I AM INTO THIS. Who are the Cambridge Satchel Company and why should we care? The company started in 2008, and they sell old-style 1950s/60s era British school satchels. Originally meant for kids (the founder states, "I honestly thought that it would be schoolchildren and parents buying my bags!"), the satchels have become a more modest and budget-friendly alternative to designer bags. As a small startup company, they relied on enthusiastic word-of-mouth from the internet to bolster their profits; Deane states,"I think online was the only way that we could really engage and get traction really quickly" (warning: autoplaying video). This is the perfect storm of internet obsession: you click the link, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. [more inside]
“San Francisco's Fire Department is one of the few left in the United States that still uses wooden ladders. Each is made by hand at a dedicated workshop. Some have been in rotation for nearly a century.” [more inside]
"Six Barbies, two cans of primer, two cans of Stone paint, four bags of feathers, less than half a yard of fabric, (a Dremel), miles of hot glue, and a shit-ton of patience." The result: Weeping Barbie Angels.
Artist Nobutaka Aozaki is creating a map of Manhattan made up entirely of hand-drawn maps given to him by strangers, which he solicits by asking for directions. The project, called From Here to There, is ongoing, and currently the main map is roughly 3' by 10'.
"That was sort of a triumphant, 'fuck you,' to build a bike with no seat and keep riding." The experience of custom bike-builder Ezra Caldwell is chronicled in a 12 minute documentary by the folks at This Is Made By Hand, and also on Ezra's own blog, teaching cancer to cry. This Is Made By Hand, previously. [more inside]
Throughout the printing process the human printer assumes the role of the machine and is therefore controlled and restricted by the process of using CMYK halftones created on the computer.
Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
The creation of a stunningly beautiful smoking pipe.
Craftsmen and women, some of them the last of their breed, making their art by hand and profiled in beautiful short-form videos: Knifemaker. Ornamental glass artist (previously). Master printer . Swordguard maker (previously). Beekeeper and honey maker. Stone lettercarvers. Carmaker. More, and related, at This Is Made By Hand, FolkStreams.net and (less related, but still wonderful) eGarage.
Portrait of a Handmade Artisan: Korehira Watanabe The Sword Maker (one of a number of films by Etsy) [more inside]
In Tonsberg, Norway, they are building a Viking Ship. By hand, using the same tools and processes the vikings used. [more inside]
The IOWEYOU project. You can't go to a shop and buy these clothes. Because each textile is unique they have an app that allows you to trace your garment right back through the production process to the actual weaver that hand-wove the fabric. You can see some of the delightful people involved in the project at their YouTube channel.
"I am someone who has never taken an art class in my life...I didn't think I had an artistic bone in my body and never thought of myself as creative." Neat book art made with folds and an exacto knife from Isaac Salazar, who, according to his Flickr bio, is an accountant in New Mexico. [Via boingboing and Core77] [more inside]
OMG it's a huuuge hand drawn map of London. And with psychogeographical annotations too! [more inside]
Apartment Therapy, the multi-city shelter blog, generally seems to have an audience that's more Martha Stewart Living than Make. But their Home Hacks 2010 collects lots of little HOWTOs that are totally geek friendly, from "How to Build an Indoor Fort" and "How to Deduct Your Electronic Gear from Your Taxes" to "How to Clean Your Jeans Without Water." (Sure, that last one is meant for designer jeans, but who says you can't use it for your Levi's?)
Electric Junkyard Gamelan is the brainchild of bandleader and composer Terry Dame, and fuses Dame's passions of composing, inventing and building. Originally inspired by traditional Gamelan music from Bali, the group recycles and repurposes everyday objects into musical instruments. While some of their songs do indeed resemble the hypnotic percussive melodies of a Balinese/Javanese gamelan orchestra (The Nutbutter Challenge), other tunes strike out into new, distinctly urban American directions (Ode to Fred Beans). Following the band's motto, "Reuse, Recycle and ROCK," instruments are fashioned from coat hangers and rubber bands, bed frames, old farm equipment, turntable platters, clay pots, saw blades and truck springs. The "Big Barp" rubber-band harp makes a particularly unusual sound. [more inside]
There are few things a man needs in life: a sense of purpose and ambition, a clean bill of health, and a fully detailed hand-sewn puppet of himself. Puppet Artists, Marnie & Bill Winn, create soft sculpted puppets that range from real people (from their photographs), to celebrities, to storybook and fantasy characters. PA also makes similarly detailed sets of 4-inch-tall finger puppets. (via)
DB Clay, the Portland based artisanal wallet maker, illustrates their financial fall and rebirth in a 20 minute artumentary.
