Vol. 2, No. 3 - May/June 2017
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We create a magazine that shares the stories of makers and innovators spanning our great northern state. As we feature bold and inspiring Minnesotans—from craftsman to beekeepers, artists to farmers, brewers to foodies—we’re here to build a timeless collection of tales from each region across the state. We aim to strengthen and promote sustainable, beautiful, altruistic, unique, and creative communities. We are so proud to share our one-of-a-kind Minnesota magazine with you.
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The Wild Issue I’m fascinated by the idea of wild. I think that’s human nature. To feel drawn to the woods, to the water, to the open road— here, the promise of the wild unknown is magical, elusive, fierce. We admire the wolves for their ferocity and the foxes for their cunning; and yet, modern society encourages a quieter, stifled demeanor. The world around us has the tendency to prefer communities of bridled individuals, neatly assigned to boxes and categories, organized by color, size, location, and other unimportant attributes. Living by these rules tends to inspire the wrong sorts of objectives and desires. We judge others based on appearance, failing to look beyond the surface; we follow a certain set of practical steps to achieve empty success; we chase the convoluted, romanticized American Dream. And all the while, we close ourselves off to genuine curiosity and exploration. Time after time, adhering to society’s obstructive rules proves to be minimizing for the individual, diminishing the essence of life. When we’re quiet and correct, we’re small and complacent— and neither of these qualities denotes a strong, autonomous human. And isn’t that the goal, ultimately? To be the kind of person whose unencumbered passion and openness builds bridges, not walls—to seek and embrace wild, appreciating the strength and freedom it inspires? I sure think so. In exploring wild, we relinquish the power of categorization. In the wild, our eyes are open and our mind alert. We shed antiquated ideas on etiquette and appropriate behavior, falling back on instinct and genuine response. We forget about trite differences between fellow humans, focusing instead on asking questions and reviving a curiosity for our shared experience. We are humbled, amazed, inquisitive, contemplative, considerate, and full of purpose.
As we eagerly disrobe to summertime in Minnesota, I encourage you to seek your wild. Perhaps it begins here, within these stories of Minnesota makers, artists, and innovators. In the wild fermentation of making kombucha, the strengthening of communities through permaculture, the story behind a tasty Walleye dip, a portrait photography contest, and so much more, I hope that this collection of wild tales ignites a feral passion within you. Explore this hunger and enjoy the chase it incites— we are wild animals, after all.
— Kara Larson
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Contributors MATT FRANK
Editor Kara Larson Production Manager Leah Matzke
Contributors Matt Frank Janel Hutton Lindsay Strong Emily Taplin Christie Trinh Cover Photo 2017 Wild Issue contest winner Jennifer Alana Lundgren Back Cover Photo Dora Marujo Dias
Copyright All images contained in Make It Minnesota are subject to copyright of the artist, illustrator or photographers as named, but not limited to. Reproduction of any part of this magazine without prior permission is prohibited. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Disclaimer The views and comments expressed by the writers are not always that of Make It Minnesota. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the information in this publication, Make It Minnesota accepts no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences, including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication. Make It Minnesota (ISSN 2471-6744) Volume 2, No. 3, is published by Make It MN LLC
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Matt’s passions for urban agriculture, regenerative landscape design, and food justice issues led to From the Ground Up North’s creation as an educational and inspirational tool for change in the Upper Midwest. He strongly believes in the power of narratives to shape minds, open eyes and shift perspectives. Learn more about his work at www.fromthegroundupnorth.org JANEL HUTTON
Janel Hutton is a blogger, speaker, entrepreneur, product creator, mom to two beautiful teenagers, wife to a wonderful husband of 20 years, oldest sibling of 10 (!), author, and founder of NellieBellie. Janel’s mission is to get into the kitchen and use the power of food to make delicious memories. She hopes is that you leave NellieBellie with a tip, trick, or recipe to turn your kitchen into the heart of the home. Not because of your crazy good cooking. But because you recognize the power food has to create memories, relationships, and moments. Read more at www.nelliebellie.com.
LINDSAY STRONG Lindsay is a brand new Minnesotan who has quickly adopted the North as home. She teaches yoga, photographs pretty things for fun, and hangs out with teenagers for work. She also dreams of creating a memoir worthy life filled with love, art, and friendship.
Born in New York, raised in Colorado and proud to have selected Minnesota as her adulthood home. She owns the “crazy dog lady” title and has fun managing Murrow’s Instagram account (@murrow_the_frenchie). She has a background in TV news and currently works at Twin Cities Public Television on the PBS Kids Show, SciGirls. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga and trying foods around the Twin Cities.
CHRISTIE TRINH Born and raised in Minnesota, Christie is passionate about all things local. Through THE CHI LIST, Christie is dedicated to helping businesses grow and inspiring individuals. Through unconventional and innovative methods of connecting communities to local businesses, she believes that the story behind every Minnesota maker, business, and artist deserves to be celebrated. Christie is fueled by an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit (and locally brewed coffee)—and knows exactly how to propel local businesses towards collaborative success. Follow her on Instagram @thechi_list and visit www.thechi-list. com for more.
