"Somewhere as a society, we seem to have lost the connection with our makers. This is particularly true in a big city, surrounded by so many busy people, who are just trying to make rent. " —Jennifer Causey
At various times of her life, photographer Jen Causey has wanted to be an archeologist, a doctor, an advertising executive and a make-up artist.
During the process of shooting "Brooklyn Makers" her book, Jennifer had the opportunity to go into the studios of a thriving and inspiring Brooklyn-based artisan community and it was there that she found herself wanting to become a ceramicist, a florist, a baker, and a tie-dyer.
When Jen had the idea for her book she bounced it off some friends, who told her to jump right in, and from there it became a domino effect; While eating at Paulie Gee's (A Greenpoint, Brooklyn pizza haven), she inquired about their interior designer, and found out it was the Haslegrave brothers from hOmE. Then while shooting the Haslegrave brothers, they suggested she shoot their friends Agatha and Erin bakers, at Ovenly (who are known for their cherry cheddar basil scones and spicy bacon caramel corn) and so on. Word of mouth, not social media, is perhaps still, the best source of recommendations, and the best way to build up a community.
When Jen shot the Mast Brothers for the book, (the pics above), she spent the morning in their space and was able to follow the entire chocolate making process (from bean to bar). The Mast Brothers (Rick and Michael) moved from Iowa a decade ago, and started making chocolate just to share with friends. They quickly turned it into a business. The brothers are committed to sustainable methods of producing and sourcing, buying their beans directly from small organic cocao farmers in the Dominican Republic and Central and South America. Each chocolate bar is hand wrapped in gold foil and then a custom paper designed by themselves, their friends, and their employees. Their sense of community extends way beyond their production line too; every day, the entire crew sit down to a family-style meal. Sometimes made themselves, sometimes ordered in.
This book is divided into two regions, North and South Brooklyn and investigates what their various 'makers' are up to. After I reading it, I was inspired, excited and I couldn't wait to begin making something. This book is fascinating—and it's transporting. And it's also important. In my mind, we need to honor, support and get behind our local craftspeople as much as we can. Long live the makers!
To purchase Jen's book, click here, or click on the link on my homepage where Jen's book is listed as my top 3 favorite Amazon.com book purchases.
JEN CAUSEY: is a food, travel and lifestyle photographer. She was born in the South and grew up playing in creeks and running in the woods. Although she has been residing in Brooklyn for the past 10 years, she is still a Southerner at heart; she will eat grits any time, any day, especially if they are covered in cheese at the Waffle House.