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The Kayak’s Cultural Journey

For millennia, indigenous peoples across the world have built and used wooden skin boats to fish and hunt, for sport and travel, even for warfare. Skin kayaks are the unique product of Arctic peoples, but nonindigenous admirers of the craft are making them, too. Does that matter?

By SIMON MORRIS

Watch “Mike Morgan’s Quest to Make Traditional Skin Boats”

Mike Morgan’s fascination with small, traditional watercraft dates back to the ’80s. Building on his decades of experience as a musical instrument maker and repairer, Morgan set out to deconstruct and understand the ancient kayak designs so he could make his own authentic boats.

Listen to “The Lost Art of Traditional Bow Hunting”

As interest in hunting with a bow and arrow has risen, much of the gear has gone high-tech. Meanwhile, a small band of purists like Gabriel Miossi have turned to a traditional Native American weapon: the stick bow.

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 “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.

New Mexico’s Modern Saint-Makers

The carving and painting of santos, or devotional art, is one of the oldest living folk art traditions in the U.S., dating back some 400 years. As Semana Santa (Holy Week) marks the holiest of days for millions of Christians around the globe, we talked with several of New Mexico’s modern santeros — and santeras…

Listen to “Do the Most Interesting Musical Pipes Come from Ireland?”

While Scotland is branded by its famous Highland bagpipes, Ireland has long made a very different kind that plays a much wider range of music. Meet the indefatigable, obsessive masters of Irish uilleann pipes.

The Hidden Powers of The Forcola

How can a single oar give orders to a 36-foot boat that weighs 350 kilos (772 pounds) and why does the gondola obey? The answer is the forcola (FOUR-koh-la), the gondola’s oarlock, which is characterized by a unique, serpentine shape and is made of nothing more than wood. Each rowing position on each type of…

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