Contents Creative Essay
The Wildness of Being
Local by Local: Christie Trinh
Land By Hand: Creating Ecological and Communal Resiliency
Behind The Creative
Deaneâ€™s Kombuchaâ€”A Wild Fermentation
Wild Walleye Dip
Urban Undercover: Travel-Inspired Apparel for the Adventurous Soul
Humans of the Wild Instagram Contest Winners Share Your Project: Wild Projects
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A Creative Essay
s s e n d Wil
By Lindsay Strong
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“How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild
L’Étoile du Nord, the star of the north. For centuries, the North Star has been used as a measurement, a way home. Because of its location in relationship to Earth, it stays fixed, unmoving in its promise of safety. I don’t think it’s an accident that Minnesota’s motto calls her the star of the North. She, like Polaris, has been used as a measurement for home—a promise for more. Though I didn’t know it at the time I moved to Minnesota, this promise is why I found myself living here. This promise keeps me here and reels me back in even when I think I’m ready to leave. The very nature of this centrality is something I clung to as I ventured out, to explore the wilds of the Pacific, and the wilds within. On a bit of a whim, I set out to find adventure amongst these wilds. I packed my little blue Mazda to the brim, harnessed up my loyal canine friends, and began the 4,500 mile journey west and back again. Somewhere between Coeur D’alene, Idaho and the mountains of western Montana, I watched two young wolves tear into the carcass of a deer that had clearly been hit by a passing car. All at once, I felt a sense of loss for the deer and a sense of wonder at the delicate and nuanced balance of the wild. For these young wolves to live, it was imperative that the world lose the deer. And, really, for the collective family of deer to thrive, it was imperative that this one be sacrificed. Nature works with these delicate cycles and quietly whispers the meaning of life. I found peace in knowing this harsh, but necessary balance. This trip wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t seen the end of a relationship. I wouldn’t have longed for the fresh air and mountains as much as I did had my heart been left intact. The broken heart was a necessary wound that will continue to teach me the lessons of my life. In order to thrive, this one love was a necessary sacrifice. The lessons you learn when you’re brave (or silly) enough to travel long distances on your own have a lot to do with where your breaking points are—sitting still in your long-buried feelings, letting quiet replace the noises you’d prefer to silence your inner voice. Traveling like this means flirting with the edges over and over again. It’s meditative, really. There were moments driving through the mountains when I had no cell reception. There were no options for music or my beloved podcasts—the only option was silence. In these moments, I’d roll my windows down and let the mountain air become the soundtrack to tranquility. I could finally become part of the wild around me. Occasionally, one of my patient canine co-travelers would move or rustle or pant in their dreams, reminding me to reach back with gentle gratitude for their presence. I listened for
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the calls of wild birds and watched intently for the wilderness to welcome me home. I took my time and introduced myself to it; I let my mind wander where it needed and found answers to questions I didn’t know I had. I found myself forgetting what day it was and realizing that, in the wild, it doesn’t matter. The time of day is best measured by where the sun is in the sky, not by when the workday is finally over. On the final leg of my lengthy and profound quest, I drove over the border of Minnesota and found myself amazed at how many lakes were around me. It may have been from exhaustion or spending the last twelve days living off peanut butter and honey sandwiches slapped together at various rest stops along the way, but for the first time, I really noticed them. The thing about the adventures we take is that going wild is just as much about coming home as it is leaving it. My relationship to place and home has always been a complicated one. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the visceral calm of what it means to find the sanctuary of home. Most of my life, I’ve found myself somehow on the outside. Not exiled, but somehow a bit off center. It isn’t an uncommon experience, to feel the discomfort of not belonging, but it is a sensation I know intimately. When I moved to Minnesota, I gave myself a place from which to leap. I entered into a new adventure, a kind of life I hadn’t expected of myself. Wilds exist in the cities here just as they do in the countryside— something I realized in my exploration of both. There’s a particular wildness of being that nature introduces us to, a place where the only human influence one can directly see are the roads and signs we use to get there. To allow ourselves to explore life by being immersed in it means that we are constantly humbled by the truth of things. There was poetry in the motion to and from this place. As I left it, as I ventured before dawn toward the wilds my heart needed, I watched the sun rise in my rearview mirror. And as I returned, travel worn and in need of long hot shower, that sun found its way below the horizon behind me. Like a fiery welcome home, the perfect metaphor for the end of a long, life-altering journey. I was greeted by lakes I’d never noticed, my eyes still used to searching the wild. I was greeted by the familiar in a new and foreign way. Construction cones escorted me home. This is part of the wildness of being. It is to see the world as if all of it is part of the wilderness, to swallow every lesson with home-grown honey, to let the medicine sit inside of you as only part of the answer. This place, these streets and wildernesses are all part of my long journey home. Perhaps home is here, perhaps it is somewhere else, and still perhaps my heart belongs to all of the places I’ve visited. Even as I wander, I know where true north is, the totem for starting over, moving forward, and finding my way.
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T he C h i L i st
Dedicated to helping businesses grow and inspiring individuals, THE CHI LIST was created by Christie Trinh. Born and raised in Minnesota, Christie is passionate about all things local. Through unconventional and innovative methods of connecting communities to local businesses, she believes that the story behind every Minnesota maker, business, and artist deserves to be celebrated. Christie is fueled by an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit (and locally brewed coffee)—and knows exactly how to propel local businesses towards collaborative success. Follow her on Instagram @thechi_list and visit www.thechi-list. com for more.
Photo by Wanderlust Sisters
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CH RIST I E’S Lemon Grass
“My food is an expression of who I am. Creative, fiery, fresh.” -Ann Ahmed. Ann is the owner and head chef of Lemon Grass. It isn’t your typical Thai restaurant and it’s truly a hidden gem in Brooklyn Park, MN. When you take a seat at the bar, dining area, or grab it to-go, you are invited into this warm ambiance. You smell and taste flavors in dishes that make the each entree one of a kind and the cocktails are just way too smooth. If you are looking for originality and soul, Lemon Grass has both.
Huxley Optical Best friends to business partners, Ryan and TJ are the owners of Huxley Optical. They take great pride in offering customers a unique selection of handpicked, modern eyewear that you won’t find anywhere else. Basic or custom, glasses or sunglasses, and prescription or not, these guys just want you to be #huxleyhappy. Located in Ridgedale and Rosedale Mall.
goGlow It’s not a spray tan, it’s a goGlow! Melanie, the owner of goGlow, keeps me literally glowing for all my events and/or when I just need a little confidence. The glow is so natural, their specialists are so knowledgeable, and it is always a blast when you go into any of their locations (Edina, Uptown Minneapolis, and Chicago). Whether you have an event to attend, need a little something before your vacation, or just because, goGlow is where you want to glow!
