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Watch “The Ancient Mangle of Santarcangelo di Romagna”

In a tiny town on Italy’s Northeastern coast, the Marchi family printworks may be the world’s last shop to produce handmade, rust-printed textiles from raw hemp, using a massive stone press dating to the 1600s.

Italy’s Ancient Textile-Printing Mangle

Only a handful of artisans still practice the centuries-old craft of rust printing on fabric. Of those who do, even fewer use the traditional stone mangle, or press, on handwoven, raw hemp fabric, yielding textiles that can last for centuries. The Marchi family printworks, in Italy’s Romagna region, may well be the only place left in the world that still produces authentic, rust-printed textiles that are fully handmade.

Story and Film by LUISA GROSSO

Watch “The Book Doctor”

Master book restorer Pietro Livi couldn’t find the right equipment to save large numbers of Italy’s priceless, flood-damaged texts. So he created a “Renaissance workshop” of experts from a variety of disciplines, and designed his own.

Italy’s Book Doctor

In the city of Bologna, home to the world’s oldest university (as well as some of Italy’s finest cuisine), Pietro Livi has developed an unusual machine shop. Part artisanal and part high-tech, his operation is a kind of Renaissance workshop, built to restore damaged ancient texts to their former glory. And then came Venice’s historic floods of 2019.

By LUISA GROSSO

Listen to “The Soul of French Invention”

An American woodworker’s love affair with “the best” (and perhaps least-known) sculpture museum in Paris—and what the affair taught him.

The Soul of French Invention

Woodworker and author Gary Rogowski makes the case for the Musée des Arts et Métiers as Paris’ best museum, and offers a guide to its extensive holdings.

By GARY ROGOWSKI

Listen to “The Wizard of Old Wheels”

As today’s motorcycles become more high-tech, the simplicity of a vintage bike becomes more appealing. Among the simplest are Japanese models from the 1970s, particularly the Hondas. That’s why people visit Dave Stefani, whose San Francisco shop looks like a mechanical surgery ward.

Listen to “Is Digital Craftsmanship an Oxymoron?”

On a funky old pier along San Francisco’s waterfront, Autodesk, a world leader in digital tools for makers, runs a futuristic prototype shop that may be redefining the meaning of craftsmanship.

Listen to “The VW Doctor is In”

In a corrugated tin shed that somehow survived California’s massive fires in Sonoma Valley, Gary Freeman labors to keep old VW Beetles and vans—the cars that defined the counterculture of the 1960s—chugging along. Some become great “daily drivers” for as little as $15,000; some get auctioned for more than $200,000. It’s all part of one…

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