By now, you've probably heard of Etsy (previously), a website that has been called a "crafty cross between Amazon and Ebay." The site is enormously popular, among women in particular, but some are asking is the buy handmade movement a good thing? Does the site peddle a false feminist fantasy?
Pencil Rebel is a little bitty point-n-click interactive adventure hand-wired with LEDs and simple circuit boards, and made with hand-cut and decorated cardboard, plasticine, string, and other household odd and ends. The artist, Grzegorz Kozakiewicz, has also made a (with spoilers!) video showing his process.
A supportive blogging community of mainly women cross-linked on each other's blogrolls and leading an increasingly compelling marketplace of small-scale goods and handmade lives , green-living ideas , product promotion , and lifestyle-making suggest that the internet may be able to foster a localized economy model of living on an international scale--or at least gain the attention of that other idyllic-life icon. [more inside]
"Your dog will need to be a pitbull shaped dog around 65 lbs or Ill need your dog here in person to get the right fit." Armor with a personal touch. A full suit of armor for $610! And you your pitbull shaped dog can even match. Oh, and in case you share a hobby with the janitor from Scrubs, you can get this as well. [more inside]
I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me. Why? Better gifting experience, better ethics, better for the environment.
Hand drawn Tarot Cards created by a Boris Kobe, a prisoner at Allach Concentration Camp, a sub-camp of Dachau. Each card depcits an aspect of life in the camp - click each image for high-res versions.
What the world creates by hand. The sons of a Peace Corps member, Roberto and Andy Milk had a lifelong interest in artisans in developing countries. They teamed up with Armenia Nercessian, a UN human-rights officer, to create Novica.com, an online marketplace that sells the work of more than 10,000 craftspeople. While Novica operates chiefly in association with National Geographic, NPR also helps to promote them.
A Fresh, Clean Sheet Of Paper: Is anything you can't make love to, eat or sip, more sensual and inviting? In the age of the Internet, fine paper - specially if it's handmade - seems to become ever more precious. Writing or sketching on its slighly grainy texture, sliding ink along its invisible grooves (almost independently of the result...) is an extravagant indulgence; a romantic gesture; an almost guiltless pleasure. And something you can do yourself, satisfying that deep recycling urge, perhaps. A quick tour around some of the outstanding manufacturers and dealers - Fabriano; Canson; Pineider and Twinrocker, for example - will silkily reassure those of us whose pens trembled and blotted with the first mentions of a paperless future. Will it ever come? Unlike so many things in life, the rarer it gets, the better and, paradoxically, the more individual (nice set of paper links here) it becomes. (*imagines a complete multi-handwritten version of MetaFilter on good paper of all sizes and types and instantly snaps out of the daydream, as it reminds him too damn much of his attic*)
It's brilliant, or at least reflective and translucent. Fetosoap.com has started selling body products containing little fetuses. But don't worry; no children were harmed in the making of this soap, or this bar with conjoined twins. The creator doesn't claim any political motivation, but that's easy to superimpose. Good idea? Poor taste? Both?
Ugly money : burnt bills, Santa singles, good time greenbacks, bodacious bum bucks and then some. On a related but cool note, conceptual currency.
Illuminated manuscripts are truly a joy to behold. And there are a remarkable number of them available on the web for your viewing pleasure. The most famous illuminated MS is the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. For galleries with multiple images, try the resources at DScriptorium, Web Gallery of Art, and the Leaves of Gold exhibition. Elyse Boucher's page is a work-in-progress detailing the history and methods of illuminating books, with both images and secondary sources; see also Sue Wood's Art and Books page.