Surge Cycling This is where I come to let it all go. 45 minutes of everything I’ve got. Zion is the genius behind my happy place, Surge Cycling. It isn’t just about the workout, it’s the community they have built. The moment you step foot into the studio (St. Louis Park or Maple Grove), it is a no judgment zone. Everyone is there to help you become stronger and healthier. They wear their passion on their sleeve and it shows. Photo Credits: Marna’s Catering: Jeremiah Schustes | goGlow: Dave Puente | Kelly Hegena Ekdahl: Shelly Mosman | Lemon Grass: Tyroneraj Dorayraj
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TOP P ICKS
Kelly Hegna Ekdahl at Studio 411
I never understood the whole “spa” thing because let’s be honest, who has time for that? Well Kelly, Master Esthetician at Studio 411, has opened my eyes, transformed my skin, and most importantly took the time to educate me on the why. If you were to line up all of Kelly’s clients, they would all say the same thing, “Kelly is the BEST!” Let’s face it (haha...get it?), we aren’t getting any younger and our face is one of the first features people notice.
Merilou Boutique This beautiful and quaint boutique is a new found favorite. Light pink, selective selections, and an accent wallpaper that is to die for. On top of all the pretty little things, the customer service is exceptional. I promise, you are bound to find something for yourself or someone special.
Marna’s Catering/Craft Food Truck Who doesn’t love tacos?! Rolando, head chef and owner of Marna’s Catering and Craft Food Truck, dedicated his business to his mother. Every dish is flavorful! Their staff and overall service is always been top-notch. Events big or small, Marna’s Catering/Craft Food Truck is, hands-down, my go to.
Ollu Dog Wash I love Ollu! I have two fur babies, Bella Ella and Edgar, and Ollu does such a great job with them both. Apparently, Bella Ella and Edgar are little angels for Ollu. If only I could get them to do that at home! Ollu has the magic touch! They always surprise me with some kind of accessory when I pick my fur babies up. Last time my little Edgar had gigantic blue plaid bow! WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 9
Creating Ecological and Communal Resiliency By Matt Frank
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How do we define ‘Wilderness’? The term can be viewed as a construct symbolizing Western civilization’s collective romanticism of the ‘untouched’ earth—land which has been undeveloped or unaffected by human intervention—the great untamed primordial Environment with a capital E. A strong urge to reconnect or re-wild can be found among those passionate about protecting, conserving, and improving natural ecosystems while using them responsibly for local provisions and needs. What draws us as humans to this ethereal Wilderness? Perhaps it’s a desire to associate with other breathing, living organisms. It may also be a deep-seated need to stimulate the senses with soothing sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that only flora and fauna can provide. Multiple scientific studies have linked positive mental health in humans with physical and visual access to nature. Ultimately, it can be seen as a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves, a reawakening of our ecological roots. One way to holistically reconnect human beings with wildlife and our natural surroundings is through the conscious use of permaculture, a regenerative design methodology that harnesses ecological patterns and processes to inform human material and nonmaterial needs. This values-based tool serves as a framework for the creation of ecologically rich, biodiverse, thriving ecosystems and communities. By utilizing permaculture design, we are able to take efficient, self-sufficient systems found in natural ecosystems and implement them into human-made landscapes for the benefit of all living things. Byproducts of this symbiotic relationship include abundant amounts of healthful food, increased human and environmental health, and ecological and communal resiliency. A local Minneapolis organization named Land By Hand focuses on ecological design, community-based public art, and education guided by the ethics and principles of permaculture. The three permaculture ethics serve as the foundation for decision making during the design process and as a way to measure impact. The ethics include: Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Fair Share of the Abundance. This triple bottom line ensures systems created utilizing permaculture positively impact people, planet, and profit. The permaculture principles act as guides during the design process that inform and shape the work from initial observation through implementation of a given system. Through their various offerings, Land By Hand strives to “discover, integrate, and balance the diverse needs of humans, plants, and wildlife that sustain thriving, resilient community.” Founded by business/life partners Cody Mastel and Megan Rae, Land By Hand emphasizes creative placemaking, experiential education, and integrated edible landscape design. Together, Cody and Megan design, implement, instruct, and maintain a wide spectrum of regenerative land- and social-based projects throughout the Twin Cities region. Their projects range in scale and scope, from residential to commercial to institutional to farm-scale agricultural. Areas of specialization include edible landscaping and medicinal gardening, water conservation and reuse, energy and nutrient cycling, landscape maintenance and support, and a range of educational activities.
According to Cody, education is Land By Hand’s top priority. By teaching others how to utilize and implement permaculture design, they effectively demonstrate what people can do in their own spaces, both within and outside of the cities. Since huge educational opportunities exist throughout the permaculture design process — including observation of a given system or landscape, design work, system implementation, maintenance, and system evolution and growth — knowledge is shared through hands-on participatory learning. These opportunities are offered through various financial means, including work trade, skill shares, and an open source apprenticeship program. In order to make these opportunities as accessible as possible, multiple options exist such as sliding scale tuition for the apprenticeship program, needs-based scholarships, and paywhat-you-can classes and workshops. WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 11
ROOFTOP GARDENS RAISED BEDS/ PLANTERS/ C O N TA I N E R S
RAIN GARDENS RAIN BARRELS P O N D S / S WA L E S
Food & Medicin
I R R I G AT I O N
COMPOST FUNGI HONEY BEES
Energy & Nutrient Cycling
CHICKENS & DUCKS SCHEDULED CONTRACTS
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FOOD FORESTS KITCHEN GARDENS EDIBLE LANDSCAPING
FRUIT & NUTS P R I VA C Y
Trees & Shrubs
WIND & SHADE O R N A M E N TA L S / FLOWERS
INSTRUCTION OPEN HEARTH PDC
nance & port SPRING & FA L L
WORKSHOPS H I K E S & P L A N T WA L K S TOOLS & RESOURCES DROP-IN
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ETHICS OF PERMACULTURE 14 MAKE IT MINNESOTA
Land by Hand
This is Land By Hand’s first year hosting their seasonal apprenticeship. The program follows the Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) course model in order to teach others about permaculture design, including how to implement it on both the landscape level and through community organizing for positive change. Named the Open Hearth Seasonal Permaculture Apprenticeship, the program operates as a collaborative wherein teachers and students share information freely with one another — everyone is invited to bring their skills, expertise, and knowledge to the table since they each have a story to tell. Eight students make up the apprenticeship cohort this season and are involved in site visits, tours, and work trade days at various locations that have begun implementing permaculture. Partnerships between Land By Hand and local organizations such as Bancroft Meridian Garden, Bluebird Hill Homestead, Semilla Project, Little Hill Blueberry Farm, Spark-Y, Regeneration Acres, Gandhi Mahal, Seed Sages, Frogtown Farm, Lily Springs Farm, and Tiny Diner have led to a rich experience for apprenticeship participants. Recently, I was fortunate to join Land By Hand’s Open Hearth apprentices for an evening learning experience at Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Semilla is the Spanish word for seed — the group seeks to plant seeds of hope in the neighborhood and grow engaged community. The evening provided great insight into the apprenticeship program and the kinds