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Pride in Craft

Pride in Craft

Hello and good day!

One of my favorite things is listening to an expert discuss the details of their craft. I don't care too much about what the craft is.I find it alluring to hear a true expert speak.

A lot of folks are willing to offer up opinions about things they don't actually know much about. I'm guilty of it too. It is very easy to conjecture.

What got me to thinking about this was a conversation I had with a local business owner a couple of days ago. This woman owns a quilting business.

I've walked by her shop on multiple occasions, but have never ventured in. Her place is always filled with quilting enthusiasts, which makes me think that she is doing pretty good business.  

There are big glass windows on the front of her shop, and you can see several impressive quilting machines through the windows.I've seen her in there talking to people and I recognized her when she walked in. We got to chatting and I asked her about those quilting machines and her business.

The shop was slow at that moment and I had time to listen for a good long stretch. I never would have thought I'd be so fascinated by quilting machines.

She told me about the old technology. The new technology. Stitching.

What she does in her shop.How long she has been in business. What the future of quilting will be. She's been in the quilting business for 30 years and knows everything about it.There were all these fascinating little details that only an expert would know about.

This reminded me of a time we had a plumber friend over for dinner one evening. I took advantage of the situation and requested that he take a look at something for me after dinner was over. He agreed and took a look at the thing for me.

While he was looking, he saw one other thing that bothered him.   He told me to hold on for a second, and he went out to his van to bring in a jar of grease and a wrench.There was a screw that needed grease on it.

He came back into the house, unscrewed a nut, greased up the screw, and then put the nut back on. Then he went back to looking at the thing I originally asked about.

He simply could not let that detail slide.His craftsmanship would not allow it.

In life, there are leverage points, small things that lead to big outcomes. An ungreased bolt might break and that could cause water to come gushing out of your bathtub.

The result is big. The trigger point is small.

With time and experience, you start to learn about the little details that make a big impact, and that is the stuff of craftsmanship. The picture is my brother Brian with  the gentleman our company is named after,

Don Fortunato Colala.

See that machete in his hand? That is the preferred method of cacao farmers for breaking open cacao pods. Machetes are a preferred tool out in campo.

They serve many purposes and most cacao farmers carry a machete in a holster, hanging from their belts.Cacao farmers are handy and agile with machetes. But they are not experts at fermenting and drying cacao.

We are the experts on that.

And no matter how good you are with a machete, you will inevitably slice  open some of the seeds inside the pod when you are cutting it open. It took Brian many years in the trenches to learn this.

But it is a little detail that makes a difference in the way that chocolate ends up tasting.A sliced cacao bean does not ferment well, and poorly fermented cacao simply cannot be used in fine flavored chocolate.

There are many little touch points like this that we've learned over the years and each new discovery leads to better tasting chocolate.

Unfortunately, there is no way to develop a craft other than time and practice.

You can read all you want about plumbing or quilting or playing music or fermenting cacao.You can watch a million videos about these things online. But unless you've spent sufficient time plying your trade, you'll never get to understand the little things that make a big difference.

One last example before I sign off.My oldest son is a naturally good violin player and he takes lessons. After his most recent lesson, the teacher gave him unusual instructions for practice.  

For the next few weeks, his practice is to simply hold his violin correctly. He isn't to play music. She just wants him to spend time holding his instrument in the proper way. She says that he cannot advance further until he consistently holds the violin correctly and there is no point teaching anything else until he gets that right.

One of those little details.

Anyhow, thank you so much for giving me a moment of your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!