What is Craft? Michiana Artists Explain What Craft Means to Them

Photography By Grant Beachy | December 15, 2014
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Barman Jason Bodley of Oak & Alley (Warsaw, Indiana) defines craft as attention to detail, creativity and constant innovation.

Craft connects us with our origins—the Earth—and the people who developed and honed their abilities over time. Their skills and their knowledge and passion are passed on to us. Then we make the craft our own, combining tradition with innovation, and inspire others. Craft brings people together in the present moment to experience something, new or old, strange or subtle, but beautiful. Those around us, our community, local and global, take part and enjoy the craft, giving purpose and drive to its existence. These connections create an experience that transcends manufacturing or business—something deeper, more real and far more interesting.
— Hans Westerink, chocolatier, Violet Sky Chocolate, South Bend, Indiana

Craft is defined by the brewers association as small, independent and traditional. I would add that it is paramount to me that we strive to brew beers as flavor-forward as possible. We adhere to tradition, but we also buck it to push new boundaries. Craft is taking pride in your trade and striving for the highest-quality ingredients to produce an exemplary product for customers.
— Nate Peck, head brewer, Tapistry Brewing, Bridgman, Michigan

To me, craft is about being thoughtful. It means thinking through every detail so that when that drink is served to someone for the first time, all of the details—the look of the glass, the ice and the aroma—all add up to that “wow!” moment for our guests. It means constantly trying to do better than my last menu, or my last shift. My favorite part about being at Oak & Alley is trying to create drinks that inspire new ingredients. When we’re doing that, it’s still about the most fun I’ve had in this industry.
— Jason Bodley, head barman, Oak & Alley, Warsaw, Indiana

Craft is when creativity and knowledgeable skill come together to create. It takes true skill and a solid understanding of something to be able to introduce a creative aspect with good results.
— Gloria Fahim, head brewer, Pleasant House Brewing Company, Three Oaks, Michigan

Craft is a honed skill, embedded in your DNA, which continually reveals itself over a lifetime.
— Michele Lankford, owner and chef, Thyme of Grace, Mishawaka, Indiana

Craft implies a skill that a group of people have. These people hone their craft and share their product with the public. In my field, I craft pastries that are based on the products that are seasonally available.
— Rachel Murphy, pastry chef, Spire Farm-to-Fork Cuisine, LaPorte, Indiana

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