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craft

it has been quiet here for too long due to this annoying flue that I can’t seem to get rid of. On the upside, being stuck at home gave me plenty of time to finally watch all those movies and documentaries that I had saved for a lazy sunday. Among them, this documentary on Hermes that gives insight into how all those beautiful leather goods are made: by hand and with the utmost care and knowledge. Here is craftsmanship for you.

please watch all 9 minutes and 11 seconds of this short movie from Ben Proudfoot on two neighboring shops in Los Angeles that have been selling paper and letterpress for over ninety years. It will show you how all that is handmade is beautiful and needs our appreciation. Today there are so many young and talented people who are becoming craftsmen, which is great, but I cannot shake the feeling that in that process we are forgetting about the original craftsmen

Blue Jeans 2Blue Jeans 2Blue Jeans 3Blue Jeans 4blue jeansapparently the Monday that starts the last full week of January is called blue Monday. It is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Even though it is still early January, last Wednesday felt pretty blue to me. Partly because of the weather – not a single ray of sunshine and drizzling rain – but mostly because I finally went to see the latest exhibition in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht called Blue Jeans. Not that it made me feel blue, far from it. From pieces of denim trousers dating from the end of the nineteenth century found in American mines to an Yves Saint Laurent denim trouser suit and contemporary glue jeansyou’ll find them all at this exhibition.

The exhibition is made up around a few themes, such as the history of jeans, sustainability, street wear and craft. The last is being illustrated live by Koen Tossijn from Atelier Tossijn who makes jeans that are made to measure. He has a traveling workshop and during the running of the exhibition you can find his atelier at the museum, as part of the exhibition. While I was there, he was working on the waistband of a beautiful pair of hand made blue jeans.

Nowadays, you really can’t talk about fashion without taking into account the subject of sustainability. Blue Jeans is no exception and with a special room dedicated to the subject, the museum really made an effort to bring new technologies to the attention of the public. What I liked best though, was that the overall exhibition invigorated my love for my own blue jeans. It stresses how denim gets better with age. How you really have to wear it, take care of it and stay away from too much washing and detergent (how we wash our clothes is a big part of their ecological footprint). If you invest in a pair of denim, not with money but by wearing it constantly, it will reward you by becoming the softest pair of pants that carries your personal history with it. And is there anything more sustainable than simple wearing the clothes you have, instead of always buying new ones? I don’t think so.

 

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I am a great supporter of all young, talented people turning to the world of craftsmanship lately. This brings back the personal in all we consume and hopefully it will help us learn to appreciate quality again after years and years of spending our money on ill constructed products from unknown origins. One of those people is Amsterdam based Petra van Roon who taught herself the dying profession of being a barber.

In her perfectly designed shop Barber in the centre of Amsterdam, she offers trims and touch-ups of beards/moustaches, complete head shaves and facial massages, all presented under names like the Dude or the Hemmingway. Only for the guys, of course.

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Rainer Spehl’s laptop cases are hand made and absolutely beautiful. The video shows Spehl in his workshop showcasing the craftsmanship with which he makes his cases. Anything that is made with such care and attention deserves to be used with the same amount of care and attention. For a long period of time.

no matter how smart my phone is or will get in the future, I will never use it as a digital diary. Nothing beats the good old pen and paper to write down the things I must remember.

Same goes for books. No e-readers please, just give me the real deal. I want to be able to smell the ink and feel the paper.

This video shows how books are made by hand. Pay attention to the actual hands that are on show. I love how they are aged and mature.