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The Wisdom of a Veteran Beekeeper

Spencer Marshall is the proprietor of Marshall’s Honey, one of the biggest and most widely distributed artisanal honey brands in the San Francisco Bay Area. At his peak, Marshall had roughly 500 colonies scattered around Napa, Marin, and Solano counties. Now, at the age of 76, Marshall still maintains 350 colonies at more than a…

Prisoner Rehabilitation, Italian Style—through Winemaking

In 2012, Maria Grazia Giampiccolo sent an email to the directors of more than 100 Italian wineries asking for help producing wine on the smallest island off Tuscany, Italy, where a hectare of grapevines were languishing. Both the island and the request were unusual: Giampiccolo is the director of the penitentiary on Gorgona, a pristine…

Resources on Independent Perfume & Perfumery

The rich world of independent perfumery can inspire fragrance lovers to engage in many ways. To help you follow your nose, so to speak, here are some of the best resources for both the curious and the committed, regarding the craft of scent-making. First, shoppers can get a whiff of the artisanal perfumes crafted by…

When Indigenous Women Win

In a small, indigenous Mexican community in the mountains of Michoacán, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.

Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

Straw Bale Construction: The Ultra-Ecological House

Every few years, discussions about using straw as a building material, in bale form, come up again. Now, as our environmental challenges mount—from wildfires to hurricanes—straw bales seem to offer an answer to a good many of them. As we step into October, and the one-year anniversary of Northern California’s first wave of historic fires, it’s time to ask: Has the straw bale’s time finally come?

By MEA MCNEIL

Folk Art on Steroids

For 15 years, the world’s folk art makers and enthusiasts have gathered, en masse, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to celebrate the possible when it comes to indigenous craftsmanship. This summer, in just three days, some 21,000 people spent $3.3 million to show that traditional artisans still matter.

Story by DEBORAH BUSEMEYER
Photography by KITTY LEAKEN

The Hidden Powers of a Sheep

While the fashion industry continues to produce more and more clothing made from synthetics, with all their harmful effects, we’ve ignored the wonders of wool. The material is natural, durable, and endlessly renewable; more important, its creators (the sheep) can help regenerate the world’s drying, fire-prone landscapes. Fortunately, a wool revival seems to be underway.

By JUDITH D. SCHWARTZ

The New Sign Painters

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

A Tale of Two Vermouths

In a small town outside Torino, Italy, the age-old Vermouth giant, Martini & Rossi has turned this beverage into a model of what might be called industrial spirits craftsmanship. Our correspondent goes visiting, then returns stateside to watch a small one-man shop create the modern artisanal version. What are differences, and why do they matter?

By LAURA FRASER

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