With gumption, insight, and brilliant use of social media, a few guys in Virginia built an operation that makes what could be the world’s finest toolbelts. In the process, they have also built a community that is bringing new respect for those who work in the trades.
Story by LORRAINE SANDERS
Photography by SOPHIA BAIN
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
For generations, the Isbell family of Arkansas has been tinkering with innovations in rice farming. They were the first American farmers to grow elite varieties for sushi and sake, and have also pioneered rice cultivation methods that can conserve water and slow climate change.
Story by DAVID RAMSEY
Photography by KAT WILSON
Since the 16th century, Cremona’s luthiers—including Stradivari himself—have been using an unusually resonant wood from Paneveggio, known as Italy’s “violin forest,” to handcraft the world’s finest string instruments. Then a 2018 storm decimated the forest. A band of experts in Cremona is now rallying to save this iconic tradition. A documentary short.
Film by LUISA GROSSO
The word artisanal has become so shopworn that it’s almost devoid of meaning. (To wit: we once saw a pizza outlet on the outskirts of a small town in northern France that was fashioned in the style of an ATM-kiosk under the following sign: “Artisanal Pizza.”) In stark contrast to this sorry state of affairs, we would like to suggest a few items for holiday shopping made by some of the masters we profiled in 2019.
By EDITORS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP QUARTERLY
While Scottish culture is branded by its famous Highland bagpipes, its neighbor across the water has long made a very different set of pipes that plays a much wider range of music. Our correspondent visits the indefatigable, obsessive masters of the uilleann pipes.
Story by LARRY GALLAGHER
Photography by RUTH CARDEN
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
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
Only a handful of artisans still practice the centuries-old craft of rust printing on fabric. Of those who do, even fewer use the traditional stone mangle, or press, on handwoven, raw hemp fabric, yielding textiles that last for centuries. The Marchi family print-works, in Italy’s Romagna region, may well be the only place left in the world that still produces authentic, rust-printed textiles that are fully handmade.
Story and Film by LUISA GROSSO