From brewers and carpenters to manufacturers of Damascus steel knives – the range of traditional trades is broad and varied. At least it used to be, before modern production processes gradually replaced the manual work and one product resembled another. The individual touch was lost. Nevertheless, the longing for character continues. It is therefore no surprise that individually hand-made products are once again enjoying greater popularity. We visited seven different traditional craft businesses that have remained true to their legacy and, on top of that, have managed to keep their finger on the pulse with new, original ideas.
We start with the common materials such as wood, stone and leather. The young Briton Ted Jefferis is a carpenter, designer and architect. He prefers to make furniture in his own family workshop, thus continuing the tradition in the fourth generation. His award-winning designer pieces not only have unusual shapes, but are also particularly durable, which Ted wants to use to set an example against our disposable society.
Harald Quast has specialized in designer furniture. However, the graduate engineer probably knows little about woodworking. His products are made of stone. Wait, stone furniture? That’s right! With the help of a stone saw, Quast has already made beds, tables, bedside tables and much more from shell limestone, which is mined on his doorstep in the outskirts of Würzburg.
It gets a little more conventional when we look at the work of the Irishman Garvan de Bruir. In Kildare, a small town near Dublin known for its leather craftsmanship, Garvan creates various handmade goods from this timeless material – from bags and accessories to jackets. His products are above all simple, functional and durable, emphasizes the Irishman.
True tradition can also be experienced in the food industry. The brewing of craft beer, usually produced outside breweries, has become a real trend. Timm and Mario from Munich were also inspired by this. Since they could hardly taste the difference between the German beer brands, they tried their hand at the art of brewing. Today they run their own brewery.
The organic bakery Glaab is also located in Schwandorf, Bavaria. Since its foundation almost 70 years ago, the small handicraft business has been in family ownership. The company is characterized by its special mixture of traditional baking craftsmanship and progressive service offers, such as the “bread box” that can be ordered online.
Finally, we would like to dedicate ourselves to even more special traditional crafts. For example, the production of Damascus-style kitchen knives. A team of three, consisting of Jon, James and Richard, ventured into this art and built up the cutlery Blenheim Forge in the south of London. They made their first knife without any previous knowledge just with the help of YouTube videos. Now they can compare their products with the legendary traditional craftsmanship from Damascus.
You do not necessarily think of a craft when looking at a brightly colored neon lettering in a bar. In fact, this is a modern interpretation of the endangered art of glass blowing. The Englishman Andy Doig shows us how he brings (neon) light into darkness with artistic creations and installations.