The Craftsmanship Initiative

The Craftsmanship Initiative
Welcome to our podcast! We are a nonprofit, multi-media digital magazine focusing on in-depth profiles of intriguing artisans and innovators across the globe — makers who are creating a world built to last. If you enjoy listening to long-form narratives, our audio recordings are for you. We partnered with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) and several of its MFA students to produce audio versions of some of our most popular stories of craftsmanship and mastery. To support this project, please consider making a donation — it’s tax-deductible!

When Indigenous Women Win
Sep 19 • 22 min
In the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, a band of determined indigenous women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory revived the town’s traditional livelihood, and ushered in a model form of self-government. When Indigenous Women Win,…
The Jewelry Archaeologist
Aug 29 • 44 min
Through years of painstaking, often combative detective work, Hugo Kohl rescued an era of early American jewelry manufacturing technology that was on the brink of extinction. And what Kohl makes with these old machines turns out to be superior, in many…
How Far Can Beer Science Go?
Aug 15 • 22 min
Where else would you expect to find a band of techno-scientific craft beer geeks, except in the industrial side of San Francisco, ground zero for startups? Join our fermentation correspondent as she travels to the outer edges of beer flavors with the boys…
The Watchman of Lausanne
Jul 26 • 13 min
For more than six centuries, a lone figure—part guard, part human angel—has circled the bell tower every night in the Cathedral of Lausanne, calling out the hour. For the last 28 years, it’s been Renato Häusler’s turn. High above the ancient city, Häusler…
The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master
Jun 28 • 24 min
Gelato, it turns out, is a very different creature from ice cream. And there are reasons that the best gelato tastes so creamy yet somehow still light—and indescribably perfect. In honor of summer, we delve into the secrets of artisanal gelato-making from…
The Art of the Joke
May 24 • 22 min
When you watch masterful stand-up comics perform, they seem just naturally hilarious. Don’t kid yourself; this is hard work — a craft like making anything else of value. “The Art of the Joke”, written by David Munro, originally appeared in Craftsmanship…
The Architecture of Trust
May 10 • 26 min
A quick glance at today’s hyperventilated political climate delivers an unmistakable message: We don’t know how to talk with each other anymore. A linguistics expert searches for ways that Americans of different beliefs can start believing in each other…
Eco-Fashion’s Animal Rights Delusion
Feb 8 • 34 min
In this exploration of the hidden stories behind materials such as wool and rayon, silk and polyester, and vegan leather, Alden Wicker — a frequent writer, blogger, and speaker on sustainable fashion — finds some inconvenient truths about the animal…
The Drought Fighter
Jan 30 • 67 min
Could a small, controversial farmer in California have found the most effective way to grow food in a warming world? With only minimal irrigation, and gross profits of more than $100,000 an acre, Paul Kaiser certainly thinks so. “The Drought Fighter”,…