Woodsmanship & Tradition at Little Crow Custom Bows

If you get Lee Waltman, owner and sole employee of Little Crow Custom Bows, started on varieties of wood, you’d better have some time on your hands. Not because Waltman is overly wordy or dry, but because he’s a zealot for detail and fastidiously interested in every facet of traditional bow making.  Waltman’s workshop sits … [ Read more]

Beyond Polka: Championing the accordion at Mahler Music

A 20-something man lugs a battered accordion case through the screen door at Mahler Music. As he pulls the instrument out of the box, Ken Mahler is already speaking. “This is a 1930s accordion. Probably 1938 or ’39,” he says, pointing to the engraving and inlay. He tinkers with the strap, points out broken buttons, and … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: Michael Slagle brings his bold aesthetic to ordinary life

Alot of lines.” This is the simple description Michael Slagle offers of his art, but the reality is much more complex. Delicate clouds and bright colors are interrupted by bold black lines, combining flatness and volume to alter the perspective from something recognizable to something more abstract. From bridges to flowers to farmlands, where most … [ Read more]

Arlean Rosemore and Mother Originals Quilt Shop

The rhythmic beat of a needle piercing fabric keeps perfect time with the mechanical hum of a commercial quilting machine. Knowing hands gently guide the fabric to make sure the backing, batting, and quilt top stay aligned. The process is mesmerizing and soothing—“hypnotic,” as Arlean Rosemore, the master quilter currently behind the needle at Mother … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: The expressive needleworks of Alanna Stapleton

Embroidery: thread and needle poking and punching fabric, decorating tea towels and making ordinary pillows cheeky. While some might dismiss the medium as nothing more than a hobby, hand-stitched clothes and boots unearthed by archaeologists date the origins of embroidery back to 30,000 B.C. Artists like Alanna Stapleton take it one step further, elevating the … [ Read more]

Black Cat Farmstead: Farm-to-loom art

If you’ve ridden the Metro Green Line in the Twin Cities, you’ve likely seen Andrea Myklebust’s work. The Raymond Avenue, Westgate, and Union Depot light rail stations feature granite, cast bronze, and concrete sculptures carved and forged by Andrea and her husband, Stanton (Stan) Sears. But the bulk of Andrea’s work happens an hour-and-a-half outside … [ Read more]

Big Challenges for Small Dairy: Minnesota farmers seek creative solutions in the face of corporate competition

When I first rang Tom Portner to talk about his dairy farm Port-Haven, he told me to call back in a few minutes—he was in the middle of helping a cow give birth. The third in 24 hours, in fact. “Yesterday I had 24 due, now three of them have calves,” he says when I … [ Read more]

Heirloom Muskie Lures: Supernatural Big Baits

The warehouse complex at 755 Prior Avenue North in St. Paul most famously houses entities like Can Can Wonderland and BlackStack Brewing. But in the northwest corner of the building sits Supernatural Big Baits, where founder and owner Duff Thury has been hand-making some seriously big baits for serious muskie anglers since 2013. Duff is … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: Art with depth by Marnie Karger

Lakes are peppered across the land of Minnesota—11,842 reminders that this area was once covered in vast sheets of ice a mile thick, plowing inch by inch, and finally melting into what we see today. These water-filled, earthly scars are named after European explorers, topographical features, identifications by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes. And they are … [ Read more]

Southside Battletrain: Human-powered metal machines

There’s a house in South Minneapolis that stands out from the rest. It could be the tangle of vines cascading down the facade. Or maybe it’s the tricycles, yellow canoe, and velociraptor planted in the front yard. On the porch, you’ll find a gorilla suit and the phrase “run 2 run” spelled out on the … [ Read more]

Tiny houses face big hurdles in the Twin Cities

The tiny house trend is everywhere. Look on Instagram. Check out Pinterest. On HGTV alone, there’s “Tiny House, Big Living,” “Tiny House Builders,” “Tiny House Hunters,” and others. These glamorized, pint-sized homes have gained widespread appeal among those looking to live with less. Going mini is mainstream. Or is it? Many prospective tiny housers face … [ Read more]

Shoes With Soul: Stylish shoe repair at Greenwich Vintage

It’s me!” Tamas “Zen” Pomazi shouts as he enters Papa’s Shoe Repair II in downtown Waconia. The phrase is a signal to Julio Sanchez—owner of Papa’s—that it is, indeed, him and not a customer. Pomazi passes a row of bookcases that separate the service counter and small retail racks near the entrance from the workshop … [ Read more]

Simple, yet soulful: Woodsport

Wood chips fly as Scott McGlasson presses the tip of a sharp metal gouge against a wooden form mounted to a lathe. While the piece spins, bits of white ash shower onto his clothes like confetti and rain down onto the floor in mounds. As the piles of shavings grow, a shape begins to emerge. … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: An artful existence with Fox Meets Bear

As the shell started to break apart, a mess of wet, matted feathers began to show through the opening. Late into the night, Johnna Holmgren sat on a stool in her living room with her gaze fixed on the incubator set up in front of her. After caring for the eggs inside it with her … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Farmers of the future at Urban Organics

An inconspicuous white tube travels along the length of the ceiling, connecting two very different rooms. The first room is a cool 60 degrees and smells slightly fishy. Gray concrete floors and colorless walls make the space appear colder than it is. The neighboring room couldn’t be more different. The air smells sweet and vaguely … [ Read more]