of community-based design work that they participate in. Over the course of a few hours, students learned about placemaking and its transformative ability to create artistic neighborhood gathering spots while also taking part in a hands-on activity clearing brush and pruning shrubs to make way for a new community peace garden. We heard from Semilla Project about their efforts to combat neighborhood crime through public artworks, including large painted murals, mosaics, and light towers that will beautify the community while creating a stronger sense of place and pride. It was a humbling experience and a beautiful evening of people coming together to positively address a neighborhood issue through creative sensibilities. At the end of the day, Land By Hand’s efforts can be distilled into a handful of beneficial synergies — their work creates symbiotic relationships between ecological design and natural environments; between apprenticeship students, teachers, and host sites; and between plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms, and people. These landscape and social-based connections are what the work is all about. By providing access to learning opportunities and local venues actively practicing permaculture, Land By Hand is continually cross-pollinating ideas and knowledge among those seeking to reconnect with one another and our collective yearning for the Wild. WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 15
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Behind the Creative Melinda Wolff, St. Paul Artist
Melinda Wolff is a St. Paul artist experienced in many fields of art. She is fascinated and inspired by working extensively in jewelry, stained glass, and watercolor paintings. She has a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the College of St. Benedict and has embarked on a new life adventure by becoming a full time artist. She is also a lover of camping trips, nature hikes, craft beers, and spending time with her wonderful husband, Brian, owner of Wolff Woodworks. Melinda Wolff ’s upcycled jewelry is created with reclaimed wood scraps from her husband’s wood shop. The jewelry is brought to life with resin coating that magnifies and accentuates a spectrum of colors, which can range from deep blacks and browns, to warm reds and purples, to rich whites and yellows. Melinda Wolff jewelry also includes necklaces, rings, and keychains made from found butterfly and moth wings and hand picked, real four-leaf clovers. Distinctive and rare, each piece makes a statement that emphasizes nature’s beauty. Melinda’s watercolor paintings capture her perception of nature by focusing on color, lines, texture, whimsical elements, and symbols associated from her dreams. Each painting is finished with black ink to add vivacity and expression that enhances the images within each painting. Keep an eye out for Melinda’s creations at local art and craft shows throughout the year and make sure to follow her journey on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.
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Q & A
Talk about the beginnings of your business. What inspired you to begin this endeavor? After graduating from college, I was a part time artist while working full time at various companies. In August 2015, I decided to pursue my dream and passion and made the leap to become a full time artist. My dream of making a living from my artwork is now reality and every day is filled with creativity, hope, excitement, and ambiguity. Have you always been creative? What forms or channels have you explored in your creative journey? My creativity stems from nature. I grew up playing in the woods, climbing trees, collecting toads, finding four-leaf clovers, and picking wild flowers. My sisters, childhood friends, and I would play for hours outside, using our imagination within nature to create castles, forts, farms, and anything our little minds could envision. Growing up with nature introduced creative thinking and an appreciation for nature’s beauty. I cultivated my love of nature by bringing it to life in my artwork, graduating with a degree in Studio Art from the College of St. Benedict with a focus in jewelry, pottery, oil and watercolor painting. After college, I worked for a year as a production potter and then transitioned to a small company as a wholesale jewelry designer. Before leaving a corporate position to pursue my art full time, I also spent a few years working at a local arts college helping and educating students on ways to find jobs related to the arts. I now focus on watercolor paintings, jewelry, and stained glass windows and I sell my artwork through commissions, galleries and numerous art shows. How has your business evolved? How have you evolved? Since I took the leap to full time artist in 2015, my focuses have been on participating in art shows, scoping out galleries and shops to sell my artwork, and working on building connections for commissioned pieces. I’ve learned to stay inspired by committing time visiting galleries, taking walks in nature, and researching influential artists. I’m always looking for new adventures and love meeting new people in the art industry. Why is local important? By supporting local, you are giving small businesses a chance to pursue their dreams. Local art helps to create a rich and vibrant community that is full of character. How has living in Minnesota influenced your creative work, specifically through your business? Nature fuels my creativity and recharges my battery. I am inspired by the colors, the textures, the blooms, the sounds. I try to capture and enhance nature’s elements in my paintings, my jewelry, and my stained glass designs.
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These are very different mediums. Do you have a favorite medium you work in? Why do you think you’re drawn to create in these ways? I love the option to create in multiple mediums and I usually switch from jewelry to watercolor to stained glass on a daily basis. Each medium requires a different approach and specific techniques, which keeps my mind engaged and inspired. In capturing nature in each medium, what truths are you able to uncover? Do you feel closer to the wildness of nature because you aim to capture it in a variety of ways? When working with different types of wood for my jewelry, I am always in awe of the natural colors of the wood as well as the unique textures of the wood grain, and the resin coating that I use tends to enhance and magnify these colors and textures. When working in watercolors, I study how the shadows, sunlight, and colors in nature blend together to create a beautiful harmony. When working with stained glass, I combine line and color in my design to create a sense of movement and vitality. For me, all three mediums bring attention to the awe-inspiring wonder and complexity of nature. “The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” – Claude Monet What’s the deal with all your four-leaf clover finds? Are you magic?! Also, what is like forage for natural elements that will become art or jewelry? Is that a gratifying part of your process? Nope, I’m not magical! I have a crazy knack for finding four-leaf clovers that I inherited from my grandpa and my mom. When I was young, my grandpa would walk with his cane and point down for me to pick the four-leaf clovers that he saw. My mom and I would connect on all aspects of life while searching for clovers. I usually find four-leaf clovers while on walks, and my husband is used to stopping sporadically for me to search and pick the lucky clovers. I find it peaceful when looking for clovers; it is meditative and helps me become present in the world. I think a lot of people yearn to make things, utilize their hands and dream of becoming more self-sufficient. What advice would you give to people who have a desire to make, but don’t really know how to satiate that desire? My advice would be to go into nature to observe and wonder. Stay curious, try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail— consider failures as lessons. What do you see for the future of your business? I want to grow, I want to learn. I plan to venture outside my comfort zone in order to live in uncertainty—this is the place where I can see the possibilities that otherwise would be invisible. I plan on adapting to certain markets in order to succeed, evolving to meet new demands, all while maintaining my integrity and style. Do you feel like making and creating through your business allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself? Yes. My hope is to create artwork that enhances, highlights, and brings appreciation to nature’s beauty.
