V. VALE & THE CRAFT MOVEMENT, CONT.

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We’ve been talking here at the shop, lately, about the groundswell of the Craft Movement happening all around us. Handmade jeans, typography and sign painting, graphic design, metalshaping, small-batch hard liquor, vintage ‘motoring’-inspired wool sweaters, hand-bound books, private-recipe hair pomade, the Slow Food movement, hand-made guitars, the list goes on.

But really, the artisanal movement behind the anti-mass production/industrial age has been around for a long, long time. It’s just that, right now, there’s a surge and we gotta believe it’s probably a backlash against the digitization and online-ation and instant gratification of the nation. Right. It’s all about slowing down and actually making something in the tangible world. And maybe even leaving it behind for someone else to discover when we’re all long gone in the Warren Miller-ian “Every hundred years, all new people” ethos.

And another great example of Craft is independent publisher, musician, writer and everything-elser, V. Vale. In the Seventies, Vale was working at the legendary City Lights bookstore here in San Francisco when he realized he was in the thick of a new underground movement that was quickly replacing the Hippy scene: Punk Rock. While he watched corporate brands begin to cater to those naked kids in Golden Gate Park – the death nell of any great underground movement – he launched his first publication, Search & Destroy, dedicated to the new Punks and everything they were all about.

Vale was fully dedicated and focused, just like anyone making Craft, and started a typesetting business to support himself as he continued to publish. And publish. And speak. And perform. And publish. Fast forward four decades and Valhalla Vale is one of the stalwarts of Punk, indie publishing and DIY. After all these years, he’s still publishing, still living in San Francisco’s original Beat neighborhood, North Beach and still making things. He’s influenced entire generations – most of whom, we’d venture, don’t even know it. And that’s what we love so much about him: he’s one of those few who will leave the world better than when he entered it because of the things he made for it.

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