There’s something about Pittsburgh.
It doesn’t have the rat race feel of a big city metropolis like Los Angeles or New York (and we’re glad about that). But there’s not a laidback, Mayberry vibe either. Somehow we manage to get shit done while still taking time to chat up our neighbors. It’s as though Pittsburgh is still a mill town. Which it’s not. Even though everyone thinks it is.
So what’s going on here?
To put it simply, Pittsburgh is a hybrid. It’s a crossover. Pittsburgh is a mashup up of blue collar ideals and emerging technologies. Sure there are top tier school and startups. But the true difference maker is this region’s manufacturing roots. A steeltown sensibility that’s behind us, but within us.
This mashup is exactly the kind of thing Dylan Priest set out to highlight in a video series entitled, “Made in Pittsburgh.” The videos feature area makers who have tapped into that manufacturing mentality. Except now, they’ve re-imagined what it means to be made in Pittsburgh, thereby bringing new life to the Rust Belt.
“I was driven to make things.”
One of the videos in the series features Zak Kruszynski, the man behind Bones and All – a Rust Belt workshop. Zak uses reclaimed and salvaged wood to design and fabricate furniture and other home goods.
His work is top notch to say the least. You definitely have to check it out. But before you do, you should listen to him talk about what inspires him to make things. It’s the essence of what the Rust Belt is all about.
“The intellectual or spiritual culture of the Rust Belt region as a whole really influences my work. The allure of people that make things of a region that’s known for making things. And despite the economic hardship that’s gone in the last generation of or two the tenacity of people, the attitude of f*ck you we’re going to do it anyway...is really inspiring to me. That kind of working, fighting spirit just makes you feel good.”
How many words does it take?
Eight words – f*ck you we’re going to do it anyway – is all it really took for Zac to explain the way Pittsburgh, and the Rust Belt as a whole approaches, well, everything. He totally nailed. it.