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]

Craft Culture: Piecing it together with Mercury Mosaics

The gleaming edge of what looks like an oversized cookie-cutter plunges into a sheet of clay. Before punching out another tile, a man in a red apron dips the cutter in a bowl of WD-40. This ensures each cut he makes come out as clean as possible. He alternates back and forth between the two … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Caretakers of skin and pollinators at Worker B

The sound of splintering wood disrupts the rhythmic hum of bees flying midair as Liesa Helfen wedges a flat metal tool in between two boxes. The containers crack apart as she wiggles the steel up and down, loosening the propolis, or bee glue, that seals the two together. For tens of thousands of bees, the … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Cabinets full of unexpected surprises at Mark Laub Studios

It takes a series of careful maneuvers to uncover what’s hidden within the cabinet resting near Mark Laub’s front door. First he pulls open a set of connected wooden leaves that surround a stained glass dome. Then, he spins around a glass carousel to reveal a set of arched doors. Finally, he slides out a … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: 130 years of water and the grindstone at Schech’s Mill

At first the vibrations in the water are faint. Small ripples break through the surface of the stream as they push out from the base of an old stone building. But the current soon becomes a rapid swirl as more than 8,000 gallons flow into the creek with each passing minute. The disturbance outside is … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: Two-wheeled transformations at Peacock Groove

Before Erik Noren started building bikes worth thousands of dollars, he paid someone $40 to steal one for him. He painted the two-wheeler blue, and then dunked his hands in purple paint and splashed it across the frame. At the time he was 18 years old. He only rode occasionally in high school and didn’t … [ Read more]

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Craft Culture: The art of fire, glass, and noble gas at Skyline Neon

There’s a good chance Matt Thompson has worn out the nerve endings on his fingertips. Despite handling molten hot glass nearly every day, he refuses to wear gloves. After decades, his hands are battle worn from blisters, cuts, and third degree burns. Still, that doesn’t stop the neon sign maker from grabbing a glass tube … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Preserving the magic of motion pictures with Bob DeFlores

When the lights in the room dim and the silver screen lights up, Bob DeFlores doesn’t watch the animated characters that spring to life. As the old film starts to run, he turns his attention toward the hundreds of people sitting in plush theater seats before him. He stares at each face in turn, gauging … [ Read more]

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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Craft Culture: On the cutting edge with Eversharp

One might think the center of the Twin Cities culinary scene is anchored firmly on Nicollet Avenue or one of its downtown counterparts. But there’s a brick storefront with a simple red awning and a single glass door—nestled between industrial buildings in Northeast Minneapolis—that might rival any restaurant for its impact on local eats. Eversharp … [ Read more]

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]

Craft Culture: Turning family tradition into modern day practice at George’s Shoe Repair

Looking at the pair of shoes, Luke George didn’t just see worn down heels, scrunched up leather, or years of grime built up on the once-white surfaces.  The cobbler knew these were more than just a pair of old dress shoes—they once belonged to his customer’s grandfather. They had history. A legacy. Years in the … [ Read more]

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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 … [ Read more]

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 … [ Read more]

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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 … [ Read more]