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TCI-TAGLINE-1As the importance of manual work has declined, we’ve seen an erosion of an entire culture of skills, and way of thinking, that once brought creativity, meaning, and a visceral sense of satisfaction to the everyday lives of millions. The Craftsmanship Initiative stands for those determined to create a world built to last. We focus on how craftsmanship’s approach to excellence and its blend of the arts, industry, and science can provide people with opportunities to use their heads, hands, and hearts, in their work and in our culture at large.

In our journal, Craftsmanship Quarterly, you will find dozens of original stories covering traditional artisans as well as innovators in fields not typically associated with less modern definitions of craftsmanship. In the coming year, we have plans to expand our programs to include immersive events, apprenticeships,  and scholarships.

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Check out the new Fall issue of Craftsmanship Quarterly: Fashion’s Bi-Polar Future!

As mass-market clothing prices drop and the number of new items, in new styles and new materials, only expands, the fashion industry faces a serious question: Is truly sustainable fashion even possible? Maybe, but not in the ways you might expect. Welcome to our Fall issue, where you’ll also meet a rare “jewelry archaeologist,” an expert at restoring classic VWs, and other surprises in the coming weeks.

Goat herd image courtesy of Siizu, one of hundreds of new eco-fashion brands that have sprung up in the last decade.

Eco-Fashion’s Animal Rights Delusion

When you put on a stylish jacket made of rayon, vegan leather, or even recycled plastic, are you sure you’re helping the planet more than if you bought one made of animal leather? In this journey down a very twisted rabbit hole, Alden Wicker—a frequent writer, blogger, and speaker on sustainable fashion—finds answers that may not be particularly comfortable for the animal rights movement.

Story by Alden Wicker. Photo courtesy of Siizu.


“I have no cognitive memory of not making things,” Kohl says. “I have paintings in my house that I painted when I was four years old.” Nonetheless, Kohl admits, “I’m not what those original hub cutters were, even though I aspire to be.” Photo by Preston Slaughter

The Jewelry Archeologist

In the middle of the Shenandoah Valley, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Hugo Kohl has pulled off what might be the ultimate act of sustainability—at least regarding jewelry. Through years of painstaking, costly, often fruitless detective work, he rescued an era of early American jewelry manufacturing technology that was on the brink of extinction. Now Kohl is one of the few people in the world making a class of vintage jewelry that is truly authentic. And he swears that the system in his shop is the only way to do capitalism.

Story by Alison Main. Photo by Preston Slaughter.


Other Topics in this Issue:

A complete rebuild of an old VW Beetle will add several thousand useful miles, but it won’t put a lot of extra muscle in the original 40 hp power plant.

The VW Doctor Is In

In a tin shed that has survived California’s massive fires in Sonoma Valley, Gary Freeman keeps old VW Beetles and vans – the cars that defined the counterculture of the 1960s – still chugging. This is not merely an act of nostalgia. When old VWs get auctioned overseas, they can sell for more than $200,000.

Story by Owen Edwards. Photo by Andrew Sullivan.