Craft Culture: Secondhand ethos, first-class fashion at Tandem Vintage

We humans are in dire need of an intervention—at the rate we’re going, there are simply too many of us creating too much waste for our earth to continue sustaining our buying habits. From our landfills to the flotillas of detritus in our oceans, we are virtually drowning in our own stuff. Rather than carrying … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Northeast Tattoo & Fadeaway Laser Removal

Matthew Krofta stands perfectly still, his bare back covered in a smear of purple ink. Jack Gribble, Matthew’s coworker and, today, tattooer, holds up a sheet of stencil paper to Matthew’s back and makes minute adjustments to get everything just so before securing the sheet—again. This is take three of the process—arguably the most painstaking … [ Read more]

Carpentry and Community at Women’s Woodshop

In a world that seems to be growing increasingly unstable, Jess Hirsch sees Women’s Woodshop as a much-needed escape for the community. “I think that people need a break, and need to come together over something that’s outside of themselves—and working with wood, it’s such a warm material, it has all these smells that are … [ Read more]

How It’s Made: Behind the scenes at Woodchuck USA

This post and video is sponsored by Woodchuck USA You may know who took home the gold in this year’s Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards, but do you know how the awards themselves got made? We had the opportunity to visit Woodchuck USA in November to witness firsthand each step in the crafting of the 2018 … [ Read more]

Next Gen Limb Design

For 130 years, Winkley has helped make Minnesota a hub for prosthetics and orthotics Inside a glass cube, Robert grinds away at a leg, swiveling his head from side to side, slowing down to carve the fine details of the ankle bone and arch, occasionally pausing to blast the leg with air and clear the … [ Read more]

The Couture Creations of Celina Kane

Some Minnesotans seem to get nervous, even a little sheepish, when they see Celina Kane’s booth set up at local art shows and the Mill City Farmers Market. Occasionally, onlookers will even let out a stifled giggle, as if to say “I could never pull that off.”  Admittedly, it takes a certain level of confidence … [ Read more]

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]