depleting it. This allows the land to “sequester” carbon in the land, which slows climate change. There isn’t…

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

Young Champions of Craftsmanship

As we inch closer to another summer, a tinkerer’s mind is likely to go looking for the chance (and the time) to build that rare, handmade item that he or she has always fantasized about. To inspire such glorious flights of fancy, last spring we created a guide—the first of its kind—to the most respected…

By NATALIE JONES

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