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Photo Credit: Sara Buchanon
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T h e W i l d I s s u e — M a k e r Wo r k s h o p S e r i e s
A Wild Fermentation By Kara Larson
There’s something wild in fermenting tea to make kombucha—a process filled with capricious unknowns and feral transformation and subtle variations. It’s a process that falls somewhere between science and art— and it calls for a certain kind of composed adaptability from its maker. Luckily for Bryan Deane Bertsch, the skilled brewer behind Deane’s Kombucha, his unique background in bookkeeping, meditation, and energy healing give him a solid base in which to make a healthy, earth-centric, and tasty beverage. Before he discovered kombucha, Bryan had a full time job at a small distribution company in Minnetonka. He credits this job for instilling in him the necessary skills to logistically run a business—bookkeeping, taxes, and shipping. “I didn’t have any bookkeeping background, but I was able to learn—and that knowledge was invaluable because as a start-up, even a simple thing like doing your books, you can’t afford to pay somebody to do that. So you need to wear a lot of different hats.”
Pictured: Lonnie Manresa WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 21
beginning, Bryan remembers, he was more apprehensive to ask questions. Bryan remembers thinking, “Why would anybody want to help me? But then I started asking and figured out that lots of producers are willing to help. Because they’ve all been there. And now, I’ve consulted with dozens of people that started out after me.”
Bryan couldn’t have guessed how seamlessly these skills would transfer into his future business endeavor with Deane’s Kombucha—an endeavor that was sparked more than 10 years ago when Bryan fell in love with the taste of this relatively new beverage. And then he heard the story behind the brew—he connected with the fact that kombucha is a living beverage filled with probiotic goodness, and soon, he was brewing his own at home. “I ended up ordering my first culture online from happyherbalist.com and it came in a little pouch and I started my first 2.5 gallon batch.” Bryan adds, “And everything we’re brewing today is still the lineage of that original batch.” From one ceramic crock to a 5-gallon glass vessel, and finally, to the 30-gallon Minnesota-made oak barrels he utilizes today, Bryan and his process has evolved in time, just as his living beverage does in every fermentation.
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After brewing his own batches at home for a while and sharing them with others, Bryan was inspired to consider making kombucha on a commercial level. And so, the research began. From licensing to sourcing, it proved to be a lengthy process with novel questions arising out of nowhere just when Bryan thought he had it all down. However, this was another point where Bryan feels grateful for his work with the distribution company. “At the distribution company, I would be calling to source different things. Simple things, like where do I get my glass? Where do I get my caps? Where do I get my labels? Where do I get my ingredients? It’s a lot of research. Luckily, I enjoy that. I get bored just doing one thing, so it is nice to have all of these different things to do.” Bryan admits that within the mountain of questions, it wasn’t always easy to find the answers. In the
Bryan didn’t just stick to kombucha makers—he talked to renowned beer makers like Mark Stutrud at Summit and Omar Ansari at Surly, who he credits in helping him a great deal. He also connected with other commercial kombucha brewers across the country and was surprised to find that within the kombucha community, people are pretty open to sharing. This sharing element transfers into Bryan’s other passion— teaching kombucha classes around Minnesota. “It took me a good year of homebrewing to figure out what I was doing, so I thought, boy, with just a few simple tips, people could get the ball rolling,” Bryan says. “I’m just trying to introduce kombucha to as many people as I can because I really believe in it. The more people who are homebrewing it, the more people who are looking for it in the stores and restaurants and beyond.” As a skilled, practiced, and now seasoned kombucha brewer, Bryan remains humble in his process, understanding the fickle nature of the living beverage he is making. He explains that even though his oak barrels can foster a similar taste profile in the product, there are more
variables to consider. In his oak barrel lineup, some are 8 years old, some are 2 years old, and even the different temperatures in the rooms he ferments within might be a little bit different, and therefore, impact the flavor. But ultimately, Bryan embraces all of these inconsistencies, considering them natural fluctuations—reminders of the wild in this process. Bryan settled on green tea early on in his brewing and once he learned about gunpowder green tea, he knew found his match. He discovered that this particular tea, when fermented, gives the kombucha an interesting smoky flavor and a perfect base in which to add whole fruit for his signature variation. So, in every 30-gallon oak barrel, 20 gallons of gunpowder green tea ferments for up to one week, transforming and evolving, gaining healthy bacteria and flavor within the walls of oak. On the choice of oak, Bryan explains, “I think the oak barrels really help in that it’s a natural material. There’s actually sugars in the wood, so the microorganisms can penetrate and draw sugars and literally become part of the brewing vessel.” The next step happens outside the barrel when organic whole fruit and herbs are added into the mix. Every week, Bryan has a game plan to produce his batches on Mondays and Thursdays, but he makes sure to allow for last-minute decisions. He shares, “I have my fruits ready, but I’m not sure what barrels they’re going into. So the first thing is tasting all
the barrels and realizing, oh this one is little sweeter, let’s put the grapefruit on this one. Or this one is a little more tart, so let’s do the wild blueberry—the sweetness of the blueberries will help compensate that.” He adds, “I pride myself on having a consistently good product, but each batch is going to be different. So this ginger cherry you’re tasting now—two months from now, it might be quite different. I use local fruit when I can, but also often use frozen fruit. So these cherries for instance, I’m not sure what time of year they were picked, where they were picked, the soil profile, and so on. Your next Ginger Cherry should still be really good, but the profile is never exactly the same. I’m also learning that each fruit is attracting and carrying different yeasts. That’s an interesting part of the flavor profile as well.” With flavors like Cherry Basil, Ginger Tumeric Honey, Wild Blueberry Lemon Lavender, Grapefruit Hibiscus, and many more, Bryan is trying bold, interesting combinations. In the experimentation of these recipes, he attributes their balanced flavor profile to trial and error—and an exciting interaction with a food legend. “I did a bit with Andrew Zimmern a few years ago and I was just starting to use whole fruits at that time. Part of it was just walking through the co-op and picking what we were going to do. Just watching him go, “all right, peach, cilantro, ginger, and hot pepper,” that kind of gave me permission to try new
things and play with it. So that’s been really fun, too.” Using organic,whole fruits and fresh herbs made Bryan open to experimentation and he is delighted to share that beyond these ingredients, there’s not much else going into his brews. He explains that when the label on a bottle of Deane’s Kombucha says Pear Sage, you can trust that it’s simply pear and sage—there’s no added flavoring, no coloring—that’s just what it is. A fulfilling sense of gratification also exists in a later part of the process—in the delivery of his kombucha. Bryan shares, “I’m still self-distributing to a lot of my accounts, so it’s just the pride of coming into a store and with all the different flavors I’m doing, and being met with the employees who say, “oh what did you bring this time?” That’s really exciting—getting feedback from people that enjoy it.” This engagement and enthusiasm with his kombucha is the fuel that keeps Bryan brewing. Through honest, focused dedication and a symbiotic relationship with the wild process of fermentation, Bryan believes that keys to being happy and successful in your work come in a few key components— being persistent, flexible, and willing to seek out advice while knowing that ultimately, it’s important to follow your own course. Bryan advises, “I have a college degree, but that has nothing to do with what this is. Don’t let that limit you. If you’ve got an idea, go for it.”
