Gorgeous pens have always symbolized the art of writing at its finest—the quintessential combination of beauty, tradition, and skill. But did you ever think of the fountain pen as a tool of environmental consciousness? Our author certainly does. Considering the fountain pen’s myriad varieties, and the powers of vintage pens in particular, he also shops very selectively, cleans his pens regularly, and searches for (and sometimes even makes) the perfect ink.
By TIM REDMOND
If your pen skips—a very common problem—it might just be clogged. Fountain pens need to be clean to work right, and fountain pen ink will eventually dry and clog the very tiny capillary channels that funnel the ink to the nib. So cleaning your pen regularly is a good idea. And this task doesn’t have…
Jill Giordano makes women’s clothing in what might be called sustainable designs: coats, pants, and dresses made with fine fabrics in timeless styles, and in combinations that can be mixed and matched any number of ways. Welcome to the art of “system” dressing—with quality. The goal: Improve your look, save the planet, and save money.
By LAURA FRASER
Hugo Kohl makes his vintage-style jewelry in six different precious metals, from silver to gold and platinum, and from 14 karat to 18 karat levels of metal quality. Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) is an international nonprofit organization that serves as the primary organization of jewelers and metal artists in North America. It advances…
Across the U.S., scores of schools and other programs offer courses and workshops in everything from boat-building to glass blowing to knife making. But no one has created an informed guide to all these courses—until now. If you’ve always wanted to become a better woodworker, make and smoke your own sausage, or fix your grandfather’s antique violin, here are detailed descriptions of the nine best programs we could find.
By NATALIE JONES
Photos courtesy of the schools
While today’s divisive political climate can certainly feel discouraging, the good news is that it has spawned a fertile variety of projects that aim to make discussion of the day’s issues more civil, more informed, and (one hopes) more productive. Here are the main players on the stage at the moment: One of the early…
For centuries, spiritual faith has been shaped in part by how its scribes form the letters of their sacred texts. This is particularly the case with Judaism. We visit with three scribes in three very different corners of Jewish faith—Jerusalem; New York City’s Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn; and the liberal enclave of Berkeley, California—to understand why people still go to all this trouble. Along the way, we walk across the religious aisle to the Muslim world to see what happens to the Urdu language of India and Pakistan when its script gets computerized.
By BRYCE T. BAUER
With LYNN HOLSTEIN, TODD OPPENHEIMER, and ALI ETERAZ
On the leafy edge of residential San Francisco, a simple Greek revival building that once served as a church for Christian Scientists has been transformed into the library of the future. Behold the world’s only Internet Archive—home to 11 million books and texts, 279 billion web pages, 100,000 software programs, and 120 statuettes, just to name a few of its holdings.
By TIM REDMOND
Photography by JESSICA BRANDI LIFLAND
One would think that the invention of digital lettering for our commercial signs—on everything from shops to billboards—was nothing but an industrial step forward. As it’s turned out, yesteryear’s signs, which were all painted by hand, offered a beauty and personality that today’s automated version has been unable to duplicate; more important, a hand-made sign lasts much longer. Our correspondent explores what’s left of the old tradition, and stumbles on small but lively seeds of revival.
By LAURA FRASER
Photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN