Over the past half-year, I have been fortunate enough to document, with my photography, the process of creation as practiced by wonderful people across Denver. This journey has revitalized my understanding of modern life, and made me very hopeful. What I think we are seeing is really a resurgence of creation. In a world seemingly predominated by violence and destruction, we tend to migrate toward pessimism and cynical thoughts. Perhaps this gallery can act as a starting point for overcoming some of that.
One very nice thing that is easily noticed at Huckleberry Coffee is that connection and care that each person injects to the whole process. From selection of beans, to roasting, to brewing and packaging. The entire operation demonstrates a concern that can not come from a corporate overlord. The dictates of quality at this level are created by community values, not as byproducts of company values or operational manuals. The new craft culture embraces this internal motivational model. It’s an approach that elevates the quality of the product. It creates an environment that demonstrates the values. The atmosphere (to quote Keaton from “Usual Suspects”) “isn’t painted on the walls.” Even the packaging is well-created. It is homey and new at the same time. You could hug this bag of coffee.
Many of the people I meet creating wonderful things at a high level are younger. They exhibit an enthusiasm that existed in our society at different times, for sure. It used to be referred to as “counter culture” at one time. In my experiences, it was really at a peak when cycling was nascent in the United States. The guys who worked on bikes road bikes. They sought out others who wanted to be part of a small group and nerd out bikes. That group naturally embraced the craft beer set. The two merged, and provided the base for today’s craft culture.
“DIY” is yet another name that may fit this groove. In my earlier days, I was exposed to the odd thinkings of a man who did his own plumbing, repaired his own cars, grew his own vegetables, and applied for federal grants to provide sewer and streets in underprivileged neighborhoods. This DIY’er is still putting down his own tracks in this world of easy, off-the-shelf items. He has grown kale in his backyard for the past 30 years, stating the potency of it for sustaining life all the while. He’s my dad. To me, it was totally normal to go out in pouring rain to dig a rain relief for a neighbor, or spend a Saturday picking vegetables, and then return to school on Monday as a covert suburbanite. I remember a pet phrase of his (one of many) that eschewed the value of creation over destruction. It has lingered in my mind since I was small.
Over one winter, we got a winemaking kit. We attempted to make wine from grape juice. The results were not vintner quality but good enough for making fruit cake. The experience led back to my grandfather who lived in Tennessee. I came to find out that his own winemaking experience was fairly vast. From dandelions to muscadines, he made wine from any plant available.
This is another one of my recent cyclical experiences. At Bookstone Winery, I met a young man who spends his mornings tending to Colorado wines in the making. His tutelage was as exceptional as his demeanor was affable. In one hour on site so many holes in my winemaking knowledge were filled that I now feel confident that I could make wine, by combining what I learned many years ago from Big Daddy in combination with my new-found knowledge acquired from this young man. Another circuit is completed.
more to come . . . let’s talk about music and art