Notes from Windward: #69


Art of the Artisan Life

explorations in candy making


     One of my main goals in returning to Windward was to make full benefit of the ways in which this lifestyle enables one to pursue an independent living. My specific interests lie in pursuing my livelihood as an artist/craftsperson. I've studied visual arts and crafts my whole life, and while I'm not an expert at age twenty-four, here I can combine my skills with the know-how of others who have supported themselves through unlikely ventures.

     And let's not forget Windward's wealth of tools, equipment, and natural resources available to assist a young artist in affordably getting started with jewelry-making, woodworking, wool crafts, cooking/baking, and just about any other trade you could imagine.

     Recently I let the community in on the sweet side of one of my artisan experiments: candy making. I tried a few fudge and candy recipes from books and family, and made a number of varieties of fudge with different fruits and nuts, as well as some peanut-butter cups I remembered fondly from childhood Christmases.

     When I had amassed sufficient goods, I called for an official candy tasting, and the other Windwardians gathered in the kitchen one night around plates I had arranged with the samples. At the tasting, I fully realized that one of the benefits of living in community is having a ready audience on whom to test my new ideas and products. Before we sat down together, I really had no idea which of the candies were the most successful--don't even eat much chocolate myself.

a sampling of candies

     As we worked our way around the sample plates, hearing what others had to say was invaluable. People have differing tastes in food, clothes, music and just about everything, and in the candy tasting, I was able to see some of those consumer patterns develop: several of the candies were well-liked by all, several impressed none of the tasters, a few flavors had fans here and there, and allergies were even at play for some people.

     Since the tasting, I've decided that candy-making is not where my heart (or my stomach) lies, but if we have goat's milk next summer, perhaps I'll revisit the fudge idea. 'Til then, I'm rediscovering my love of sewing and learning some new jewelry skills. But more on that later . . .

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69