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The Beauty of a Timeless Rowboat

Centuries ago, a fleet of rowboats called Whitehalls plied the waters of the San Francisco Bay, helping the chandlers at their helms ferry goods to and from the giant sailing ships working the city’s port. Today, descendants of those early crafts are being built, rowed, and occasionally put to work on the same waters.

A documentary short by WENDY “PEPPER” SCHUSS
Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER

Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers

When a Disney film, “Coco,” spotlighted a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars, it suddenly made ornate, white guitars famous. Underneath the new pop icon, however, lies a variety of much finer instruments—and a rich craft going back generations.

Story by LAURA FRASER
Photography and videography by ANDREW SULLIVAN

Listen to “Mexico’s Master Guitar Makers”

The now iconic white guitar made famous by the Disney film “Coco” was created in Paracho, a small Mexican town where almost every shop makes guitars. Underneath the new icon lay centuries of craftsmanship.

View “How Bows, Arrows, and Arrowheads Get Made”

Listen to “The Cigar Box Guitar Maker”

When a promising rock musician tired of the road and the pressure, he gave up music and got a job at a hardware store. Then one day, he had a revelation.

Watch “The Violins of Cremona”

Since the 16th century, Cremona’s luthiers—including Stradivari himself—have been using a particularly resonant wood from Paneveggio, known as Italy’s “violin forest,” to handcraft the world’s finest violins. Then a 2018 storm decimated the forest. A band of experts in Cremona is now rallying to save this iconic tradition.

Watch “Master of the Chair”

In this short video, we watch Boggs use (and discuss) his wood rail bender, which does the work that normally requires two or three people. After the bending, he moves the wood to “the hot room”: 116-120 degrees, 16 percent humidity. (He also uses the hot room to dry mullein and stinging nettle for tea.)

Prince Charles Redefines Originality

In a small brick building in East London, in a school developed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, students from around the world are giving new life to a set of artistic principles that have been nearly lost. Their work is helping to revive a number of nearly obsolete skills in art, architecture, and manufacturing, with a new tilt toward sustainability.

By TODD OPPENHEIMER

Can Japan’s Akiya Movement Rebuild Rural Communities?

While rural Japan may not be the first place one envisions as a production site for medieval and Renaissance-era instruments from Europe and Central Asia, this was precisely the craft of master instrument-builder Kōhaku Matsumoto, founder of the Catherina Early Musical Instruments Workshop. Matsumoto originally established his studio in Tokyo in 1972, then relocated in…

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