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Kitchen Wild Walleye Dip
By Janel Hutton, Founder of NellieBellie Kitchen
Many of my fondest memories from childhood took place in the summer at my grandparents’ home. My grandparents lived in the quintessential Minnesota rambler on a small private lake in northern Minnesota surrounded by tall pines, white birch, and poplar trees. To me, a city kid from a giant family, it was heaven. My grandpa loved his many grandkids dearly. He also adored fishing. He loved when his grandkids loved fishing with him. Whichever grandkid listened to his fish stories, would happily go fishing with him, and chatted with him while he fileted the fish was his favorite. Of course, he would say he didn’t have favorites… But I was his favorite. I know it’s true. In the morning he would wake me up before the rest of the family and take me out fishing. He had a small fishing boat with a trolling motor that barely made any noise and allowed us to sneak out onto the lake. Although by the time we got to the lake and into the boat, my siblings wouldn’t have had a chance of catching us in time anyway.
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Times fishing with my grandpa were some of the few moments of quiet that I can remember as a child. Being the oldest of 10 kids meant that my world was loud, chaotic, and lacking in privacy. Gosh, did I love those summer mornings! Grandpa would bring plenty of bug spray for mosquitos, contraband snacks that I rarely got at home, and even baited my hook for me if I didn’t feel like it. Looking back, I think he knew that I needed those quiet moments and made the trip all about fishing. Sunnies and crappies were the usual catch. Maybe a bass or northern on a lucky day. And walleye? Oh, those were the ones that got the whole family to come out and see the catch! Walleye
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were special and meant Grandma would cook them up instead of Grandpa. And that was the coolest. I rarely go fishing anymore. Maybe because those quiet moments I so badly needed as a child aren’t as needed now that I am grown and can find quiet moments for myself. I also know it’s because my Grandpa isn’t here any longer to go with me. And it just doesn’t seem the same. This dip is made from walleye and every time I make it I can’t help but wish my Grandpa was able to have a bite with me. He would love it so. In fact, I imagine us sitting and talking and eating the whole tin between us without ever telling the others that it existed. Contraband dip.
Wa l l e y e D i p R e c i p e : Ingredients: 3/4 pound walleye or similar white fish 1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz. softened cream cheese 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon paprika
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup mayo
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the butter and add the chopped onion and walleye fillet. 3. Cook about 5 minutes or until the fillet is done.
4. Use a spatula to flake the fish and stir the onion and butter together. Set aside. 5. In large bowl mix the cream cheese with the mayo and cheddar cheese. 6. Add the hot sauce, chives, parsley, lemon juice, and paprika. Stir well. 7. Press the cream cheese mixture into a pie pan or baking dish.
8. Press the walleye flakes onto the top of the cream cheese being sure to add the cooked onions. 9. Top with the breadcrumbs, green onions, parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of paprika. 10. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
Try swapping out the cheddar cheese for monterey jack or...gouda. Yum!
Add salt, to taste. Often the sauce or cheese you use provides enough salt but always taste before serving.
