Craft Culture: Handcrafting stories at North House Folk School

On a winter day in picturesque Grand Marais, all is quiet. Overworked boats sit empty on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Cafes and gift shops stand subdued. A lonely seagull is perched atop a pile of rocks. Only the cold wind whooshes about—a present from nearby Canada. From the outside, the colorful buildings of […]

Craft Culture: Hand-sewn garments at Mill City Fineries

Surrounded by fabrics from all over the world, Brad Wellman, 29 years old and cofounder of Mill City Fineries, stands in a quiet, freshly painted warehouse in St. Anthony East. Bundles of pastels and plaids crowd a wire rack packed with Brazilian silk, soft Scottish wool, and swatches of houndstooth and herringbone. Arms outstretched, he […]

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Tool Library coming to St. Paul

Have a home improvement project on the to-do list but not the tools to build it? Head to the library. The Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library, a nonprofit organization that rents out basic hand tools and power tools to its members, announced it is opening a new branch in St. Paul. After a successful crowdfunding campaign […]

Craft Culture: ‘Heirloom’ packs, handcrafted at Duluth’s Frost River

“There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past […]

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Craft Culture: From fire comes functional art at Elias Metal Studio

The two words employees dread hearing most came hurdling out her manager’s mouth: “You’re fired.” That’s what Lisa Elias heard 20 years ago when she returned home to Minneapolis after a two-week trip to New York for an experimental art workshop. Like many artists trying to pay their way, Elias worked a part-time job at […]

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Craft Culture: Custom messenger bags at Trash

When Modist Brewing Company painted its trademark teal floor and started pouring beers this spring, Andy Larson, the 34-year-old owner and CEO of Trash Messenger Bags, had a front-row seat. That’s because the North Loop brewery is also his landlord. Tucked into the narrow, low-ceilinged loft above Modist’s brewing tanks, the doorway and stairs leading […]

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Craft Culture: Great Northern Boatworks turns unusable boats into show pieces

Along the eastern edge of a chewed-up dirt lot off Como Avenue in St. Paul, the pristine white bow of a Windsor Craft boat noses through a large garage door, reflecting the bright afternoon sun. It’s an odd place to spot a boat, considering there’s not a drop of water in sight. The buildings around […]

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Craft Culture: Hand-thrown tableware from Ceramic Chinn

Two years ago, Alex Chinn propped open the lid of his electric kiln to inspect the 40 plates stacked inside. He noticed something he didn’t expect. Before firing the plates, Chinn had dipped each one in a white satin matte glaze. But instead of creating an even surface, the glaze had broken apart on the […]

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Craft Culture: American Craft Council artists to watch

If the Twin Cities weren’t already considered a top arts community before 2010, with the area’s many galleries, major arts organizations, museums, and artist studios, then they most certainly were after. That was the year Minneapolis surpassed 11 other cities to become the official home of the American Craft Council (ACC), after the group chose […]

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Craft Culture: Eco-friendly outdoor furniture at Loll Designs

There is no shortage of big companies touting their environmentally friendly practices as a way to endear themselves to the public these days. And that would be fine—if those businesses were backing up their words with actions. But few do, and even fewer have principles of sustainability firmly rooted in their origins. Duluth-based Loll Designs […]

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Craft Culture: Handmade timepieces from Padron Watch Company

January and February can be the dreariest of months for retailers. The Christmas bustle turns a sharp corner, and long days spent trying to keep up with an influx of customers turn into long days wishing for just a few customers. This can be particularly true for small businesses, especially in the age of online […]

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Craft Culture: Handmade toboggans at Northern Toboggan & Sled

Snow crunches under my tires as I pull up to the modest building. The air has that undeniable crispness winter brings with her as she settles in for the season. On a parcel of farmland six miles east of Warroad, Minnesota, mere miles from the Canadian border, John Harren’s Northern Toboggan & Sled shop is […]

Craft Culture: Hennepin Made glassmaking studio

Jackson Schwartz deals in heat. His craft is defined in various bursts of Fahrenheit—taking some of the most basic materials on Earth and transforming them with the careful application of fire. His work, in turn, helps illuminate some of the trendiest gathering spots in town. Schwartz’s Hennepin Avenue glassmaking studio, Hennepin Made, looks equal parts […]

Craft Culture: Handcrafted barrels from Black Swan Cooperage

The whining of saw blades and smell of singed wood greet you first. Then comes Whiskey. Not the drink, but the dog: a giant, bounding, playful-yet-imposing German Shepherd. Heidi Korb follows soon after, apologizing for her dog’s overeager greeting. With knee-high brown boots, skinny jeans, flowing highlighted hair, and nails painted with gold-fleck sparkles—remnants of […]

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Craft Culture: MaxBat

Wooden baseball bats for the major leagues & amateurs alike Brooten, Minnesota—population 742—sits 120 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Pass the Brooten city sign and there’s a gas station, some galvanized sheds with a few windows, a couple brick garages, a tiny lumberyard, and then an endless stretch of flat, green fields. As they […]

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