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Columnist Laura Morelli's"The Genuine Article"
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About Laura Morelli
Photo by Jeff Shaffer
Photo: Laura Morelli
Author Laura Morelli writes the monthly column "The Genuine Article."

Little did I know this would be my life's work . . .

The first time I visited Venice as a wide-eyed 16-year-old, I knew I was supposed to buy Murano glass, but I had no idea why. All I knew was that I was whisked to the famous "glass island" on an overcrowded, stinky boat. I waited behind two dozen American and Japanese tourists to pay an exorbitant price for a little green glass fish—what a bewildering experience!    

Still, it was the world's artistic traditions that lured me to travel and inspired me to learn as much as I could about the history of art. Living in Europe and Latin America for more than a decade, I came to realize that in many places, centuries-old craft traditions are not just a thing of the past. They are living traditions that are highly culture-specific.

So began my quest to discover craftspeople passing on a special kind of knowledge to the next generation. My goal is to enhance your appreciation of, and perhaps introduce you to, the world's most authentic handcrafted goods—Texan cowboy boots, Limoges porcelain, Navajo rugs, Deruta ceramics, Parisian perfume, Korean celadon, Baccarat crystal, Mexican textiles, Indian embroidery, Hopi baskets, Sardinian gold . . . So many artisans are quietly turning out masterpieces in studios around the globe. Sharing their stories and their amazing achievements with readers is truly my life's work.

My column for National Geographic Traveler, "The Genuine Article," as well as the books in my Made in . . . series, are not simply travel guides. Rather, I want to lead you beyond the tourist traps and souvenir shops to discover the stories and the people behind extraordinary regional traditions. I want to share what makes these places and their world-class products special, and to help you bring home great treasures in your suitcase. My work is about why you're supposed to buy Murano glass . . . and more.

Laura Morelli is an art historian with a passion for the world's artisanal traditions. She writes a regular column for National Geographic Traveler online called "The Geniune Article." Laura also authors a guidebook series, including Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, which leads travelers to the world's most authentic shopping experiences. She holds a B.A. in languages and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University.

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