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minnesota Style URBAN UNDERCOVER:
Travel-Inspired Apparel for the Adventurous Soul By Emily Taplin Photos By Russell Heeter unless otherwise noted It’s the moment the scent of a freshly mowed lawn tickles your nose like a feather for the first time in months. It’s the day the sun hits your skin for more than a few seconds and warms you through to your soul. It’s the time of year when people slow down their pace and linger a little longer as they move from place to place. In Minnesota, those are signs of the melting of a wearing winter and a craving to drink in something new. To dine on a newly discovered rooftop, to wander down a winding trail you’ve never been on, or to find yourself the explorer of a place you just learned the name of. Urban Undercover founder and Minnesota native Sairey Gernes craves that sense of adventure all year long. From a young age, her mother’s nickname for her was “wild child.” As a six-year-old Sairey started her very first business venture, picking the neighbors’ grass and selling it back to them as “potpourri” she’d created by mixing it with pinecones in a plastic bag—a savvy business model from someone so young. Later in life Sairey wasn’t quite sure where the wind would blow her and she eventually took root in the world of advertising. She told me it was something she liked but never truly loved because of the competitive nature between agencies. That didn’t match the personality of someone who believes in collaboration. In 2010 Sairey jetted off on a business adventure. Searching for a way to solve a problem she’d dealt with for years: underwear that were comfortable, good quality and fit right—all seemingly basic
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WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 29
expectations of a basic necessity—never came wrapped in the same pair. So with zero background in design, Sairey set out to create the pair that delivered everything she expected in undergarments. Besides fit and fabric in mind, Sairey used her own lifestyle as inspiration for ways to make the product even more desirable for the busy women who would wear them. Sairey told me she usually has about three changes of clothes in her car because she never knows where the day may take her. She created a pocket sewn into the back—not only for carrying an ID or extra cash while traveling, if the circumstance called for it, but for the sake of practicality. The pocket created a place for the underwear to fold into itself, with a flap that says “let’s go” or “nope” depending on if they are clean or dirty. Sairey said it’s a way to keep things organized while on the run or just to have a spare in your purse—a simple but sophisticated design for women on the go. Plus, who’s with me on loving the idea of not having to fold their undies before they go in the drawer? My first interaction with Sairey was in the spring of 2016. My friend Christy, who introduced me to the brand, asked if I wanted to pose in a shoot she was styling for Urban Undercover. We’d never met before but Sairey welcomed me with a warm hug and a “thank you!” I was still nervous about taking pictures in my skivvies but Sairey made the whole thing comfortable. When I asked her why she worked with people like me and others who don’t have any modeling experience, Sairey told me it’s because she wants to portray a brand where you see real women, not just models. She wants women to look at the pictures and say, “that looks like me.” Recently she even did a boudoir photo shoot wearing her brand to inspire that confidence in other women. Underwear are the first layer you put on and something Sairey told me she believes you shouldn’t need to think about again, unless it’s to think, “Damn I feel good!” From her perspective, adventure starts with confidence. If you feel comfortable with yourself, you’re more likely to venture out and do new things. Like her childhood nickname, wild is a theme she’s carried into her adult life, encouraging women to “stay wild” through her travel-inspired apparel. Sairey told me she likes that word because it conveys an element of nature, to be your natural self. She said she wants to portray the message that you don’t need to pile on layers of somebody else but to simply strip down to the basics of you. Whether it’s rolling down the street in a vintage car in Cuba or savoring the taste of wine and pasta in Italy, Sairey shares this message by blogging about her travel adventures through Urban Undercover’s social media. It could be trying a new place to eat or your first trip abroad, Sairey hopes to make travel and everyday life more comfortable, practical and stylish. In order to do that, she expanded the product line beyond the underwear. She recently designed a travel wrap because she found herself wishing she had a blanket while flying but didn’t want to have to carry one around. So the wrap is a warm and comfortable piece that you can wear 5 different ways and still look and feel fabulous and comfortable! She’s also invented a piece that you can wear around your towel to hold it up, properly named the “towel topper.” Sairey told me all of the ideas she comes up with are from things she finds necessary: she can’t sell it if she doesn’t have a passion for it. She hopes if she’s encountered these needs, other women have too. Sairey told me she’s had the fortune of living in lots of states and countries. When she started the business in Minnesota, it was intentional because of her network of family and friends—a network who has continued to grow since her start. Sairey recently opened an Urban Undercover showroom in Northeast Minneapolis and said she’s proud to be in a location where there are other local businesses on similar journeys as hers. Sairey has had a lot of requests for wholesale and hopes to eventually have enough inventory to swing it. Maybe it’s a beach in Bali or a sunset in the Sahara, Sairey is currently still deciding where her next travel adventure will take her—but for now she’s enjoying the journey of building a brand that will inspire others to make their mark on the map and adventure on. 30 MAKE IT MINNESOTA
Photo credit: Kara Marie Photography
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HUMANS OF THE
proudly sponsored by
# M ak eI t M N _ E l y Fo lkSc h o o l
For the Wild Issue, we teamed up with Ely Folk School for an Instagram contest all about discovering the wild around us through portrait photography. The contest was themed: Humans of the Wild—A Portrait Contest and we encouraged all Minnesota photographers to get creative and share interesting portraits of people in the wild, exploring the connection between humans and nature. Nearly 200 photographs were submitted at the contest tag #MakeItMN_ElyFolkSchool and we’re so impressed with the incredible talent of the photographer behind each image! The Top 20 winners are featured at makeitmn.com, and in the upcoming pages, you will see the lovely Top 10. But the winnings don’t stop there; The Grand Prize, graciously donated by our contest sponsor, Ely Folk School, is two vouchers for an upcoming class at Ely Folk School! A prize valued at $100, this #1 photograph was taken by Jennifer Alana Lundgren—a big congratulations to Jennifer! We are so grateful for the efforts of our fantastic partner on this contest, Ely Folk School. Their ideas, community connection, and classes are such an asset to not only the community of Ely, but to visitors from all around Minnesota and beyond. In connecting with nature, craft, and one other, we uncover the blissful wild suppressed by modern society. The Ely Folk School offers classes, workshops and events for folks of all ages involving hands-on, cooperative learning. Their mission is to build community by providing learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota. At Ely Folk School, the contemplative nature of handwork skills still provides an enormous sense of satisfaction that allows people to lose themselves in time—an increasingly rare experience in today’s fast-paced lives.
WINNING IMAGE: Jennifer Alana Lundgren @sageeimagery 32 MAKE IT MINNESOTA
Now enjoy these wild portraits!
Dora Marujo Dias @dora_poetisa
Erica Hacker @ericahacker
Devin Graf @durty2shoes
Shannon Oâ€™Malley @shannon_kathleenphotography
Lam Tu @lam_tu
Clint Jee @clint_jee_
Will Moss @will.mn
Lindsay Strong @lynzimaries
Charlie Smith @arrowhead_shores WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 33
The Wild Issue Creative Challenge—
PROJECT Kevin Fitzke Fitzke Wood Paddle Board Co.
Basics of project: I design and hand-build wood paddle boards. My first board is called ‘Bootlegger’. It incorporates a “secret” storage compartment for a jacket/gear, food or that bottle of booze you may want to bring out on a paddle boarding session.
