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Hand-Made Masterpieces: 10 Hand-Crafted Works of Functional Art

In the modern world, most of our prized possessions are built by machines using nearby technologies or in factories far away.  Yet a new trend is rising where where progressive people prefer hand-crafted creations.  This emphasis on local, hand-made art has resulted in some truly amazing creations, from a hand-made wooden car to a hand-built work of educational architecture.  Join us to celebrate 10 of the latest and greatest hand-built masterworks in modern human creation.

This exploration of hand-made cool is sponsored by our friends at Persol.

Corbis Readymech Cameras – Hand-Made by You

Hand-made art can be truly beautiful, but it can be equally as fulfilling when it is art you make on your own.  The Corbis Readymech Cameras are a perfect example, a functional piece of hand-made art that you create and you use to capture interesting pinhole photographs.  Visit the Readymech website, print out the plans and fold your paper into the camera you see above.  Get some film, slide open the pinhole and photograph whatever you’d like to capture.  Bonus points for building the whole Corbis Readymech collection.  If you’re into this kind of thing, be sure to check out our feature article on 10 Paper Cameras for Photography Purists.

Corbis Readymech Cameras Gallery

Hand-Made MB&F Thunderbolt Watch

There is a long-standing European tradition of crafting complex and authentic timepieces in an exquisite fashion.  Today, Maximilian Büsser and friends continue that tradition with some of the finest, most progressive watches ever built by hand.  The MB&F Thunderbolt Watch is one of Büsser’s greatest accomplishments, a hand-made watch with 311 individual parts that work in concert to tell the time in a striking, precise fashion.  The watch is inspired by the hobby that got Büsser off to this hand-made career– aviation, or more specifically the building of model airplanes as a young child.  MB&F’s Thunderbolt Watch was one of the top ten luxury watches of 2010 in our hearts.

MB&F Thunderbolt Watch Gallery

Authentic Hand Grenade Oil Lamps

Fortunately, this WWII-era hand grenade never saw action.  Its symbolism lives on in a much more peaceful manner, thanks to some inventive hand-made reclamation by artist Piet Houtenbos.  These Authentic Hand Grenade Oil Lamps have been de-commissioned, un-weaponized and converted into a basic oil lamp.  Just imagine the look on your guests’ faces when you hold a match to one of these…  These were one of 20 dangerous designs we featured here on TheCoolist last year.

Authentic Hand Grenade Oil Lamp Gallery

VANDEYK Contemporary Cycles

What happens when a group of friendly ad industry creatives fuse their passion for cycling and build the ideal city bike?  You get VANDEYK Contemporary Cycles, a hand-crafted bike conceived, built, styled and photographed by creative gurus.  The VANDEYK Nightstream bike frame was hand-built by Georg Blaschke, a respected 20-year veteran in the hand-built bike scene.  The paint job and pin-striping were conceived by artists Harry Seifert and Holger Gruenwald and applied by a specialized painter.  From the idea spark that started the process through to the finished bike, the VANDEYK Nightstream is a prime example of hand-built, functional art.  Don’t miss our look at 10 amazing bikes of the future

VANDEYK Contemporary Cycles Gallery

Architecturally Stunning Hand-built School in Bangladesh

Nearly every building constructed in this century was built with the aid of machinery, either gas-powered or electric.  This Hand-built School in Bangladesh is one exception where hand-constructed can still be architecturally and aesthetically progressive.  The new primary school in Rudrapur, Bangladesh was the vision of architects Anna Aeringer and Eike Roswag, who worked with local craftsmen, students, teachers and parents to build the school by hand in just four months.  The result is a fully effective building for study, one that the students can take plenty of pride in– hey, they built it.

Hand-built School in Bangladesh Gallery

Kiki De Montparnasse Hand-Made Chess Set

Even though the Kiki De Montparnasse Hand-Made Chess Set was carefully crafted by hand, there’s something more to it that you may not notice at first glance.  Each of the chess pieces in this set have dual roles.  They wander across the board taking down their enemy… but the idea of “serving their queen” is ultimately a double entendre.  These smooth, subtly curved chess pieces are to be used both on the chess board and as sensual instruments during more intimate play.  With this chess set, no one ever loses.

Misha Handmade Wallpaper

This is not your standard department store wallpaper.  Misha Handmade Wallpaper is produced by hand, by artists who treat these rolls as a canvas upon which they create lush, beautiful murals for your walls.  Either as is or custom, the Misha handmade wallpaper can turn a boring room into an artful environment, with a bespoke design you’ll never see on another wall.

Misha Handmade Wallpaper Gallery

Leatherman Argentum Collection Hand-Made Multi-Tools

It’s rare to think of tools as artful objects, but the Leatherman Argentum Collection is an exception to the rule.  These stunning (and pricey) tools were hand-carved by world-renowned artist and silversmith Adrian Pallarols.  This series was released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Leatherman, and what a celebration it is.  These hand-carved versions of popular Leatherman Multi-tools range in price all the way up to $40,000, making them some of the most expensive hand-tools ever built.

Leatherman Argentum Collection Gallery

Level 11 Hand-Made Wooden Computer

A wooden computer?  Sounds very 19th century, but is actually a modern creation.  The Level 11 Hand-Made Wooden Computer by Jeffrey Stephenson is a modern computer case with working components.  Turn it on, and it runs in the same standard as most modern desktop PCs.  The system features 2GB of RAM, a 1.2gHZ processor with a 160GB SSD drive with a Windows 7 OS.  Not bad for a PC made of wood!

Level 11 Hand-Made Wooden Computer Gallery

Splinter Hand-Made Wooden Car

Hand-built car fans, you can officially start your engines.  The Splinter Hand-Made Wooden Car is built with an emphasis on wood as material, where every part that could be made from wood was made from wood.  The body itself is built from a tight wooden weave that looks like a brown carbon fiber.  Much of the frame and interior are made of wood, as well as many other components that might surprise you.  The Splinter Sports Car is the brain child of builder Joe Harmon, who has crafted this car by hand into a progressively-designed street beast that we’d love to see on the road.  Have you ever seen anything like it?