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Listen to “Let Tinkerbell Tinker”

As the economy’s reliance on innovation grows, the offering of toys for girls remains–well, somewhat less than innovative. Fortunately, a few smart women are starting to solve this problem by reviving the time-honored principles of tinkering, this time for girls.

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

View “The Blacksmithing Artist”

Blacksmithing, an art as old as the evolution of humanity, is once again seeing an upsurge in popularity, as craft schools, small workshops, and YouTube videos introduce a new generation to the joy of pounding metal. The smiths who came of age in the back-to-the-land resurgence of the ’70s are the elders now, passing down…

Spoonism

“How I stumbled upon the world’s most perfect eating utensil”: Owen Edwards pays homage to the humble, essential spoon, particularly the version designed by the legendary Massimo Vignelli.

By OWEN EDWARDS
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG

The Wootz Hunter

Sometime in the 1800s, long after the Persians had beaten back the Crusaders, the technique for making the mighty swords that won those battles was mysteriously lost. In the centuries that followed, Europe’s best metallurgists repeatedly tried to revive this craft, with no luck. Then, in the 1980s, a lone horseshoer in Florida named Al Pendray started tinkering with steel recipes. A Craftsmanship mini-documentary

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

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.

The World’s Greatest Goldbeater

Marino Menegazzo spends his days hammering gold leaf into sheets so fine that your slightest touch will make them dissolve. His workshop—a simple brick building hidden on one of Venice’s myriad piazzas—was once the home and studio of Titian, Italy’s immortal Renaissance painter. Come visit with the world’s last true master of handmade gold leaf—an ancient craft where the hand can still beat the machine, every time.

By ERLA ZWINGLE

Listen to “Occupy Your Bathroom”

One man’s quiet fight to save your face, your bank account, and the environment from an endless case of shaving rash.

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