Global Showcase: The Transformative Skills Of Traditional Artisans

Artisans across the planet have been creating gorgeous, practical, and culturally significant works of craft for centuries. From Japan to Italy, and Iran to Mexico, here's some short videos demonstrating these artisans working their magical transformations!


The artisan's hand above, captured in the midst of detailed work, provides a good metaphor for today's post. Traditional artisan skills are recognized by UNESCO as part of humanity's intangible cultural heritage, deserving of admiration and preservation. There are too many amazing skill-sets around the world to cover in a single post, so this will be the first of an on-going series. Watch for other traditional artisan skills to be showcased periodically in the future.

Japan: Creating Buildings that Last for Centuries Without Nails - Without a single nail or screw, Japanese woodworkers use a centuries-old method of joinery called kanawatsugi (金輪継) to build some of the world’s longest-lasting wooden buildings. Watch a contemporary building being constructed using these traditional Japanese methods here.
Iran: Traditional Carpet Weaving in Kashan - Long famous for making some of the finest, most beautiful rugs in the world, the artisans of Kashan showcase their skills.
Mexico: Watch Beautiful Mexican Pottery Emerge from Clay - A family of glazed pottery artists demonstrate the process behind their exquisite artistry.
Spain: The Soulful Art of a Flamenco Guitar - These exquisite guitars are made in a humble basement workshop in Madrid by third-generation of artisans.
China: Dragon Scale Bookbinding - This amazing scale-like binding style for books first appeared during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE).
Indonesia: Balinese Double Ikat Textiles - Visit the Balinese village of Tenganan to discover how double ikat textiles, known as "geringsing," are made.
Botswana: Earthenware Pottery-Making - This process starts with literal rocks on its way to a lovely result!
Mexico: San Agustin Oapan - Finally, a reminder that, for most traditional artisans worldwide, there are no gallery shows, no online sales. Follow these women from San Agustin Oapan, Guerrero, as they make high-quality ceramics and market them. The video is in Spanish, but you don't need to know the language to follow the story as it unfolds. Beginning at about 3:40 in the video, however, it's good to understand that one of the women is forced to reduce her price below what she considers fair in order to make the sale.