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The American Folk School Movement and ‘Slow Economics’

Rather than looking to big corporate employers like Walmart for economic stability, could more rural communities in the U.S. welcome a slower growing, more sustainable economic partner? Editor’s note: This story was originally published in our Winter 2022 issue. This version includes updated statistics and other factual information. (Top photo courtesy of John C. Campbell…

The Apprenticeship Ambivalence

Amidst political discussion about expanding apprenticeships in the U.S., two contradictory realities persist. One is a changing landscape, in both school and work, that increasingly needs a sound apprenticeship system; the other is the refusal by many parents to understand why a formal apprenticeship might make more sense for their children—and their finances—than four years of college.


Jack Mauch: A New Renaissance Man

Craftsman Jack Mauch, still in his 30s, is 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.


Watch “The Future Is Handmade”

A Dutch archaeologist finds artisans and thought leaders who are redefining craft, skill and, ultimately, the real meaning of a knowledge economy. A Craftsmanship mini-documentary.

Listen to “Can Japan’s Akiya Movement Rebuild Rural Communities?”

In Japan, an aging population, declining birthrate, and a concentrating of jobs in the major cities, has left rural areas across the Japanese countryside littered with abandoned houses—known as akiya, or “empty homes.” Now, a movement is on the rise to repurpose and enliven them with artistry and craft. 

Listen to “From Bicycles to ‘Pedal Steel’ Guitars: One Maker’s Quirky Frontiers”

Ross Shafer made his mark creating a popular brand of mountain bikes, called Salsa, and a line of small but crucial bicycle parts that no one had brought to the market before. Now he’s making what might be the world’s most beautiful “pedal steel guitar.” Could Shafer’s relentless eclecticism offer a model for a second…

Listen to “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 late, great Massimo Vignelli.

Listen to “The Puppeteer”

Michael Montenegro is driven to put the products of his imagination into tangible, active forms. After he builds them—often in life-size form, with a rag-tag collage of materials—he becomes them, lives inside them, then delivers them to us with a zany vigor.

Listen to “The Value of Time”

When an American-made quartz watch costs up to $1,500 and its counterparts from other countries, including Switzerland, range from $50 to more than $50,000, what’s the difference between them?