Craft Culture: Fresh views on camping at Vistabule Teardrop Trailers

There’s a timeless nostalgia and sense of adventure in the very shape of a teardrop camping trailer. The petite, two-person campers weigh around 1,200 pounds and can be hauled by most station wagons or small trucks. They were popularized in the 1930s, but the internet age renewed them into fashion. Now a handful of entrepreneurs … [ Read more]

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Do It Yourself, Together: How maker spaces & tool libraries are building community

A squat, unassuming building of beige-painted brick and exposed cinder block sits tucked behind some of the great restaurants of Northeast Minneapolis’ Central Avenue. A red, hexagonal sign reads “MPLS Make” in white letters. It’s 4pm on a Thursday. A sign on the back door reads: “KNOCK LOUD! We’re rocking music and power tools  in … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Creative reuse and customer empowerment at Junket Tossed & Found

At first glance, you might think Junket: Tossed & Found is yet another vintage shop surrounded by numerous other vintage shops on Minnehaha Avenue in South Minneapolis. Old rockers, desk chairs, and salvaged theater seats huddle together out front. There’s a ‘90s-era school desk with a flip-up lid and a classic red wagon. An old … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of Revival and Corner Table

When Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer transformed Corner Table in 2013, they connected with a zeitgeist. High-end diners and food adventurers still craved sustainability, but with a little less bang-you-on-the-head zealotry. Instead, they angled for seasonally-focused, casual elegance with a side of soul—think coq au vin next to maple-roasted jowl. That modus operandi carried them … [ Read more]

Sepak attack: The sport of takraw is gaining a foothold in Minnesota

Thirty people are are dispersed between two nets on a near perfect August night outside Olson Middle School in North Minneapolis. Younger players, roughly between 20 and 40, play at one court, 50-and-60-somethings at the other. The courts are twined-off, the grass worn. Spectators cheer from the sidelines. From a distance, this might seem like … [ Read more]

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Single-Speed Service: The fast-paced world of bike delivery couriers

I arrive at the Uptown Minneapolis office of Rock-It Delivery at 10am on a warm Thursday in June. It’s a cave-like space, dank and minimal, with a vintage couch by the window, a desk with a computer, and, of course, bikes lined up along the far wall. There is a cargo bike for large orders … [ Read more]

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Penumbra marks 40 years of illuminating the African-American experience through art

When you pull up to St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, considered one of the largest and most important African-American theater companies in the nation, the first thing you notice is the playground. Tots toddle down teal-colored slides. Little yellow dump trucks sit bedded in a swath of wood chips. The fence that borders the property is … [ Read more]

Repair, reuse culture is alive and well in the Twin Cities

It occurred to me after visiting Repair Lair, Nancy Ford’s singular repair-and-reuse shop on East Lake Street, on a rainy day in March, that almost all of my friends in high school had, for the most part, shopped at secondhand stores. We were a punked-out, idealistic bunch (we once plastered Dinkytown with anti-Exxon fliers). But … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

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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 … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Faribault Woolen Mill

Photos by Aaron Davidson Historic images courtesy of Faribault Woolen Mill The Faribault Woolen Mill hugs the Cannon River in Faribault, Minnesota, 50 miles south of Minneapolis. A small dam foams alongside the building, whose walls boast a hodgepodge of vivid and faded red brick. Inside, the looms, pickers, and carting machines beat a persistent … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Blue Cat Motorcycle Repair

Photos by Aaron Davidson The garage doors are open at Blue Cat Motorcycle Repair, on Prior Avenue in St. Paul’s Midway district. The noise of growling air compressors cuts through the murmur of rustling trees. Glen greets me. He’s friendly, young, tattooed, and wearing all black. Upon seeing my bicycle helmet, he asks where my … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Wood from the Hood

Photos Aaron Davidson Outside Wood from the Hood’s main office on Minnehaha Avenue and 26th Street in Minneapolis sits a small red dumpster with “free” spray-painted in blaze orange on the side. Instead of meeting the woodchipper, the wood scraps inside provide local woodworkers and hobbyists with an otherwise costly bounty. One neighbor uses the … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Custom Bike Frames at Prairie Crow Bikeworks

Photos by Matt Lien Tucked among the houses of Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood sits the Shasta building, a sprawling industrial fortress, whose lungs make a constant metal on metal rasp. Alex Heegaard-LeGros of Prairie Crow Bikeworks brings me back through the long hallways, past the scores of tenants clanging and banging, to his corner space. “I’m … [ Read more]

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