What drew you to this project? I have always had a mild obsession with wood boats, especially the ones from the early twentieth century through the 1930s Golden Era. I found out about paddle boarding about two years ago along with people making their own boards. I wanted to try to make something unique and different than what was currently out on the market. My paddle board design was inspired by the many characteristics these early wood boats had, along with the principles of Bootlegging, i.e. the idea of storing something in a secret spot but being able to move quickly. I make my boards out of Mahogany wood and with a process called ColdMolding. This allows the boards to be incredibly strong, light weight, safe, and incorporate many layers of varnish for that showroom shine just like the wood boats have.
What has your project given you? This project has really opened the doors to creating something from an idea on paper to something working in real life. Through testing three prototypes and numerous AutoCAD edits/drawings, I have been able to file a patent on the design of Bootlegger. That has been the most humbling aspect of this entire project.
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Connie Ortberg Silhouette Jewelry Design www.silhouettejewelrydesign.com
Basics of project: My jewelry designs are inspired by all things in Nature, romantic musings, colorful baubles, beads, and bits. When I minimize the number of materials I use for a design, it allows me to create in a more free form style without overthinking. I started this journey with beads, baubles, wire, leather, and stones with no intent to become a Jewelry Artist. Now 7 years has passed and I just started taking Metalsmithing and Precious Metal Clay courses to learn more skills. Like so many things that have happened through my life, I often start from the back and move forward. Sometimes the rules don’t matter in the beginning; sometimes you just need to start and the rest unfolds.
What drew you to this project? Lately I’ve been drawn to geometrics, symmetry, soothing earthy colors. I love the Earth, Nature and all that it freely gives us. The last couple years I have frequented New Mexico, Arizona, and California. So when I return to Minnesota, I have a little dust on my soles, and a whole lot of inspiration in my soul. In the depths of Minnesota winters, I can choose colors from and endless palette of past adventures. I take many photos of the landscapes, the fauna, and often refer to them for design purposes.
What has your project given you? Ah, when I am creating it is the balm to my soul. There is no time for worry, stress, perfection—it is the best therapy of all. When I am in the process of making, doing, dreaming, there is no better time spent. As with all artists, we live to enjoy the journey that lives within us.
Samantha Schultz Wanderingline
Basics of project: I start with ink, paper and a line. I draw one line after another until I have filled the desired shape. To go further, I convert my lines to paths and the digital file is read by a laser. The laser then burns my very same lines to reclaimed wood.
What drew you to this project? I started making art to raise money for a design-build in Tanzania, Africa. I am an architectural designer by trade, but love building and creating art on the side. I was able to fund the trip and have been continuing making ever since. I enjoy sketching, patiently drawing and working with wood, which are the mediums of my art.
What has your project given you? I have been given many things from starting Wanderingline. Mostly, I’ve become a part of a community of makers in an extremely collaborative city. I’ve met very talented people who are all very driven by their creativity and hard work. I get to learn from them and I also get to teach. All of us together are enabled to keep experimenting and exploring the depths of our craft. WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 35
Autumn Gray Nothing Is Black & White
Basics of project: My ‘Nothing Is Black & White’ project is designed to bring a new light to everyday objects or scenes.
What drew you to this project?
I have always been drawn to vivid colors and realistic art styles that force you to question what you initially perceived. I wanted to create items that would make people stop and take a second glance, and the longer you stared, the more details became revealed. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful high school art teacher who allowed me to spend free hours between classes or after school reusing old canvases and editing my photographs with her encouragement and feedback. When I got to college, I again was gifted with a talented art instructor who challenged me to go beyond “what I was good at” and develop a theme for my art that actually told a story. With her enthusiasm and confidence, I was able to push myself to try new techniques. Upon graduation, I continued my journey creating a combination of realistic and surreal paintings and expanding my photography skills.
What has your project given you? Ultimately this ongoing project has given me humor. It’s always fun to watch as people engage with my art. In one situation, an individual looked at a photo of my northern lightspainting and exclaimed, “You saw the northern lights!?”, not realizing it was in fact a painting.
It has also given me the motivation to start selling my artwork and photographs. While still a work in progress, I hope to continue showcasing that nothing in this world is as it seems. It just takes a bit of creativity and a lot of support to finally reach the day where I can open my own business.
Carli Rae Vergamini CRAVE by CRV www.cravebycrv.com
Basics of project: My goal is to set out to learn and break the rules of cross-stitch, quilting, needlepoint and knitting all while modernizing old techniques and up-cycling at the same time.
What drew you to this project?
A piece of perforated leather I bought as a souvenir from my last vacation. It looked like the perfect blank canvas to attempt to cross-stitch. The ideas kept growing from there.
What has your project given you?
What I’m now calling the “Handicraft Collection” has resulted in a lot of lessons learned, pure joy from experimenting just for fun, growth from my mistakes, and making the unexpected come together and look pretty kick ass.
If you have a project you would like to share with us, submit your work at makeitmn.com! 36 MAKE IT MINNESOTA
• Brochures • Catalogs • Direct Mail • Posters • Hard Cover Books • Soft Cover Books • Magazines and More. . .
firstname.lastname@example.org 507-386-6363 866-735-0120
VIGNETTES FROM THE PERIPHERAL
JONATHAN THUNDER www.duluthartinstitute.org
FEATURED UPCOMING EVENTS & CLASSES ... FINNISH WEEKEND Finnish Music Concert and Film
Celebrate Finnish Midsummer with Diane Jarvi performing Finnish folk and original music.
Friday, June 23 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Wild Colors Natural Dyeing with Local Plants
Saturday, June 24 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Tuesday, July 11 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
$20.00 + $20 materials
$60.00 + $15 materials
Learn to play Finland’s uniquely beautiful Baltic harp with Diane Jarvi
BE A PART OF THE BIRCH BARK CANOE PROJECT THIS SUMMER! Each week from April 11 through August 23, 2017, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5-9 p.m. we meet for a fun social gathering to collectively build a new birch bark canoe and learn about canoe history, culture, and traditional craft.
“I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.” -William Copperthwaite, folk school enthusiast
First time free, after that, just $10 covers you for the rest of the season. There are also “classes” for $40 for harvesting the cedar tree wood and roots
AMAZING CLASSES ALL YEAR ROUND!
209 E. Sheridan St., Ely, MN 55731 Email: email@example.com Phone: 218-235-0138
Check out our website for more information >> WILD - VOL 2, NO. 3 - 2017 37
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