Dig Baton Rouge

Handcrafted man: An interview with a crafting connoisseur

I met Crendyn Thrackleby-Jiggs in the hazy mid-afternoon sunlight of a local coffee shop’s garden patio. After locking up his bicycle assembled from Panamanian sugar cane staves, he stepped inside for a drink, returning with a mug full of boiling water. Over small talk, he dipped in a thermometer, waiting until the water reached exactly 198 degrees Fahrenheit before dumping it into his French press travel mug, added grounds from a hip satchel and set an egg timer for five minutes, 38 seconds.

Gordon Brillon: What have you got there?

Crendyn Thrackleby-Jiggs: How much do you want to know? I’ve been told I can ramble when you get me going on temp, acidity, groundwater chemical makeup, mug lacquers and all that.

GB: Start with the basics, I guess. 

CTJ: Well, these grounds are Ethiopian Arabica. I scoped out the exact grove on a trip in 2012 and have been micro-barter-funding the farmers since then. Basically, I send my guy 20 bucks and a shipment of raw metals I scrap out of disused canning supplies every month and he sends back a sack of beans and any interesting skins he comes across. Of course, the carbon footprint on shipping by air is prohibitive, so I go through a company that leases trans-Atlantic solar-powered drones out of Curacao, and it all —

GB: Hang on, skins?

CTJ: Yeah. Large apes, jungle cats, he sends me anything he finds and thinks would make for interesting work out of my tanning shop. We signed a non-violence pact when we cut our deal, so I know he’s not poaching. It’s just incredible how many gorilla hides the guy just stumbles upon in a month. That poaching problem is just so tragic.

GB: Let’s move on. Tell me about your businesses.

CTJ: Well, right now I’m really focusing on my mail-order nutrition business, Slurry. Customers take a quick personality test online — you know, Meyers-Briggs type, IQ, phrenological measurements — and we’ll send you two weeks’ worth of food attuned perfectly to your profile. Now, I love Blue Apron. They’re like, the cavemen who invented fire to me. But the problem with BA is you still have to cook the food once you get it in the mail. With Slurry, your raw, unprocessed, bespoke dietary paste is delivered ready to eat in a convenient, small-portion jar.

GB: Sounds kind of like baby food.

CTJ: Absolutely. What are babies if not the most bespoke humans? You know? Two people choose a partner with the genetic material they want, and boom, there’s a new person, just how they planned it. Having a baby is the original artisanal creation process. Every parent is a craftsman.


[The egg timer dings. Crendyn performs some arcane measurements and filtrations before pouring a shot of coffee into a tiny cup. He takes a sip, sighs contentedly, and pours the rest of his mug into a nearby planter.]

GB: Now I know you’re passionate about fair trade, making sure your products are made well by people paid fairly for their work around the world. But what about helping out your community?

CTJ: Oh, totally. You know, a big problem we face in this city is food deserts. There are a ton of neighborhoods where you have to drive miles to find a hydroponic, pesticide-free tomato lab, or even just a half decent rutabaga. So I got to thinking how I can help with this problem, and not just help people, but help them solve their own problem. Because I’m all about doing it yourself. So the fix is obvious, right?

GB: More supermarkets?

CTJ: Composting! I loaded up a trash can with all compost I could create. I’m talking banana peels, apple cores, manure, scraps from any leftover gorilla skins, you name it, really good and ripe. So I loaded it all up, took it into one underprivileged neighborhood, and anywhere where people’s lawns were looking kind of dried-out and fallow l dumped out a nice pile of compost. Now they have the tools to solve that food problem themselves. And I get that nice feeling of knowing I helped those people out and helped the environment.

Editor’s Note: This interview is a work of satire.


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