At a time when it appears that everyone is addicted to technology, a growing number of trendy city-dwellers are going to the other extreme and taking lessons in archaic – and sometimes weird – skills to stand out from the crowd.
Urban beekeeping, taxidermy, and printing and bookbinding classes, among others, are springing up in cities across the world in response to an increasing interest in these ancient skills. And demand shows no sign of slowing down.
What's interesting about the people attending these classes, though, is their demographic. These are not bored retirees. These are urban youngsters, sometimes dubbed "hipsters."
This burgeoning interest from urban trendies in the arcane and quirky is translating into new revenue sources for the hobbies industry, which the Craft and Hobby Association estimated was worth a whopping $30.2 billion to the U.S. in the 12 months to July 2011, according to the most recent data.
"People come from all over the country to take part in our taxidermy classes," said LA-born Suzette Field, who runs an literary and artistic organization called The Last Tuesday Society in London. "We thought it was going to be a six-month pop-up project, but it's been so popular that four years on the shop is still open."
The Last Tuesday Society first launched a series of taxidermy classes – which cost between £60 for a mouse to £150 for a rabbit - after it hosted a live workshop of artist Lee Paton stuffing a mouse.
"People came to us and said they wanted to do it themselves. Our first taxidermy series completely sold out," Field said.