When Bob Kramer decided it was time to make his own cutlery, he had no idea that his career turn would take him deep into the secret lives of knives. Now he’s established a reputation as one of the most revered bladesmiths in the world—playing David to the Goliath cutlery manufacturers of Germany and Japan.
Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by MICHAEL MATISSE and MARTY NAKAYAMA
After suffering a year of twin terrors—historic floods and the Covid pandemic—the makers of Venice’s legendary gondolas are struggling to survive. To understand the unique design, history, and mystery behind this much-loved boat, our correspondent spent a year with Roberto Dei Rossi, one of the city’s last master gondola makers.
By ERLA ZWINGLE
Over the years, the technology for rifles, scopes, and other hunting gear has gotten so powerful there’s little challenge left in the sport. Hunting with a bow and arrow, therefore, has been steadily rising. But now that even hunting bows have gone high-tech, a small band of purists — like Gabriel Miossi — have turned to a traditional Native American weapon: the stick bow.
By MEGHAN WARD
Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.
By JEFF GREENWALD
Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS
In his new book “Material: Making and the Art of Transformation”, master furniture maker and designer Nick Kary explores the roots of craft, through stories of makers and their essential materials.
By WILLIAM BRYANT LOGAN
A review of “Material: Making and the Art of Transformation,” by Nick Kary (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020)
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
Brian Boggs is a fine furniture maker in Asheville, N.C., and he just can’t seem to leave a good idea alone. The result has been a lifetime of tinkering and experimentation, leading to a line of innovative woodworking tools, and some of the world’s finest, and most comfortable, hardwood chairs.
By JANINE LATUS
Photography by MICHAEL OPPENHEIM
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
A small, quiet army of historians, scientists, and restoration experts are putting the pieces of Portugal’s past together again, one gorgeous tile at a time. Their efforts are being helped by a new generation of artists, who are starting to re-invent an art form that has defined Portuguese culture since the 13th century.
Story and Photography by CASEY O’BRIEN